40 Years of Masterpiece on PBS: A Look Back & Ahead

2011 marked the 40th anniversary of Masterpiece on PBS and I couldn’t let the year pass without making note of the show’s accomplishments and sharing some highlights from their current schedule. After 40 long and impressive years Masterpiece is better than ever and if you’re not watching you’re missing some of the most thoughtful, well-written and wonderfully acted programs on television. I also happen to think that some of the shows currently airing on Masterpiece are more interesting and entertaining than anything you’ll find playing at your local multiplex.

Masterpiece premiered on PBS in 1971 as Masterpiece Theatre. The show was hosted by Alistair Cooke and was recognized for its adaptations of classic novels and biographies. Throughout the shows long history Masterpiece Theatre has been rewarded with numerous Emmys and Peabody Awards for the critically acclaimed programs they’ve aired such as Elizabeth R starring Glenda Jackson as the British Queen, an adaptation of Vanity Fair with Susan Hampshire playing the cunning social-climbing anti-heroine Becky Sharp and I, Claudius, which featured a remarkable performance from Derek Jacobi as the stammering Roman Emperor. One of Masterpiece Theatre‘s most popular and longest running series was Upstairs, Downstairs, which depicted the class struggles and personal stories of a wealthy “Upstairs” family and the “Downstairs” servants who work in the large Edwardian house they all shared in London. And Prime Suspect, featuring the Academy Award winning actress Helen Mirren, became one of the most highly regarded programs that Masterpiece Theatre has ever aired.

Nine years after the premiere of Masterpiece Theatre, the show gained a ‘sister series’ called Mystery! that featured adaptations of British crime fiction and detective stories. Mystery! premiered in 1980 and was hosted by Gene Shalit who was soon replaced by the late great Vincent Price. Some of the most popular shows on Mystery! included Rumpole of the Bailey with Leo McKern, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes starring Jeremy Brett and the Inspector Morse series featuring John Thaw as the aging Inspector Morse and Kevin Whately as Sergeant Lewis. The program has also had a lot of success with their long-running adaptations of Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries.

In 2008 Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! merged into one all-inclusive program simply called Masterpiece but with three individual brands; Masterpiece Classic, Masterpiece Mystery! and the newly spawned Masterpiece Contemporary. The show’s current hosts are actress Laura Linney along with fellow actors Alan Cumming and David Tennant. Producers hoped that the name change and facelift might attract a younger and fresher audience. It’s no small coincidence that it’s become somewhat commonplace for shortsighted film critics to use the term “Masterpiece Theater” as an insult when reviewing British films. Apparently in some circles well-acted adaptations of classic literature and crime fiction are worthy of scorn. The view seems to be that Masterpiece Theater was stuffy, stilted and barely watchable but nothing could be further from the truth. A good story never goes out of fashion and although Masterpiece still intends to revisit longstanding literary favorites, the program is also taking some surprising chances and breaking new ground. Don’t believe me? Here’s some examples of the best shows currently airing on Masterpiece as well as a look ahead at highly anticipated new programs scheduled to air in 2012.

Downton Abbey is a British period drama created by screenwriter, Julian Fellowes. Fellows is probably best known to American audiences for his work on two Oscar-winning films, Robert Altman’s GOSFORD PARK (2001) and Jean-Marc Vallée’s THE YOUNG VICTORIA (2009). The series focuses on an aristocratic family and their servants as they navigate the quickly changing modern world while the Great War of 1914 fast approaches threatening to change all of their lives forever. The cast, which includes Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonnevilleis and Jim Carter is exceptional and the writing is particularly smart. If you appreciated Upstairs, Downstairs and Fellowes’ previous writting for GOSFORD PARK or happen to enjoy the work of British authors like Evelyn Waugh you’ll undoubtedly find Downton Abbey as engaging as I do. The first series aired on Masterpiece last year and is currently being re-shown in anticipation for the new series, which starts next month on Jan. 8th and runs through Feb 19th. You can also currently watch episodes of the first Downton Abbey series online at the Masterpiece PBS site.

