Monday, June 9, 2014

Must-See Miniseries: The Hour

The Hour (2011).  
The Hour. Season 2 (2013). 

If you are looking for something new to watch now that most of the network TV shows have ended for the summer, check out the BBC miniseries The Hour.  Set in mid-1950s in London The Hour is about the creation of an current affairs news show for the BBC.   Hardscrabble journalist Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw) is tired of his job covering entertainment news (which he views as beneath him).  Lucky for him, his best friend/ creative partner Bel Rowley (Romola Garai) is recruited by their mentor Clarence Fendley (Anton Lesser) to help produce a brand new news program called The Hour.  Clarence decides on the upper-class, handsome news anchor Hector Madden (Dominic West aka. McNulty from the Wire) to host the program. 

The Hour is full of Cold War paranoia and intrigue, yet the stories covered have clear parallels to modern day.  As a huge Broadcast News fan,  I really enjoyed the love triangle plot between Freddie, Bel, and Hector.  There's definitely a clearer choice here than in Broadcast News, but it was nice to see a more sympathetic portrayal of the Aaron Altman character.  Garai, Whishaw and West all give excellent performances. I particularly enjoyed the chemistry between Garai and Whishaw as friends in the first season.  It was interesting to see West with his native British accent, since my main exposure to him was on the Wire.  He definitely comes off as far more gentlemanly than Jimmy McNulty.  I was also interested in the 1950s fashion aspect of the show.  Whishaw looks even cuter than usual in his tweed business wear, and Garai's wardrobe had me perusing Boden USA for similar styles of dresses.  Check it out!