Tag Archives: Season 2

Derek, season 2

Ricky Gervais as DerekRicky Gervais returned for a second season of Derek on Channel 4 in the UK, and on Netflix in the US. As with the first season, the show focuses on an elderly home, its workers, and its residents.  Derek, played by Gervais, is a slow, but kind-hearted.  The whole point of the show is that being kind is better than being smart, and that it will make you happier than money or accomplishment.  So our heroes and heroines are humble people. Derek, and especially Hannah, who runs the nursing home.

slide_277704_2042720_freeOne big absence this season is Karl Pilkington’s Dougie, who was my favorite part of season one.

Dougie-setups-083_A2Ricky Gervais said that acting made Karl way too nervous, and Karl has admitted he really disliked it.  Compared to An Idiot Abroad, where he traveled and saw new things, he did not enjoy sitting in a small trailer in Uxbridge between scenes.  Understandable.  I don’t even know where Uxbridge is, but I don’t think I’d fancy spending time in a trailer there.

Taking up a larger chunk of time, to make up for Dougie’s absence, is Kev.  The foul-mouthed slob accepted at the nursing home because he makes Derek laugh.  I have to wonder why Derek gets nearly whatever he wants in life. Kev, in season one, is pretty awful. With Dougie gone in season 2, he is slowly and haltingly redeemed.  Not all the way to normalcy, but to a place where we can hope good things happen to him.

Here’s the problem with Derek.  The world it presents is just too simple.  Everyone is too good.  For me, since I’m an emotional and optimistic person, this isn’t such a big deal.  It doesn’t bother me too much while I’m watching the show, but afterwards it gnaws at me when I think back. Because even if everyone were inherently good, all the different ways people think they are doing ‘good’ means there will always be opposition to one thing in favor of another. There will always be conflict.

So the show is unrealistic, to the point of being hard to swallow.  I cry in every episode.

But one episode nearly killed me, after what I went through earlier this year.

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In one episode, Ivor the dog has to be put down. He’s quite old and very sick, so it’s not as tragic as it might be.  But, the subject matter hit so close to home that we (my bf and I) had to stop the show and weep for a good 10 minutes before we could continue. I’m crying a little just thinking about it. So I can’t be too cynical about this show, because there are moments in life that bring out true and unadulterated emotions, and Derek is good about showing these moments. Since most TV shows don’t give death much weight at all, it’s good to have a counterpoint. Something uncynical.  It’s too simple, but I’d rather watch a show that is too simple and promotes kindness and unmaterialistic goodness, than watch a show that is too simple and promotes violence, tawdry affairs, and materialistic bullshit.

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In the Flesh, season 2

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The first season of In the Flesh was very good, but also very bleak. As bleak as its setting in a lonely North England town. It drew some fairly obvious allegories, using the zombies Partially Deceased Syndrome Sufferers as stand-ins for homosexuals, religious and racial minorities, immigrants, HIV/AIDS sufferers, and any other group that can most easily be trodden upon by the heartless masses.

I really grew to like Kieren and Amy, who have a pretty adorable friendship. The terrible prejudices and actions of the citizens of Roarton were really difficult to watch. Excruciating, in some cases, because of how easy it is to relate the way the PDS are treated to the way gay people are still treated, and the fact that some of them are attacked. Sometimes by family. In 2014, for fuck’s sake.

The second series is longer (6 episodes, rather than 3), and uses a different sort of allegory.  A new political group, Victus, has been winning seats at Parliament by campaigning with aggressive anti-PDS policies. They (like most far right parties) are channeling people’s fears to enact policies that restrict and control the PDS population. In Roarton, a new MP from Victus shows up, Maxine Martin.

in_the_flesh_wunmiSoon, she has put a system in place to invalidate the passports of all PDS persons. Kieren discovers this when he tries to leave town, to head to Paris and to live a life where he is not completely surrounded by people who hate him and his kind. In order to ‘earn’ his passport back, he has to work to ‘give back’. All the PDS people have to do a certain amount of community service in order to make up for some of the damage they wrought. But as time goes on, it becomes clearer that this is not a system that they can really get out of. The ‘community service’ is mandatory, and they shift the guidelines at a whim. You can draw obvious parallels to concentration camps and internment camps and no-fly lists and ‘random’ inspections of people of color, or anyone with Muhammad in their name. Also to immigrant populations, vilified and contained, mistrusted by the generally douchy public.