Sherlock Holmes seems to be everywhere these days but the most interesting modern interpretation of the character can currently be seen on Masterpiece Mystery! in the aptly named new series, Sherlock. Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Sherlock Holmes as a quick-thinking, arrogant outsider with an obsessive compulsion to solve crimes. Martin Freeman plays Holmes sidekick, the amicable Dr. Watson, an Afghanistan war vet struggling to cope with the after effects of the war while losing himself in the world of amateur sleuthing. The scripts are based on updated versions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes stories told with a modern twist and they make great use of current technologies and scientific advances. Sherlock is exciting, fresh and just plain entertaining but it’s also brilliantly acted by its two leads. Mark my words, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are two actors destined for even bigger things in the near future including roles in Peter Jackson’s upcoming adaptation of THE HOBBIT (2012). In January Masterpiece will be re-showing the first episodes of Sherlock in anticipation of season two, which will air later in the year. You can also currently watch it on Netflix.

Next year Masterpiece is going to be focusing a lot of their attention on classic works by Charles Dickens. Besides an encore presentation of The Old Curiosity Shop starring Masterpiece favorite, Derek Jacobi, they’ll also be airing new adaptations of Great Expectations and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Great Expectations will debut on Masterpiece in April of 2012 and the award-winning actress Gillian Anderson will be playing Miss Havisham along with Ray Winstone as Magwitch, David Suchet as Mr. Jaggers and a young up-and-coming actor by the name of Douglas Booth stars as Pip. It’s directed by Brian Kirk who’s worked on many well-received shows including Luther, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones. Great Expectations debuted in Britain during the Christmas holiday and seems to be getting good reviews. Hopefully it will meet my own expectations once I get the chance to see it but word of mouth has been very positive.

Endeavour promises to be a real treat for fans of Masterpiece’s Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis series. This new Masterpiece Mystery! program will depict the early crime solving years of young Inspector Morse, which took place in Oxford during the swinging sixties. Of course, Morse isn’t exactly the hippest cat in town but the new series promises to delve a little deeper into his background so we’ll get to know more about Morse’s penchant for classical music and classic cars. It was written by Russell Lewis (frequent scriptwriter for Inspector Lewis) and it will debut on the 25th anniversary of the original series. Young Morse is played by Shaun Evans, another up-and-coming British actor who also appeared in the popular Masterpiece program, Young Victoria. And one of his costars is Abigail Thaw, daughter of actor John Thaw, who originally portrayed Inspector Morse. I suspect that comparisons will be made between Endeavour and other period dramas like The Hour and Mad Men but the shows unique history should add another dimension to this highly anticipated new production. Endeavour debuts in Britain early next month and hopefully Masterpiece will air it in the US soon afterward. You can catch up with the original episodes of Inspector Morse on DVD and episodes of Inspector Lewis can currently be streamed on Netflix.

Wallander is based on a series of existentialist crime novels written by Swedish author Henning Mankell. This powerful, hard-hitting and emotionally draining drama is shot on location in Sweden and it’s one of the best looking shows that Masterpiece has ever run thanks to some impressive photography by the Oscar-winning cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle and Igor Martinovic. The look and feel of Wallander is absolutely captivating but the show seems to resonate with viewers thanks to Kenneth Branagh’s sensitive portrayal of detective Kurt Wallander. I’ve always liked Kenneth Branagh but he hasn’t appeared in anything I’ve been particular impressed with in years until I saw him in Wallander. The role of a world-weary detective struggling with his personal demons and various family crisis while trying to solve complicated crimes seems particularly well-suited for Branagh and he gives it his all. Wallander is not easy viewing but that’s what makes it so special. It’s compelling adult programming and I hope Masterpiece will continue to run modern shows like Wallander that challenge viewer expectations and break new ground. This award worthy series is now in its third season and new episodes should be making their debut on Masterpiece next year. In the meantime you can catch up with Wallander on DVD or view it instantly online at Amazon.

Did I forget to mention a Masterpiece series that you’re particularly fond of? Are you looking forward to any of the new and upcoming Masterpiece programs that I failed to mention? Please feel free to share your own viewing suggestions below and join me in wishing Masterpiece a very happy 40th birthday!

