Kudos to PopWatchers Jonas and Rodney (Fixer fans unite!) for voicing their anger at BBC America’s importing of so many reality shows but not enough dramas. Now, I won’t bite the hand that feeds me some very good stuff. It’s my preferred channel after all. I never miss a Gavin & Stacey. And I owe them for introducing me to Dylan Moran in Black Books. Moreover, I actually enjoy BBC America Reveals (476-lb teenagers, man whores, mums-who-are-really-dads, and all). But that doesn’t mean I’m not frustrated when I curl up hoping to catch some MI-5 or maybe a Green Wing and I’m stuck watching You Are What You Eat. Trust me, I already know that if you cut me open you’ll only find tuna fish sandwiches. I can also do without ever witnessing someone else’s waste matter whiz out through a plastic tube during her colon cleanse.
Conversely, there are several projects airing in Britain this fall that I want to see. BBC and ITV2 released their autumn promos last week (watch them here and here) and the pickings are mighty good. Some we’ll definitely get: Kenneth Branagh’s Swedish detective show Wallander hits Mystery! next summer, along with the new Marples and Poirots. God on Trial airs on Masterpiece Contemporary this fall. And Merlin, starring y’alls favorite Anthony Head, drops on NBC soon (check the seductive trailer here). But I’m yenning for more. Find some excellent options after the jump…
1. Andrew Davies’ adaptation of Little Dorrit with Matthew Macfadyen (pictured). Masterpiece will show Oliver Twist and The Old Curiosity Shop in 2009, so I’m betting Dorrit isn’t far behind.
2. Peter Moffat’s Einstein and Eddington with David Tennant (pictured). HBO co-produced this biopic — thus, it better be in our future.
3. Mutual Friends with Marc Warren, Macfayden’s real-life bride Keeley Hawes, and Coupling’s Sarah Alexander. Whether he’s Danny Blue (Hustle), Elton Pope (Doctor Who), or Dominic Foy (State of Play), Warren’s flawless. Just see the ad.
4. MI-5 with Richard Armitage (sample that BBC promo again). Did we not dutifully watch the previous seasons on A&E and BBC America? Crikey.
5. Tess of the D’Urbervilles with Hans Matheson. Sure, the1998 adaptation featuring Justine Waddell and Jason Flemyng doesn’tseem that long ago. But with The Street’s David Blair directing and The Tudor’s Matheson starring as evil Alec, I’d tune in.
6. Lost in Austen with Hex’s Jemima Rooper. Critics call it “Life on Mars meets Pride and Prejudice.” Austen’s already airing in the U.K. and some kind person put the pilot on YouTube.
Runners up: Britannia High (not digging an English HSM, but if there’s a British show I can get my ten-year-old cousin stoked for, this is it), Apparitions (much like my old favorite Strange), and The 39 Steps (my pet spy story meets my pet Hitchcock movie meets my pet actor Rupert Penry-Jones).
Now tell me, what British shows are you dying to see? Criminal Justice with Ben Wishaw? Burn Up with Penry-Jones? Marple: A Pocket Full of Rye with Macfadyen?
And here’s your Bits and Bobs Calendar for the week:
Monday (Sept. 8th): Keira Knightley guests on CBS’ Letterman at 11:35pm. Sophia Myles visits Craig Ferguson to promote Mister Foe at 12:35am on CBS.
Tuesday: To The Manor Born: The Complete Series premieres on DVD. Paul Weller performs on Letterman.
Wednesday: This week’s Must Listen: BBC Radio 4 airs a special one-off radio broadcast of Torchwood. At 9pm, BBC America plays the all-star comedic charity show The Secret Policeman’s Ball.
Thursday: Leona Lewis performs on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (check local listings).
Friday: At 11:35pm, Ricky Gervais talks to Letterman about Ghost Town and hopefully Karl Pilkington (who has a new book!). Download the free clip advertising their upcoming podcast here. Hugh Laurie hits the The Tonight Show.
Saturday: At 7pm, the Daleks take Manhattan in a rerun of a season three 1930s NYC-set Doctor Who (followed by the Primeval season finale at 9) on BBC America.
Sunday: Mystery! reairs Ruby in the Smoke, starring Billie Piper as Philip Pullman’s orphan/sleuth Sally Lockhart at 9pm.