Showing posts with label PBS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PBS. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


I have become obsessed with the PBS series Victoria.  This is probably no surprise to anyone who knows me because I am a bit of an Anglophile and I love historical dramas (I recently finished watching all four seasons of The Tudors and I watched the entire season of The Crown in two days).  The series begins on the day that an eighteen year old Victoria (Jenna Coleman), who has been sheltered by her mother at Kensington Palace her whole life, becomes queen.  It continues with her desire to free herself from her mother and her mother's adviser, Sir John Conroy, her relationship with and dependence on her first Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell), her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes), and the birth of her first child.  As with The Crown, I really enjoyed getting to see the real girl behind the myth.  She is so passionate, exuberant, headstrong, and impulsive (I always think of her as the grief-stricken widow) and I think Coleman does an outstanding job of bringing her to life.  I also love Hughes' portrayal of Albert and I really enjoyed the love story between Victoria and Albert (I love the way he says her name).  Queen Victoria is an ideal subject for a series because she lived and ruled during such an interesting time in history with the advent of the Industrial Revolution (I am hoping that this will be explored more in future seasons; it is hinted at in one episode when Albert becomes fascinated by the locomotive).  The writing feels very authentic because it is informed by Victoria's own diaries.  The writers actually know how Victoria felt, for example, after seeing the opera Lucia di Lammermoor and they use her own words to describe that experience.  Of course, as with most PBS historical dramas, the production design is incredible with opulent sets and costumes (the coronation and wedding scenes are amazing).  There are some subplots involving the palace staff that seem a bit superfluous (they are trying too hard to be like Downton Abbey) but that is a minor criticism.  I loved it!  Now that the final episode has aired, I am in withdrawal and eagerly awaiting the next season.

Note:  I have found myself watching more and more TV lately.  I used to have a life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


I absolutely love the PBS series Sherlock.  First of all, I find Benedict Cumberbatch to be strangely appealing.  I don't know what it is but there is just something about him (I've heard him called the thinking woman's sex symbol!) and the "high functioning sociopath" Sherlock Holmes is the perfect character for him.  In addition, I find the premise of the series, a modern-day update of the beloved stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to be incredibly clever.  As a fan of the source material, I love finding elements from the canon.  The obvious ones are the episodes "A Study in Pink," based on the story "A Study in Scarlet,"  "A Scandal in Belgravia," based on the story "A Scandal in Bohemia," "The Hounds of Baskerville," based on the story "The Hound of the Barskervilles," and "The Reichenbach Fall" based on the story "The Final Problem."  However, there are lots of other subtle references, as well, and I love it when I figure them out.  My favorite is when they make a passing reference to a past case called "The Speckled Blonde" which comes from the story "The Speckled Band."  I could watch each episode over and over to find more references (yes, I am aware that I am a complete nerd).  I have been a fan since the first episode aired but Marilyn recently discovered Seasons 1-3 on Netflix.  She sent me a text gushing about the series to which I responded that I have been talking about it for years!  We have both been binge watching the first three seasons and texting each other quotes as we watch (see the comment about my nerd status above).  Then we discovered the PBS app on our fire stick (the best Christmas present ever) and binge watched Season 4.  Monday night we took our Mom (who has also become a fan) to see the Season 4 Finale on the big screen.  After the explosive events of Season 4, we were really looking forward to the finale and, oh my goodness, it did not disappoint!  I loved this episode (I don't want to say much, only one word: Redbeard) and, if the rumors are true and this is the end of the series, it is a good conclusion (but there is the possibility for it to continue).  This episode will be screened again in theaters tonight through Fathom Events and I highly recommend it if you are a fan of the series.  It was amazing to see it on the big screen but you can stream it on PBS, too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hamilton's America

Last night KUED, the local PBS station in SLC, teamed up with the Salt Lake Film Society to offer a sneak peek of the documentary Hamilton's America on the big screen at the Broadway Theatre.  I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to this screening (the organizers joked that this was the hottest ticket in town) and let me say right now that you should all set your DVRs to record on Friday, October 21 at 8:00 pm (MDT).  You certainly must know by now that I am completely obsessed with the musical Hamilton (go here and here for other posts about this extraordinary musical) so it should come as no surprise that I found the story of the making of this show to be captivating.  It begins with Lin-Manuel Miranda's initial idea for the musical, sparked by reading Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton while on vacation, and continues through his writing process, the first performance of one of the songs at the White House, his collaborations with his creative team, and the first performances at the Public Theater up to the phenomenon that it is today.  There are interviews with Miranda, Chernow, various historians, the creative team, and the original cast members.  The documentary highlights the creation of various songs and then intersperses actual stage performances of those songs into the narrative!  Every time a song from the show was performed, I would get teary eyed because it would remind me of seeing it live.  I still can't believe that I actually sat inside the Richard Rodgers Theatre and saw the original cast!  There is an interview with Jimmy Fallon, who saw one of the earliest performances at the Public Theater, and he says that he had tears streaming down his face the first time he saw it and whispered to his wife that it was the greatest thing he had ever seen.  I felt exactly the same way when I watched it (including a few tears).  I highly recommend this documentary because it will make you remember the amazing experience you had watching the show or it will make you want to do literally anything to be able to see it for yourself!  It premieres on PBS on Friday, October 21 so be sure to check your local listings!
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