Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Hour Has Come

burkie here, with apologies to jenn not only for posting on her blog again, but also for scooping her on a british TV show.  that show?  The Hour, currently airing on BBC America.  the first two episodes are On Demand, which is how i've seen them. 

conceptually, The Hour is somewhat reminiscent of Mad Men and, strangely, 30 Rock (neither of which i watch).  like Mad Men, it is a stylish period piece (London, 1956).  the show revolves around the people involved in making a 60 Minutes-type television news program (called, appropriately, The Hour) that airs on the BBC, hence the resemblance to 30 Rock (an NBC show about an NBC show).  the similarities end there, especially as regards 30 RockThe Hour is definitely a drama, not a comedy.  as regards Mad Men, i've only watched that show once and it struck me as slick and polished, whereas The Hour has a decidedly noir feel to it, and i loves me some noir

The Hour (the show featured on the show...this is already getting confusing) is a brand new program on the BBC.  it's risky, especially as the production reins have been handed to a woman (Bel Rowley, played by Romola Garai).  she is ambitious and committed to delivering a hard-hitting news program with substance, but knows she needs the right face as anchor.  she knows her brilliant yet stormy friend and colleague Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw) has the brains and investigative doggedness that the project will require to succeed, but not the face.  she therefore pursues the charming, privileged, and shallow Hector Madden (Dominic West) as the show's lead anchor.  when freddie is sacked from his job, he reluctantly accepts bel's offer to join the show as a correspondent.  true to the time period, one of the program's early stories is Nasser's rise to power in Egypt and what that means both for the British Empire and the delicate balances of the Cold War.

you've probably already figured out how the characters feel about each other.  a bit clichéd, but they pull it off.  rowley and west deliver strong performances, but whishaw is terrific.  i don't know him, but i read that he won acclaim on stage as Hamlet and i can well believe that.  he's got presence.  of course, the other star is the noir aspect of the program, down to the art deco look of the BBC's Lime Grove Studios, the costuming, and the intrigue surrounding a murder mystery that freddie is investigating on the side.  give this show a try!  The Hour may become the hour you look forward to most.


Jennifer said...

Obviously I watched this show and I really liked it.

I really liked Ben Whishaw as John Keats in the movie Bright Star.

Mira said...

hahaha of course jenn already saw it. :) thanks for the post, burkie! i'll give it a try after erm, your other 3 recommendations for me... :)

burkie said...

hahaha, you were fast with the comment (hope i corrected the typos in time).