The overarching story of the season is the fabled ‘second rising’. There are a few schools of thought on how it may come about, and whether it should come about.  The Undead Liberation Army and its creepy prophet is trying to bring about the second rising. Enter ULA member, Simon. He’s Irish, and he’s all in for the ULA movement. Amy has a crush on him, but in typical Amy fashion, he turns out to be more attracted to Kieren. Que sera, sera.

Simon helps Kieren start to accept who he is–going out without the ‘mousse’ and the contact lenses, looking like the undead person he is. His family hates this, and sees it as such a radical move that he may need to be sent back to a treatment facility to be re-brainwashed.

The second rising can only happen with the help of the first risen. The actual first person that came up from the ground.  Simon thinks this is Kieren. But it’s not.

Amy, once she gets over the fact that Simon isn’t straight, turns her attention back to Philip. She’s going through some stuff–she has tremors sometimes, and occasionally forgets that she’s dead and tries to eat something. Things are changing for her and she’s not sure if that means she’ll turn back into a ‘rabid’ or what. Scary stuff.  The good news is that as soon as she reaches out to Philip, he immediately stops being incredibly creepy and pathetic, and starts to be a little bit adorable.

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In typical Roarton fashion, that doesn’t last long.

It’s a very bleak show, but I actually really enjoy it. The whole zombie thing is such an easy stand-in for so many awful social issues in history and in the modern day. I’m hoping it gets a third season/series, because I still want to see what happens next. It did not end on a resolution, but a cliffhanger. I don’t mind a cliffhanger when the show has definitely been renewed, but I get pretty annoyed when I watch a cliffhanger and then have to accept the fact that I’ll never get to see what happens next. There should be some sort of post-season special. Whenever a show is cancelled after a cliffhanger, they should shoot one more episode to wrap it up. If you are reading this and you work in TV, make this shit happen.

Wild Things, season two

WildThings-ShowThumbThis show could also be titled ’45 minutes of me watching through my fingers’.  Because…there are almost always snakes. Case in point: In the first episode, Dom is searching for a ‘Giant Spitting Cobra’ in Kenya.  Cobras are, without a doubt, the scariest animals in the entire world. I have a difficult time even standing next to the life-size cardboard cobra at our zoo. And as amusing as I find this picture:

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The picture scares me so much I think I have to delete it from my computer right away. My mom told me once that she rented Silence of the Lambs. She watched 15 minutes of it, and couldn’t go any farther. She had to rewind it immediately and take it back to the video rental place (kids: ask your parents what this was)–she didn’t want it in the house. My fear of snakes is really strong. I am prepared to move one day to New Zealand, Ireland, or Hawaii.  No snakes in those places. None at all. But what if I’m flying to my new snake-free haven and the plane is filled with snakes?!  I’m not Samuel L. Jackson; I will not survive that shit. I’d probably fling myself off the plane rather than deal with that.

But I digress. Back to the show.

This season, Dom continued to search for unusual, unique, and difficult-to-find animals. Usually of the non-cuddly variety. He looked for a Gaboon Viper in Zambia, the aforementioned cobra, the Titan Beetle in Brazil, Gila monsters in the SW US, Box Jellyfish off the coast of Australia, etc. There was a truly fucking terrifying bit with an anaconda that I had to watch from the other room. But, there were a few more cuddly and likeable animals in the mix this season. He looked for the Ghost Bat (yes, bats are cute. if you disagree, you are wrong), a tiny Lemur Leap Frog, and the Slow Loris, possibly the 3rd cutest animal ever. If you’re wondering, my dog was the cutest animal ever.  That’s just a fact.