More about Masterpiece and their upcoming programs can be found on the official PBS site: Masterpiece : PBS

114 Responses 40 Years of Masterpiece on PBS: A Look Back & Ahead
Posted By Jenni : December 29, 2011 10:28 am

Oh thanks for writing about Masterpiece Theatre. I started to watch the programs regularly while I was in college, and haven’t stopped. I am looking forward to Downton Abbey’s return, a relative is too, and she shared with me it’s Jan. 8th air date. I was fortunate to see IClaudius when the pbs affiliate in SC where I was living at the time, decided to reshow it. Wow, was that a tour de force, not just by Jacobi, but John Hurt, too, as the crazy Caligula!! All of the shows, for the most part, are quality productions through and through. My favorites are their adaptations of classic literature. They presented Bleak House a couple of years ago that was excellent, and it also starred Gillian Anderson.

Posted By Jenni : December 29, 2011 10:28 am

Oh thanks for writing about Masterpiece Theatre. I started to watch the programs regularly while I was in college, and haven’t stopped. I am looking forward to Downton Abbey’s return, a relative is too, and she shared with me it’s Jan. 8th air date. I was fortunate to see IClaudius when the pbs affiliate in SC where I was living at the time, decided to reshow it. Wow, was that a tour de force, not just by Jacobi, but John Hurt, too, as the crazy Caligula!! All of the shows, for the most part, are quality productions through and through. My favorites are their adaptations of classic literature. They presented Bleak House a couple of years ago that was excellent, and it also starred Gillian Anderson.

Posted By dukeroberts : December 29, 2011 10:37 am

My mom and middle sister watch a lot of these shows. I have only really cared for a few over the years. I very much enjoyed Mystery!’s Jeremy Brett portrayed Sherlock Holmes series in the 80′s and also Partners in Crime, the adventures of married sleuths Tuppence and Tommy. I have taken a liking to the new Sherlock series. It is faithful to canon in a modern way, but also fresh and unlike any other Sherlock Holmes before it. It also beats the pants off of the hyper-kinetic Robert Downey Jr movies (which I am no fan of). I look forward to the new episodes. I have been tempted by Luther and Wallander and may someday give them a chance. One thing I can’t get past though, is the Brits’ insistence on calling seasons “series”. Stop it, Brits!

Posted By dukeroberts : December 29, 2011 10:37 am

My mom and middle sister watch a lot of these shows. I have only really cared for a few over the years. I very much enjoyed Mystery!’s Jeremy Brett portrayed Sherlock Holmes series in the 80′s and also Partners in Crime, the adventures of married sleuths Tuppence and Tommy. I have taken a liking to the new Sherlock series. It is faithful to canon in a modern way, but also fresh and unlike any other Sherlock Holmes before it. It also beats the pants off of the hyper-kinetic Robert Downey Jr movies (which I am no fan of). I look forward to the new episodes. I have been tempted by Luther and Wallander and may someday give them a chance. One thing I can’t get past though, is the Brits’ insistence on calling seasons “series”. Stop it, Brits!

Posted By JackFavell : December 29, 2011 11:28 am

The original Forsyte Saga (1967) is, for me, the most brilliant adaptation that Masterpiece Theatre has ever run. This is the series that initially made the show wildly popular. Incredible, subtle performances, camera work and direction that boggles the imagination, and a script that combines class critique and amazing character development with equal aplomb. It should be mentioned every time Masterpiece Theatre is brought up.

Posted By JackFavell : December 29, 2011 11:28 am

The original Forsyte Saga (1967) is, for me, the most brilliant adaptation that Masterpiece Theatre has ever run. This is the series that initially made the show wildly popular. Incredible, subtle performances, camera work and direction that boggles the imagination, and a script that combines class critique and amazing character development with equal aplomb. It should be mentioned every time Masterpiece Theatre is brought up.

Posted By Pamela Porter : December 29, 2011 3:10 pm

Was “The Duchess of Duke Street” a MPT presentation? I remember it *so fondly from my teen-aged years, and have recently re-watched it. It’s as wonderful as I remembered.

Posted By Pamela Porter : December 29, 2011 3:10 pm

Was “The Duchess of Duke Street” a MPT presentation? I remember it *so fondly from my teen-aged years, and have recently re-watched it. It’s as wonderful as I remembered.

Posted By Jenni : December 29, 2011 3:59 pm

Pamela, I just found a website for Masterpiece Theatre and in it’s archive, there showed a Duchess of Duke Street 1 and 2.

Posted By Jenni : December 29, 2011 3:59 pm

Pamela, I just found a website for Masterpiece Theatre and in it’s archive, there showed a Duchess of Duke Street 1 and 2.

