Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have been so busy over the past couple years that I almost forgot we haven’t seen a new episode of Sherlock since May 2012 (January 2012 if you watched the BBC airings). The duo has been so busy that filming on the third season had to be split up in order to accommodate their schedules. But the “high-functioning sociopath” is about to return, and U.S. audiences can set their calendars for January 19th at 10:00pm to watch season three on PBS’ Masterpiece. What’s even crazier is that this means Sherlock will run back-to-back with PBS’ other hugely popular British series, Downton Abbey, which premieres on January 5th. That’s right: PBS of all channels will be a ratings powerhouse on Sunday nights starting in January. That’s insane. It’s great, but insane.
Hit the jump for more details about the BBC air date and episodes from season three.
Hosted by actor/producer/director/screenwriter Liev Schreiber, Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, airing on PBS, is the first documentary to examine the dawn of the comic book genre and its powerful legacy, as well as the evolution of the characters who leapt from the pages over the last 75 years and their ongoing worldwide cultural impact. Among the talent in the film are Stan Lee, Adam West and Lynda Carter, along with various comic book writers and artists. The companion book, Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture by Laurence Maslon, tells the story of the superhero in American pop culture, featuring interviews, character biographies, and over 500 illustrations.
During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, comic book writer Len Wein – who has served as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, Disney Comics and Top Cow Comics, as well as senior editor at DC Comics, and has written extensively for nearly all major comic book characters – talked about what it’s like to see characters he’s created brought to life in so many different mediums, the first time he saw someone play one of his characters, his proudest career accomplishment, how he came to be writing comic books, whether he prefers to write the hero or the villain, and just what a fanboy geek he is himself. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
According to a press release from PBS’s Masterpiece Classic division, the ratings success of the ITV / PBS collaboration Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven as the retail magnate, has lead to the series’ renewal. In my review of the show’s first season, I found it to be frothy and good-hearted entertainment that was a welcome relief during a spate of otherwise very serious dramas. Though many were turned off by an overly bombastic Piven in the title role, it’s really the women who steal the show and illustrate a changing world, with Piven’s Selfridge along for the ride. The new season will also see the return of the Season One cast, along with new additions Polly Walker (John Carter), Cal Macaninch (Warriors) and Aidan McArdle (Jane Eyre).
The series is currently filming in the UK, and will pick up in 1914, which will mark the store’s fifth anniversary. But just like Downton Abbey, the time frame means that the characters (and the business) are all about to be greatly affected by the impending world war. Hit the jump for the full press release.
PBS has announced the US premiere date for the upcoming fourth season of everyone’s favorite early 20th century soap, Downton Abbey. The drama series will return on January 5, 2014 and will run through February 23rd on PBS. Those hoping the new season would air alongside the UK run in order to avoid spoilers will be disappointed, as season four will again air overseas months before its US premiere. Following last year’s abrupt exit of actor Dan Stevens, the fourth season will be chock full of new cast members like Tom Cullen, Nigel Harman, and Dame Harriet Walter. Season four will also see the return of Shirley MacLaine as Cora’s mother.
Mr. Selfridge, the latest PBS and ITV collaboration, chronicles the exploits of the man who founded the famous high-end Selfridges department store in London, and in doing so, changed our understanding of modern merchandizing. The series ran at the first of the year in the U.K. to mixed, though generally favorable reviews, and having personally consumed the entire ten-episode series in a matter of days I can say unequivocally that it’s worth watching. Mr. Selfridge doesn’t ask much of its viewers, but it’s a sprawling drama adapted by Andrew Davies (who has adapted pretty much every British miniseries you can think of) from a novel, and the series’ sumptuous costume designs and whirling stories are greatly entertaining.
Hit the jump for what Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven (Entourage) has to offer, and why the women of the series end up stealing the show.
The PBS documentary Makers: Women Who Make America (airing on February 26th) shares the stories of exceptional women who have made pioneering contributions that continue to shape the world in which we live. Through the perspectives of those who lived through historic milestones, the film recounts the seminal events in the Women’s Movement, including the publication of The Feminine Mystique in 1963 and the battles to end discriminatory laws and practices over the following decade, while also telling the surprising and unknown stories of women who broke barriers in their own chosen fields.