There were also some great moments when Dom helped a sloth cross a road, hung out with some tiger cubs, and there’s a really interesting bit with an elephant.

DominicMonaganWildThings02_m_0324They have to sedate it so that they can help to dress a would it’s received from poachers. Poachers, by the way, are the world’s worst people. They help the elephant, but there are a few really sketchy moments after it wakes up.  Frank (the cameraman) almost gets trampled.  Later, Frank gets hit with a nasty bit of jumping cactus.

My favorite part of the season was when Dom re-united with his fellow hobbit, Billy Boyd.  Part of the reason I’ve had a crush on Dom for the last ~10 years is because I watched/listened to all the Lord of the Rings special features. He and Billy are hilarious together and I have a sort of deep affection for them both. So a reunion was very fun to see, though Billy is starting to look like an adult man, and I disapprove of that in general. I mean…he’s 45, but still!

tumblr_n54865IyDS1sm6um6o1_500Luckily, Dom still looks like a 10-year old, who is about to see a fire truck.

They toured New Zealand together, looking for the Giant Wetapunga. Billy brought his snake stick, which is particularly funny since there are no snakes in New Zealand.  I would definitely watch a show that just followed the two of them around in their regular lives.  Get on that, TV gods.

My only real complaint is (once again) with BBC America.  WHY do you, BBC America Execs, choose to show me only 45 minutes of a 1 hour show? You suck. Just make it an hour and 15 minutes. Then you can fit your commercials in, and I still get to see all of the stuff. Or if you can’t do that, put the cut scenes on the website so I at least have a chance to see them. It’s fucking ridiculous. I missed major scenes in Broadchurch, which made me irritated. With this show, I knew because of interviews (and the presence of a bandage) that Dom got hurt during the filming of the 2nd season. In the interviews, he admitted he needed 40 stitches, but didn’t want to say what animal it was, so people would tune in and see what happened. Well, they cut that bit. Fuck you, BBC America.  You know, in the age of the DVR, there’s no need for this crap.  I record the show, so I don’t care if it ends at 9 or 9:15. Just show the whole show. Or at least make it possible for me to see the whole thing. What is the point of you, you network? You make me unreasonably angry. I want to stomp on your foot.

To make myself less angry, here’s a picture of Dom and a sloth.

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Mr. Selfridge, season 2

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The second season of Mr. Selfridge aired in Winter in the UK, but it just finished airing on PBS in May. I really like this show.  I think it strikes an excellent balance of drama and enjoyment. Though bad things happen on the show, there is a sense of optimism about it that sort of matches Mr. Selfridge’s (quintessentially American) sense of possibility. Of course, the real story of Mr. Selfridge is far less joyful. By the end of his life, he had spent a fortune on dancing girls and mistresses, was ousted from his position in his own store, and died penniless. Apparently he used to come to the store, every day after he’d been sacked, and just stare up at it.  That makes me so sad.  So I will pretend none of that happened and embrace the much happier story presented on the show.

The second season (series) begins at the 5 year anniversary of the store’s opening. There are some big changes among the ranks at the store.  Agnes Towler has just returned from Paris and has been made head of displays, a big promotion. Mr. Grove has something like 5 children with his sweet uncomplicated wife, and is slowly becoming more and more lost and unhappy in his choice. Good. He is a berk. Miss Mardle, who was jilted by Mr. Grove, has taken the opposite trajectory in life. She has inherited a small fortune, and soon catches the attention of a very young, very attractive Belgian violinist.

mast-selfridge2-bts-mardle-chocolateThis change in balance between them makes me extremely happy. Life rarely turns out this way, but oh don’t you wish it would? Everyone who ever hurt you regrets his/her decision, and you don’t regret it at all. You’re much better off. Lovely.