Posted By Pamela Porter : December 29, 2011 4:43 pm

Jenni:

Thanks! I thought as much – it was exceptionally high-quality television, and as I said, it’s held up over the years.

Posted By Pamela Porter : December 29, 2011 4:43 pm

Jenni:

Thanks! I thought as much – it was exceptionally high-quality television, and as I said, it’s held up over the years.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 6:30 pm

Thanks for all the great comments and for sharing some of your own favorite Masterpiece programs!

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 6:30 pm

Thanks for all the great comments and for sharing some of your own favorite Masterpiece programs!

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 6:31 pm

Jenni – I, Claudius is one of the first programs I remember watching on Masterpiece. I was very young and a lot of it went over my head at the time but I caught up with it again later in life and it was even better than I had imagined. And I glad you mentioned Bleak House! I really enjoyed Gillian Anderson in that too and I’m looking forward to seeing her in another Dickens production.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 6:31 pm

Jenni – I, Claudius is one of the first programs I remember watching on Masterpiece. I was very young and a lot of it went over my head at the time but I caught up with it again later in life and it was even better than I had imagined. And I glad you mentioned Bleak House! I really enjoyed Gillian Anderson in that too and I’m looking forward to seeing her in another Dickens production.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 6:37 pm

dukeroberts – The Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series is what got me hooked on Mystery! and I love the new Sherlock series. As you pointed out, it’s so much better and more interesting (and I dare I say it? Modern!) than the Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law films. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have much better chemistry and both actors really fit their roles. I hope you give Wallander & Luther a look sometime. I like both shows a lot but I’m bit of a Mystery obsessive. I can’t resist a good crime show.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 6:37 pm

dukeroberts – The Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series is what got me hooked on Mystery! and I love the new Sherlock series. As you pointed out, it’s so much better and more interesting (and I dare I say it? Modern!) than the Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law films. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have much better chemistry and both actors really fit their roles. I hope you give Wallander & Luther a look sometime. I like both shows a lot but I’m bit of a Mystery obsessive. I can’t resist a good crime show.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 6:45 pm

Jack – Thanks for mentioning The Forsyte Saga. I have yet to see it myself but I like Susan Hampshire a lot and I’ve always wanted to give it a look. I thought she was a very good Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 6:45 pm

Jack – Thanks for mentioning The Forsyte Saga. I have yet to see it myself but I like Susan Hampshire a lot and I’ve always wanted to give it a look. I thought she was a very good Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 6:49 pm

Pamela – I haven’t seen The Duchess of Duke Street but as Jenni kindly pointed out, it was shown on Masterpiece and I’m glad you brought up another worthwhile production I haven’t had a chance to see. It looks like it’s available on DVD along with highly lauded Forsyte Saga.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 6:49 pm

Pamela – I haven’t seen The Duchess of Duke Street but as Jenni kindly pointed out, it was shown on Masterpiece and I’m glad you brought up another worthwhile production I haven’t had a chance to see. It looks like it’s available on DVD along with highly lauded Forsyte Saga.

Posted By JackFavell : December 29, 2011 6:59 pm

Kimberly,

Susan Hampshire is particularly good in The Forsyte Saga, I’ve loved her ever since I first saw it when my parents were watching the show. I guess it didn’t hurt that she was also in the Disney film Thomasina at about that time! but the actor to watch is Eric Porter as Soames Forsyte. He’s absolutely amazing. The show starts out slow, but when you get into it a little bit, it’s like a novel you can’t put down.

Posted By JackFavell : December 29, 2011 6:59 pm

Kimberly,

Susan Hampshire is particularly good in The Forsyte Saga, I’ve loved her ever since I first saw it when my parents were watching the show. I guess it didn’t hurt that she was also in the Disney film Thomasina at about that time! but the actor to watch is Eric Porter as Soames Forsyte. He’s absolutely amazing. The show starts out slow, but when you get into it a little bit, it’s like a novel you can’t put down.