During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, groundbreaking writer, lecturer, editor and activist Gloria Steinem, who has been looked to as the popular face of the women’s movement for over four decades, talked about what it means to her to be a part of this documentary, when she started to realize that what she was saying and doing was really impacting a larger collective, how difficult it was for her to get comfortable with public speaking, the surprise success of Ms. Magazine (which she co-founded), the most inspiring women today, and where she sees women now, in the bigger picture. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
It’s been a few days since the season three finale of Downton Abbey aired here in the States, but some fans are likely still reeling from the abrupt departure of one of the show’s main characters in the episode’s final moments—assuming you weren’t spoiled when it aired in the UK back in December. Now it looks like another major departure could be in store for the wildly popular period series, as creator/showrunner Julian Fellowes has revealed that he might be stepping down from his head position at Downton Abbey in the near future. Hit the jump for more.
As part of the PBS portion of the TCA Press Tour, President and CEO Paula Kerger took some time to discuss the hugely popular drama series Downton Abbey. During the interview, she spoke about why she thinks both Downton and Sherlock have experienced such tremendous success, whether the casting changes for Season 4 of Downton might affect the show’s popularity, the chances of synching up the timing of the U.S. run of Downton to the show’s run in Britain to avoid spoilers, and that they’re already at work on Season 4. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
The upstairs/downstairs shenanigans of Downton Abbey are poised to continue for at least another year. Hot off its highest U.K. ratings to-date for the show’s third season, THR reports that the British drama Downton Abbey has been renewed for a fourth season by ITV. Series creator/showrunner Julian Fellowes recently opined that it would be strange to see ITV not order another season of the addictive soap, and it appears that his intuition was spot-on. Season three averaged 9.7 million viewers on ITV when factoring in same-day DVR viewing, which is a rise over season two’s 9.5 million average.
We’ll finally get to see the continued adventures of Lord and Lady Grantham over here in the states on PBS on January 6th, when season three has its U.S. premiere. A two-hour Christmas special will air on ITV on Christmas Day, which finds The Granthams taking a summer break in Scotland. Season four will be set in the early 1920s and is expected to air on ITV in Fall 2013. Production begins in February.
Actor Kenneth Branagh returns as Inspector Kurt Wallander, the moody Swedish detective created by mystery writer Henning Mankell, for three new 90-minute Wallander stories on Masterpiece Mystery! on PBS, starting September 9th. In Season 3, the depressed but fascinating cop tries to improve his disposition, while contending with torture killings, dashed romance, homicidal do-gooders and a resentful grown-up daughter.
During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, Kenneth Branagh talked about what he thinks makes Kurt Wallander one of the most popular detectives in the world, what fans can expect from this third series of movies, how having a woman in his life and some colleague changes at work affect the character, and that he’s hoping to do a fourth series of three films next year. He also talked about the new Jack Ryan film – an origin story that allows the audience to understand how Jack Ryan (played by Chris Pine) develops into a CIA analyst – which he is both directing and playing the villain in, said that he expects to shoot from the beginning of September until Christmas, and that he thinks it’s unlikely he will shoot in either IMAX or 3D, but that he would like to do an IMAX 3D Shakespeare film. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
The second season of the fantastically witty and fabulously acted series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, returns to PBS on May 6th with three more 90-minute installments – “A Scandal in Belgravia,” “The Hounds of Baskerville” and “The Reichenbach Fall.” Set in 21st-century London, the updated duo battle the worst that modern criminality has to offer, including the unassuming mastermind of evil, James Moriarity (Andrew Scott), who wants to rule the world.