Over the course of the season, despite it being only 10 episodes, a lot of shit goes down. Harry and Rose are estranged at the beginning of the season, because of his philandering in the past. He wants desperately to earn her love back. Eventually, he does. I really like Rose. I actually like almost everyone on this show. Except Mr. Thackeray and Lord Loxley. But more about them in a minute.

WWI breaks out a few episodes into the season. It’s an interesting perspective from which to see the war. Mr. Selfridge and his family are American, and of course America had not yet entered the war. His loyalty to England is questioned, even though Harry wants to do what he can. We also see the experiences of other non-English people. Victor and his cousin (or brother?) are Italian, and feel a keen sense of growing xenophobia. Two things take up the minds of the lower-class men that work at Selfridges–labor unions and the war. Nearly all of Selfridge’s men enlist. The result is (hold on to your monocle) young women working in the loading bay and warehouse. The big scandal of the series involves Lord Loxley, Mr. Selfridge, and some inferior boots given to the army.

So now is a good time to talk about Lord Loxley. He’s Lady Mae’s husband, and the single most odious man to ever appear on the show.

44746He is violent, manipulative, super creepy, and entirely lacking a soul of any kind. Lady Mae can occasionally seem manipulative and cold, but as soon as we see her husband, we realize that she is entirely justified, and entirely victimized by him. Despite being a strong, smart, independent woman. And even if he wasn’t abusive to her, he would still be blackmailing government officials, profiting from war, endangering the health of enlisted men, and blaming it on Harry Selfridge. He is truly awful. In a way that makes your skin crawl when you think about him, particularly if you are a woman.

Much of the season shows Lady Mae attempting to extricate herself from his clutches. Keep in mind that at this point, a woman could only petition for divorce if she could prove adultery AND could prove another form of cruelty (rape, incest, abuse). And I mean prove it, as in eyewitness accounts. So Lady Mae cannot work within the law, but she does work with Harry Selfridge to prove Harry is innocent and that Loxley is guilty. I know real life isn’t like this, but I do enjoy a show that lets me think that things can turn out right in the end.

My only real complaint about this season is Agnes.  She was so strong and interesting in the first series, learning new things and trying to become more competent. This season, she is facing a bigger challenge, of course. She is the head of displays, and is often working very late hours by herself. That’s all fine–showing a woman working hard, or even a woman trying and not quite achieving her lofty goals is interesting and fine. My big problem with her this season is that almost all of her emotional changes come not from herself, but from men.

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The most action and perseverance we see from her character is when she is attempting to prove Henri Leclair innocent of the crimes he is accused of (at first, espionage, and then theft). She is strong and capable in those scenes. But the rest of the season she is merely reacting to the actions of the men in her life.

Shortly after she returns from Paris, Victor Colleano asks her to marry him and she says yes. Even though I’m not certain they were actually dating at the time. Henri is being rude and curt with her, and I wonder how much of his actions weighed into her decision. Her brother George enlists and heads out to the front–this isn’t a situation a woman, or anyone can control, so I don’t fault her for this, but it adds to the number of scenes where she is just waiting for a man to do something. He is missing in action for a while, and she fears the worst, but he eventually returns and she can relax.  Victor, who is a very nice person for doing this, realizes that a life with him won’t make her happy. Her talents would be wasted as a wife and helping him in his family restaurant. He knows that Henri still loves Agnes, and that Agnes still cares about Henri. So he lets her go, ends their engagement. This is very nice of him, but it’s yet another example of the men making decisions for Agnes, and of her having little control over her own life. Of her asserting almost no control over her own life.  And considering how strong she was last season, I was disappointed with that.  But, at least they didn’t have her get married and have kids and have no other role, because that sounds nauseating. I’m hoping they’ll give her a little more proactive and assertive actions in the third season.

Yes, they’ve renewed for a 3rd season (series), and I believe they’re already shooting it. It’s not a challenging show, it falls firmly on the entertaining side of the drama pendulum (rather than the realistic end of things), but it is entertaining. A lot of shows firmly throw away any semblance of reality in favor of entertainment, but still miss the mark. I think Mr. Selfridge is a very good balance of realism and optimism, so I’ll keep watching.

