Masterpiece Theatre just released its schedule for the 2011 Classic season. Here's a look at what is coming up next year:
My Boy Jack (January 2): A re-showing of a 2008 episode, this is the story of Rudyard Kipling and his son, who is called to fight in WWI. It is moving, heartbreaking, and eye-opening. Definitely one worth seeing again. Stars David Haig, Daniel Radcliffe, Kim Catrall and Carey Mulligan.
Downton Abbey (January 9, 16, 23 & 30): Set at a beautiful country estate in the Edwardian period, Downton Abbey tells the story of a noble family facing a crisis of succession due to the sinking of the Titanic. Stars Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, and Dan Stevens.
The Unseen Alistair Cooke (February 6): This documentary chronicles the early life and work of famed Masterpiece Theatre host Alistair Cooke.
Any Human Heart (February 13, 20 & 27): Based on William Boyd's 2002 novel, this film shows us the 20th century through the eyes of a man who witnesses much of it. Stars Matthew MacFadyen, Gillian Anderson, Kim Catrall, and Hayley Atwell.
The 39 Steps (March 27): A re-showing of this year's adaptation of John Buchan's classic. A bored young man suddenly finds himself caught up in a the intrigues of an international spy ring in the days leading up to WWI. Not that great of an adaptation if you ask me, and I'll probably skip it. Stars Rupert Penry-Jones, David Haig, Eddie Marsan, and Alex Jennings.
Upstairs, Downstairs (April 10, 17 & 24): This is a remake of one of Masterpiece Theatre's most popular series ever. The story picks up in 1936, many years after the original story ended. The house remains the same but the families and servants are different. This will follow the lives of both portions of the household in the years leading up to WWII. Stars Eileen Atkins, and Keeley Hawes.
All in all, I'm not sure exactly what to think about this season. If you thought that the BBC was lying when they said they were cutting back on Victorian dramas, here is the proof that they were not. And I feel it is a bit ridiculous to show 2 masters/servants films in one season, and only 3 new adaptations over all. I guess Masterpiece is feeling the pinch of the economy as well. I must admit, however, that there are some really great actors here who should make things worth seeing. Here's to another season of great television. In the meantime, it looks like I'm going to have to Netflix the original Upstairs, Downstairs. Better get busy!
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