During this exclusive interview with Collider, actress Lara Pulver (who plays dominatrix Irene Adler) talked about how she came to be a part of the show, what attracted her to the role, the research she did to play a dominatrix, how anxious she was to be something of a love interest for Sherlock Holmes, filming the scene in which she is completely naked, working with her brilliantly talented co-stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, and how she would love to return for another episode, if they find something great for the character to do. She also talked about her brief time on Season 4 of the HBO vampire series True Blood, what attracts her to specific projects, and how she would love to do a Broadway musical someday. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
For nearly 40 years, Masterpiece on PBS has captivated audiences with the works of the finest classic and contemporary writers, interpreted by the world’s foremost actors. In 1985, Rebecca Eaton took over the helm and oversaw the highly successful relaunch in 2008, with three distinct programs strands – Classic, Mystery! and Contemporary. Under her watch, the series has presented such high-profile titles as Prime Suspect, Inspector Morse, The Complete Jane Austen, Wallander and the recent hits Sherlock (returning for Season 2 on May 6th), Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey. With 34 Primetime Emmy Awards, 17 Peabody Awards, a Golden Globe and two Academy Award nominations, her distinguished career has earned her the official recognition of Queen Elizabeth II.
During this exclusive interview with Collider, executive producer Rebecca Eaton talked about what her job at Masterpiece entails, the gut feeling that she goes with when it comes to determining programming, which aspects of her job she enjoys most and dreads most, and what keeps her coming back, year after year. She also talked about the overwhelming success of Sherlock and Downton Abbey, why audiences have responded so strongly to the pairing of Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson, and why they only do three 90-minute movies per season. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
Beginning Sunday Night, PBS’ American Masters series will air Woody Allen: A Documentary, and the film’s trailer has been posted online. No matter your thoughts about the hit-and-miss aspect of his later films or how you feel about his personal life (which shouldn’t matter in the first place if you’re appraising his art), Woody Allen is a legend of American cinema. Director Robert Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm) was allowed unprecedent access to Allen and followed him through the making of You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger through the premiere of Midnight in Paris (a film which will probably earn Allen his 15th Oscar nomination for screenwriting). Along the way, Weide conducted a plethora of interviews with Allen’s peers and the actors he’s worked with over the course of his long career. While the trailer makes the movie looks more like a celebration of Allen rather than a warts-and-all documentary, Allen is a director who should be celebrated for his work and I’m excited to see how Weide has approached his subject.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. Woody Allen: A Documentary is a three-and-a-half film that will air in two parts. Part one will run Sunday, November 20 from 9-11 PM, and part two airs Monday, November 21 from 9-10:30 PM. Click here for what producer Brett Ratner had to say about the documentary.
It’s been in the works for awhile, but now director Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) will finally be releasing his documentary Pearl Jam Twenty, a portrait of the band from the filmmaker’s own perspective. Crafted from more than 1,200 hours of rare and never-before-seen footage, recent interviews with the band and live concert performances, the documentary offers an intimate glimpse in Pearl Jam’s journey from their formation to their launch into fame and topping the charts and their lives and work today. The film will have a limited theatrical release in September and hopefully a wider release shortly thereafter. But for those who won’t be able to catch it in theaters, it will air on PBS on Friday, October 21st at 9/8c as part of their American Masters series.
Crowe says, “When I set out to make this film, my mission was to assemble the best-of-the best from Pearl Jam’s past and present and give audiences a visceral feeling of what it is to love music and to feel it deeply—to be inside the journey of a band that has carved their own path. There is only one band of their generation for which a film like this could even be made, and I’m honored to be the one given the opportunity to make it.” As a big fan of Crowe and knowing his love for music and rock journalism (Almost Famous is based on Crowe’s real life), I just know this documetnary is going to be something special, and I can’t wait to check it out. See the first image of the film after the jump along with the full press release with more information.
After focusing on some of history’s most epic and generation-defining battles with the long documentary series The Civil War and the World War II centric The War, director Ken Burns and collaborating partner Lynn Novick will look at a more recent and more controversial war from world history with Vietnam, a documentary that will total about 10-12 hours and will air on PBS starting in 2016. Obviously that’s a long way to plan ahead, but as time consuming as documentaries are in general, combined with Burns’ meticulous work as a documentarian, it’s not outrageous.
Read statements from Burns and Novick after the jump.