 

Ripper Street – Season 2

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The second season/series of Ripper Street began on BBC America in February, and finished last month. I have my ups and downs with this show, and can’t ever decide how I feel about it. But I never really love it, and the second season was more of the same. It’s the sort of show you watch, but it doesn’t really hold your interest, and when you’re done you can’t really remember what it was about.

The second season had Inspector Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) again leading a Whitechapel detective squad with his right-hand man, Sergeant Drake, and his American scientist, Homer Jackson. But it’s the private lives of all three that bring about most of the problems across the season arc. Reid begins to see a new woman, June Cobden, after his marriage had fallen apart.

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I like her more than I like him, to be honest, and I’m comforted to see she’s based on a real person. She’s a feminist, a leader, a politician, and very interested in reforms that can help poor families. As a bleeding-heart liberal woman, I am 100% happy about her. But I still don’t really like Reid. He hides behind the guise of a good, moral man. Perhaps he is as moral as a man can be in that position in that age. But you cannot be a good, moral man, who employs a personal ‘enforcer’. I was most pleased with this season because the show finally addresses this fact. Drake has a certain moral superiority over Reid, because though he is doing the ‘enforcing’, Reid is the one pulling the puppet strings. I get really irritated with shows (like Copper, and somewhat Ripper Street) that imply that you can be a good guy, and still shoot/beat/intimidate people in order to get your own way, and that that behavior is somehow allowed because you are in search of justice.  Nope. The ends do not justify the means.

In the previous season, Drake wanted to marry Rose, one of Susan’s girls. She rebuffed him, determined to be an actress/singer. He marries a different one of Susan’s girls. This tells me that more than he wanted Rose, he just didn’t want to be alone. Forgivable. But the one he does marry, Bella, turns out to have a lot of baggage. She used to be part of some sort of violent, incestuous, proto-cult. She drags Susan into the matter and things go from bad to worse there. Drake loses his wife, and probably most of his mind. He leaves the station and deals with his grief by putting his body through physical pain—he works menial jobs (gravedigging, etc.) during the day, and at night he is a ‘boxer’. I hesitate to even call it boxing, because he has his hands tied behind his back and people make bets about how many punches he can take before he passes out. I would liken his behavior to a 19th-century form of self-harm. Easier to deal with physical pain than the emotional.

But this foray away from the precinct puts Reid in a very awkward spot. He has always been able to keep his hands clean of the riff raff. He would nod at Drake, and Drake would punch witnesses until they talked. Without Drake around, Reid is forced to come up with alternative tactics, or forced to do the punching himself. That made me feel better, but by the end of the season this dynamic reverts to where it was, without much change on either side.

The other big character shift was the relationship between Jackson and Susan. He loses her trust and her love, and things go from bad to worse between them. Men are so stupid sometimes, and Jackson is definitely one of them. Susan is forced to go through a lot of horrible things to keep afloat after Jackson’s stupid decisions.

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The other constant on Ripper Street is the highly unlikely plot points, usually relating to new technology emerging at that point. The first season had the invention of video—in order to make snuff porn. This season, in addition to featuring proto-cults, there were opiates, people smuggling diamonds in their anuses, electricity scheisters that did something very disturbing to a farm animal in order to prove the safety of their form of current (sadly, this is based on a very real and very horrifying truth), telegraph messenger boys as a front for gay pedophiles, police corruption, a garroted man, Joseph Merrick (the elephant man), and several scenes with pig carcasses that I had to watch between my fingers because yuck.

The problem I really have with Ripper Street is the lack of depth. They put a lot of effort into salacious plots and nefarious villains, but the character development is sometimes lacking. Reid has almost no internal emotions portrayed, and people are too often separated into the wholly good or wholly bad. There are exceptions. The women are believable, and have the most depth. Drake is probably the only man that I think has a level of substance that makes him relatable. Despite Reid’s use of him as a bulldog and nothing more, Drake has an understanding of the world and of himself, and also a fear of those same two things, that make him the most interesting man on the show.