Posted By chris : December 29, 2011 7:08 pm

You forgot the great mini-series “Reilly: Ace of Spies” that was presented on Mystery as well

Posted By chris : December 29, 2011 7:08 pm

You forgot the great mini-series “Reilly: Ace of Spies” that was presented on Mystery as well

Posted By Kingrat : December 29, 2011 8:28 pm

Sam Neill was fantastic as REILLY: ACE OF SPIES, about the real-life model for James Bond. Gemma Jones was outstanding as TH DUCHESS OF DUKE STREET. She also starred with the great Pauline Jameson in a sublime adaptation of Henry James’ THE SPOILS OF POYNTON. THE GOLDEN BOWL was another splendid James adaptation, and Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s SUNSET SONG was unforgettable. The BBC adaptation of Dostoevsky’s THE POSSESSED is a gold standard for turning a great novel into a great TV mini-series.

Another much-loved series was FLAMBARDS, which combined fox-hunting and WWI flying aces. Some of us can still hum the title music. If any of these are available, do not hesitate to grab them.

Posted By Kingrat : December 29, 2011 8:28 pm

Sam Neill was fantastic as REILLY: ACE OF SPIES, about the real-life model for James Bond. Gemma Jones was outstanding as TH DUCHESS OF DUKE STREET. She also starred with the great Pauline Jameson in a sublime adaptation of Henry James’ THE SPOILS OF POYNTON. THE GOLDEN BOWL was another splendid James adaptation, and Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s SUNSET SONG was unforgettable. The BBC adaptation of Dostoevsky’s THE POSSESSED is a gold standard for turning a great novel into a great TV mini-series.

Another much-loved series was FLAMBARDS, which combined fox-hunting and WWI flying aces. Some of us can still hum the title music. If any of these are available, do not hesitate to grab them.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 8:58 pm

Jack – You’ve got me eager to see The Forsyte Saga now. I’ve added it to my Netflix queue. By the way, I noticed that there was a second BBC series that played on Masterpiece not too long ago. What did you think of the remake?

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 8:58 pm

Jack – You’ve got me eager to see The Forsyte Saga now. I’ve added it to my Netflix queue. By the way, I noticed that there was a second BBC series that played on Masterpiece not too long ago. What did you think of the remake?

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 9:07 pm

chris & Kinrat – I didn’t forget to mention Reilly: Ace of Spades I’m afraid it’s just one of many Masterpiece series that I haven’t seen yet. But you’ve both piqued my curiosity! I’ll be adding it to my Netflix queue as well. And thanks for mentioning the Masterpiece Henry James adaptations. I saw The Golden Bowl on video and really enjoyed it. It even starred one of my favorite actresses, Gayle Hunnicutt.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 29, 2011 9:07 pm

chris & Kinrat – I didn’t forget to mention Reilly: Ace of Spades I’m afraid it’s just one of many Masterpiece series that I haven’t seen yet. But you’ve both piqued my curiosity! I’ll be adding it to my Netflix queue as well. And thanks for mentioning the Masterpiece Henry James adaptations. I saw The Golden Bowl on video and really enjoyed it. It even starred one of my favorite actresses, Gayle Hunnicutt.

Posted By JackFavell : December 29, 2011 9:14 pm

I thought the newer Forsyte Saga was OK, not nearly as good as the original, but they didn’t have as many episodes in which to get their point across. It was almost like the Cliff Notes version, a good story but no depth. Damian Lewis of Band of Brothers was Soames in the new version and was quite good, he gave Eric Porter a run for his money.

I honestly don’t think any remake could be as good as the original, it caught all of the nuance of Galsworthy’s books and especially the critical viewpoint of the British upper classes.

Kingrat – I can’t believe someone else remembers Flambards…. I’m whistling the main tune as I am typing!

I’ve recently been re-watching Love for Lydia, with a very young Jeremy Irons, first shown on MPT. It’s better now than when I first saw it. Jewel in the Crown, House of Cards, Wives and Daughters and Poldark also come to mind.

Posted By JackFavell : December 29, 2011 9:14 pm

I thought the newer Forsyte Saga was OK, not nearly as good as the original, but they didn’t have as many episodes in which to get their point across. It was almost like the Cliff Notes version, a good story but no depth. Damian Lewis of Band of Brothers was Soames in the new version and was quite good, he gave Eric Porter a run for his money.

I honestly don’t think any remake could be as good as the original, it caught all of the nuance of Galsworthy’s books and especially the critical viewpoint of the British upper classes.

Kingrat – I can’t believe someone else remembers Flambards…. I’m whistling the main tune as I am typing!

