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The Hour


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I love almost every show BBC brings to America.. so this one is already in my DVR queue.


A six-hour thriller miniseries from Abi Morgan (“Sex Traffic,” “Tsunami: The Aftermath”) set in 1956, “The Hour” looks at the staff of a fledgling BBC newsmagazine who get involved in a murder mystery. It stars Dominic West (“The Wire”), Ben Whishaw (“Layer Cake”) and Romola Garai (2009’s “Emma”).


The critics, most of whom seem to love “The Hour,” are referencing “Mad Men” and “Broadcast News,” as well as the American broadcast networks’ upcoming “Pan Am” and “The Playboy Club.”


Hitfix says:


… winning … I don't know that "The Hour" is great drama yet (Morgan has plans for additional series if the real-life BBC is interested), but it kept me far more engrossed than pretty much any drama the broadcast networks are going to start debuting in September - including the other shows about the transformative moment when the '50s started to become the '60s. …


The New York Times says:


… among the best of the genre. … unlike the many sterile “Mad Men” knockoffs that American networks are bringing out in the fall, like “The Playboy Club” and “Pan Am,” this BBC series isn’t a pale imitation of anything else on television. … “The Hour” is so good that it seems far too short, and that makes its six-episode arc just right: Some of the most promising series, like “The Killing” on AMC, lose steam midway, slowing down too much ever to recover the initial exhilarating pace. The plot twists of “The Hour” can at times be puzzling, but the series is never dull. If only there were a few more minutes in “The Hour.”


The Los Angeles Times says:


… an expertly constructed, wonderfully acted and (to judge without having seen the ending) wholly satisfying conspiracy thriller ... What makes it so engaging is not that the series finds anything new to twist, but that it works so well with and within the strictures of the well-thumbed genres it combines in equal parts: spy thriller, murder mystery, backstage drama, triangular romance. It is fresh and yet immediately familiar, cut new to classic lines, like a Savile Row suit or a little black dress. Morgan does not shy from the obvious; rather, she makes a playground there. There are characters whose fate you know within 10 seconds, though you like them, and fear for them, no less for it. …


The Washington Post says:


… engaging yet taciturn … This particular plot thread — Freddie loves Bel who cannot help but fall for Hector, and all the while there’s a deadline to meet — tracks too close for comfort to “Broadcast News.” But all is forgiven in Episode 3, when the gang journeys out to Hector’s in-laws’ estate in the country. Here, men dress for the hunt, women dress for cocktails, a mist settles across the hills, the mystery deepens and “The Hour” finds a nostalgic sweet spot after all. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:


… stirs – slowly …


Variety says:


… an engrossing if slow-grinding mystery/soap that doesn't pack enough thrills to earn its "thriller" designation but which proves addictive nevertheless. Although U.S. networks are braving period drama, they'll be hard-pressed to match this British import's invigorating plunge into Cold War paranoia. … The series is smartly written, terrific-looking and well cast; its one drawback is that the meatiest parts of the plot unfold at such a deliberate pace. While that allows ample time to tease out relationships, halfway through the six-episode order, the audience still remains largely in the dark about what's really happening. … …


The San Francisco Chronicle says:


… a textbook example of great British television and is one of the best new fall series this year despite the fact that it doesn't quite launch in the fall. … It's so good that other shows should start looking to it as something to emulate.

The Boston Herald says:


… For those impatient for the return of “Mad Men,” “The Hour” fills that void and then some. …


The Boston Globe says:


… terrific … The performances are irresistible, particularly Whishaw, who makes the familiar character of the annoying scrappy reporter his own. He’s a pushy guy, except when it comes to love. Garai was a bouncy, appealing lead in the 2009 PBS “Masterpiece’’ adaptation of “Emma,’’ and here she is also a plus. She projects intelligence, despite Bel’s occasional bad decisions. And West is just right - never so fickle as to be weightless, and sympathetic in his strong desire to win Bel. You do want him to find happiness - but somewhere else.

The Baltimore Sun says:


If you want to see the finest new drama of the TV year, tune in BBC America at 10 p.m. Wednesday …

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