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BBC cancelled Ripper Street after season two. But the fans of this show pulled together and sent emails, signed petitions, etc. to get it renewed. And it worked! Sort of. Amazon is going to make the third season. It will air on BBC and BBC America, after being streamed online. Even though I’m not a huge fan of the show, that makes me feel good. I wish things like email campaigns or kickstarters had existed when I was younger. That being said, I’m not sure I’m going to watch season 3. Despite my love of all things Victorian, I just can’t get into this show. This is a show that often eschews emotional substance in favor of flashy scandalousness. I would prefer a show that did the opposite.

 

Moone Boy, series 2

After what seems like ages, the second season (series) of Chris O’Dowd’s Moone Boy finally aired in Feb/March.

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I was so excited for this premiere, because I think Moone Boy might be one of the most brilliantly funny shows in years. And the subject matter–an 11-year-old boy growing up in the North of Ireland–is not something we get a lot of on this side of the pond, so it’s all new and exciting to us.  Well, Boyle isn’t an exciting town, but the accents are lovely…

Technically, this isn’t available yet in the US. But it’s coming back to Hulu on April 24th. If you haven’t seen the 1st season yet, I really can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s only ~6 episodes, so you have plenty of time to catch up before series 2! My bf and I watched the entire 1st season in one day, while we were at home with our sick dog.  And then we watched the entire season again, about 3 days later.  It’s that good.

The show, as I discussed in my series 1 review, is about the Moone family. In particular, it follows young Martin Moone, and his imaginary friend, Sean Caution Murphy (O’Dowd).

Moone-Boy-2But it also spends time on the rest of the Moone clan. Martin’s parents, Liam and Debra are sarcastic and adorable. Martin’s 3 sisters, Trish, Fidelma, and Sinead, each have their own strong characters, even though they aren’t given as much screen time. Trish is a Cure-obsessed misanthrope. Sinead is a tomboy and enjoys putting makeup on Martin while he’s asleep, in the hopes that he will wear it to school the next day accidentally (it works at least once). Fidelma, or Delma, is newly-pregnant with the child of an idiotic young choir-leader at their Catholic church. So that’s fun.

The real stars of the show, though, are Martin, Sean, Martin’s best friend Padraic (pronounced Poor-rick), and Padraic’s imaginary friend, Crunchie Danger Haystacks. A particular highlight for me in series 2 was Padraic and Crunchie dressed up as Marty & Doc Brown from Back to the Future:

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I love Back to the Future. Fun moments like that make me wish I’d had an imaginary friend as a child. I feel like I may have missed out on something.  Series 2 brought the show into the ’90s, with a slightly taller Martin who attends a new school.  With the ’90s come some major cultural events in Irish popular history. The first episode of the series covers the (ultimately unsuccessful) Irish football team at the World Cup. One episode has Martin and Padraic build a raft to float into town.  Instead, it floats the other direction and they stumble upon an abandoned island, with just ‘Island Joe’, possible apparition, as its sole inhabitant. Travelers invade a field near the Moone house, and Martin gets his first girlfriend as a result. Liam re-ignites a rivalry with his old handball opponent, this time on the golf course:

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Ostensibly, they’re both playing for pride and maybe for Debra’s heart, but come on. Of course Liam wins her heart, because he is really wonderful and adorable and the bank manager is just kind of icky.

While I won’t say series 2 is as brilliant as series 1, it’s still funny, clever, and has the rare quality of making you feel a true affection for almost all the characters.  I mean, Desi is not a person I would enjoy being with in real life, but I warmed to him a bit. My crush on Liam continues to grow, and I just want to snuggle Martin and Padraic because they are adorable.  I am not a snuggler by nature, so that should say something. Again, I cannot recommend this show enough; if you haven’t seen it, see it! It’s a wonderful combination of different themes and tones, and has a rare quality of realistic nostalgia–capturing the boredom or idiocy of a family vacation or a flawed scheme among friends.