I’ve recently been re-watching Love for Lydia, with a very young Jeremy Irons, first shown on MPT. It’s better now than when I first saw it. Jewel in the Crown, House of Cards, Wives and Daughters and Poldark also come to mind.

Posted By Jenni : December 29, 2011 10:08 pm

Oh, House of Cards was an excellent one. It was so good, gave a great behind the scenes look at Francis Urqhart, the Chief Whip of the Conservative Party of the British Parliament( similar to the U.S. Senate Majority Leader in power)and how he would stop at nothing to be the next Prime Minister. Urqhart could be so unctious and polite to his friends and foes, but behind their backs, he was diabolical. Played with great verve by Ian Richardson. Diane Fletcher portrayed the enabling Lady MacBeth type wife of Urqhart, and Susannah Harker played Mattie Storn, a reporter sent to do a story about Urqhart, but I won’t say any more as I don’t want to spoil the fun of watching it. It was so well received by british tv viewers that a sequel was made, called To Play the King.

Posted By Jenni : December 29, 2011 10:08 pm

Oh, House of Cards was an excellent one. It was so good, gave a great behind the scenes look at Francis Urqhart, the Chief Whip of the Conservative Party of the British Parliament( similar to the U.S. Senate Majority Leader in power)and how he would stop at nothing to be the next Prime Minister. Urqhart could be so unctious and polite to his friends and foes, but behind their backs, he was diabolical. Played with great verve by Ian Richardson. Diane Fletcher portrayed the enabling Lady MacBeth type wife of Urqhart, and Susannah Harker played Mattie Storn, a reporter sent to do a story about Urqhart, but I won’t say any more as I don’t want to spoil the fun of watching it. It was so well received by british tv viewers that a sequel was made, called To Play the King.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 30, 2011 1:09 am

Laura and I adore Inspector Morse, so much so that we cannot re-watch the final episode because it’s too painful. John Thaw was a great, great actor and it’s a shame he went so soon.

Point is, I’m very – veeeeery – reluctant about this new show, Endeavor. I love the setting and period but I’ll keep thinking, “He’s no Thaw.” I kind of wish they were just doing the series with an original character, rather than a young Morse. But, of course, regardless, I’ll watch it and may be immediately swayed. You never know.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 30, 2011 1:09 am

Laura and I adore Inspector Morse, so much so that we cannot re-watch the final episode because it’s too painful. John Thaw was a great, great actor and it’s a shame he went so soon.

Point is, I’m very – veeeeery – reluctant about this new show, Endeavor. I love the setting and period but I’ll keep thinking, “He’s no Thaw.” I kind of wish they were just doing the series with an original character, rather than a young Morse. But, of course, regardless, I’ll watch it and may be immediately swayed. You never know.

Posted By dukeroberts : December 30, 2011 7:48 am

I’m getting tired of prequels and origin tales of long established products.

Posted By dukeroberts : December 30, 2011 7:48 am

I’m getting tired of prequels and origin tales of long established products.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 30, 2011 9:49 am

duke, I think they’re fine as a kind of “one and done” deal where there is a single movie or special about the beginning. For instance, the opening of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was kind of fun because it was so brief and just gave us wink/nudge details about his boyhood. Which makes sense since it’s the adult he grows into that’s interesting. But the “Young Indiana Jones” series turned young Indy into the whole deal and fell flat.

So, with “Endeavor” I’d have probably enjoyed an episode of “Morse” where they flashed back to his youthful days to give us a kind of “isn’t it so cool to see him like this” moment while still staying focused on the present day character. That’s why I’d love to see a show like “Endeavor” only about someone else. Maybe I’ll just pretend it’s not the same Endeavor Morse when I watch it which, of course, I will, if only for the period setting.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 30, 2011 9:49 am

duke, I think they’re fine as a kind of “one and done” deal where there is a single movie or special about the beginning. For instance, the opening of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was kind of fun because it was so brief and just gave us wink/nudge details about his boyhood. Which makes sense since it’s the adult he grows into that’s interesting. But the “Young Indiana Jones” series turned young Indy into the whole deal and fell flat.

So, with “Endeavor” I’d have probably enjoyed an episode of “Morse” where they flashed back to his youthful days to give us a kind of “isn’t it so cool to see him like this” moment while still staying focused on the present day character. That’s why I’d love to see a show like “Endeavor” only about someone else. Maybe I’ll just pretend it’s not the same Endeavor Morse when I watch it which, of course, I will, if only for the period setting.

