Monday, August 22, 2011

Clive sez:

People in a certain time comport themselves in a certain way, unless they are in a television series gone wrong, when they comport themselves in only one way: the wrong way. Much heralded by some bonehead of a publicist as the British answer to Mad Men, The Hour (BBC Two) has some nice clothes but the people wearing them are uniformly desperate to discover a character to play in the bundles of paper they have been handed. Dominic West, with the Suez crisis looming, looks exactly like an actor who would be more at home in Baltimore with a few thousand black actors and a script that sounds like nothing on Earth. The script of "The Hour" sounds like anything on television, and that’s its trouble.

More here.


Tulkinghorn said...

The Spectator has more to the same point:


When The Hour started on BBC2, the main question was whether it was the British equivalent of Mad Men. The answer, it soon turned out, was a firm ‘not really’. Four episodes in, the main question has become more puzzling: is it any good or not?

The series certainly can’t be accused of not trying hard enough. As well as the birth of modern TV news, it also serves up the Suez crisis, a love triangle, the invasion of Hungary and an establishment conspiracy so overarching as to suggest that the MI6 of the 1950s could give the Stasi a run for its money. There’s a pretty distinguished cast, too, with Anna Chancellor, Anton Lesser and Tim Pigott-Smith among those puffing away on the unfiltered cigarettes.

Yet, to properly enjoy the show — which, on the whole, I am doing — you have to overlook an awful lot of clunkiness...

David Chute said...

I went right home and watched the first half of the first episode. Too early to tell but as scene setting it was fine. Beatifully-shot period dinginess. Clive never refers to it as a thriller and there's a killing before it even reaches the midpoint. (The assassin is Burn Gorman, ex-Torchwood.)

Tulkinghorn said...

The usual Guardian treatment:

Tulkinghorn said...

Enjoyed the first episode, entirely because of the actors, whom I loved looking at.

The Torchwood refugee/assassin was also, memorably, in Bleak House as Mr. Guppy.