Upcoming British TV

It’s that time of year again!  Time for Christmas specials, followed closely by new premieres in 2014!  We’ve got a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

First, there is the Christmas special for Doctor Who

Doctor Who, Christmas Special 2013 - Artwork: Jenna-Louise Coleman and Matt SmithThe Time of the Doctor  (Christmas Day in the UK and US) will mark the end of Matt Smith’s run and the beginning of Peter Capaldi as our 12th incarnation of the eponymous Doctor.  As happens every time there is a regeneration, I am dreading it, but know that the new Doctor will win me over pretty quickly.  It happened with 10 and with 11, so I have faith that 12 will be just as good.  Okay, no one is actually as good as David Tennant, but they do try…

The Downton Abbey Christmas special will play on Christmas Day in the UK, but the US will have to wait a few months–we haven’t even aired season 4 yet.  Season 4 premieres on PBS January 5th. So the Christmas Special will air sometime in February or March.  Festive.  I am looking forward to it because we finally get to see Paul Giamatti as Cora’s rakish, financially-irresponsible brother

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I also notice Edith missing from this picture.  I won’t spoil anything for those who haven’t seen season 4, but I’ve got a guess where she is…

One week after Christmas is (to me) the most important premiere of the last several years.  Sherlock (series 3) premieres on Jan 1st in the UK, January 19th in the US (again on PBS).

sherlock_series_3_fan_poster_2_by_crqsf-d52873pI’m almost done with my re-watch of the first two series.  I just have the heinously painful, ugly-cry-inducing Reichenbach Fall. And then there will finally be new episodes! There’s rumor of a mini-episode premiering on Christmas Day (on BBC 1) that acts as a sort of prequel to Series 3. (Here’s hoping I can find it online).  The proper episodes run January 1st, 5th, and 12th in the UK.

A boatload of new shows and season premieres are slated for Spring 2014 here in the US.

Fleming-The Man Who Would Be Bond is a BBC America look at Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond.  It stars Dominic Cooper as Fleming, and looks like a combination between The Hours and Mad Men.

460x300_flemingThat’s Lara Pulver (aka Irene Adler) as the proto-Bond girl, Ann O’Neill.  I’ll withhold judgment on this one–I’m not a big fan of Bond, but I’ll give it a try. It premieres January 29th.

Despite being (rudely) cancelled after its second series/season in the UK, Ripper Street will get a full second season airing in the US.  I’ve already heard that the ‘finale’ wasn’t very rewarding, because the showrunners didn’t know (or didn’t know early enough) about the show’s fate.  Season 2 premieres on BBC America in February (no fixed date yet, that I’ve seen).

March 30th will be a big day for PBS viewing.  Call the Midwife AND Mr. Selfridge return for their 3rd and 2nd seasons, respectively. Here’s a trailer for Mr. Selfridge:

April 13th sees season 2 of The Bletchley Circle premiere on PBS.  It premieres much earlier (January 6th) in the UK.

Shortly after, on April 19th, Orphan Black finally returns on BBC America.

There are several other shows without announced premiere dates, but we know are coming soon.

The Musketeers–a BBC America show, taking place in 17th century Paris. The (four) Musketeers are all hot young men in this incarnation of the classic story. I’ll give it a try, though I’m not really one to go for men with feathers in their hats. The BBC America website says ‘Coming in 2014’, so this one could be a while.

Similarly, they’re very vague on the dates for a few other shows.  In the Flesh is definitely going to have a second season/series, but all the info they give is ‘Spring 2014’.  I would guess March or April.

Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan is already filming season 2, with special guest star and fellow hobbit, Billy Boyd.  No release date for that one either, but I’m guessing late Spring/early Summer, based on my zero expertise.

It’s going to be a busy season of TV watching this Spring!