Posted By Pamela Porter : December 30, 2011 10:00 am

Another outstanding one I believe was a MPT presentation was “Flickers” – about the dawn of movies in Britain. It starred Bob Hoskins & Frances de la Tour of “Rising Damp”.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081864/

Pamela

Posted By Pamela Porter : December 30, 2011 10:00 am

Another outstanding one I believe was a MPT presentation was “Flickers” – about the dawn of movies in Britain. It starred Bob Hoskins & Frances de la Tour of “Rising Damp”.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081864/

Pamela

Posted By Lamar : December 30, 2011 11:09 am

“Tom Brown’s Schooldays” from 1973 (1971 UK) won Emmys for best limited series and the kid who played Tom Brown. I got it on DVD a few years back and it was just as good as I remembered, very good indeed.

Posted By Lamar : December 30, 2011 11:09 am

“Tom Brown’s Schooldays” from 1973 (1971 UK) won Emmys for best limited series and the kid who played Tom Brown. I got it on DVD a few years back and it was just as good as I remembered, very good indeed.

Posted By swac : December 30, 2011 12:37 pm

Even though I have the complete Sherlock Holmes series on DVD, I don’t want to dispose of my old VHS off-air MYSTERY copies because of the Vincent Price intros. I should just digitize them and be done with it. The Edward Gorey animated intro was also a lovely touch, perfectly suited to the program.

I was fascinated by REILLY: ACE OF SPIES when it first aired, and lucked into a copy of the series on DVD in a bargain bin not too long ago, so I look forward to reliving it. Another Mystery offering that I remember fondly, especially with the intros by Price’s successor Dame Diana Rigg, is DARK ANGEL, the adaptation of Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas, with a suitably creepy Peter O’Toole in the title role. I have a VHS pre-record of this one, haven’t found it in any other format since. There are a few earlier versions of Uncle Silas, including a 1947 film starring Jean Simmons, but I haven’t had the luck to see those yet.

Posted By swac : December 30, 2011 12:37 pm

Even though I have the complete Sherlock Holmes series on DVD, I don’t want to dispose of my old VHS off-air MYSTERY copies because of the Vincent Price intros. I should just digitize them and be done with it. The Edward Gorey animated intro was also a lovely touch, perfectly suited to the program.

I was fascinated by REILLY: ACE OF SPIES when it first aired, and lucked into a copy of the series on DVD in a bargain bin not too long ago, so I look forward to reliving it. Another Mystery offering that I remember fondly, especially with the intros by Price’s successor Dame Diana Rigg, is DARK ANGEL, the adaptation of Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas, with a suitably creepy Peter O’Toole in the title role. I have a VHS pre-record of this one, haven’t found it in any other format since. There are a few earlier versions of Uncle Silas, including a 1947 film starring Jean Simmons, but I haven’t had the luck to see those yet.

Posted By swac : December 30, 2011 1:02 pm

Here’s more MYSTERY fun: a pledge drive appeal by Vincent Price (with a cameo by his wife, Coral Browne). Its style might ring a few bells.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lspc6rPI8Gk

Posted By swac : December 30, 2011 1:02 pm

Here’s more MYSTERY fun: a pledge drive appeal by Vincent Price (with a cameo by his wife, Coral Browne). Its style might ring a few bells.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lspc6rPI8Gk

Posted By Ugly Bug : December 30, 2011 2:22 pm

One of my favorite Masterpiece productions was Precious Bane with Janet McTeer, and it’s never been repeated or released on DVD. So sad!

This year,I enjoyed Rufus Sewell in the Aurelio Zen series and Jason Isaacs as Jackson Brodie. I actually like the Inspector Lewis mysteries even more than Inspector Morse, but the change in the more recent series to ridiculous body counts has me alarmed.

I have to add that I hate the practice of airing severely edited versions of productions like Downton Abbey on Masterpiece, especially since they don’t warn viewers.

Posted By Ugly Bug : December 30, 2011 2:22 pm

One of my favorite Masterpiece productions was Precious Bane with Janet McTeer, and it’s never been repeated or released on DVD. So sad!

This year,I enjoyed Rufus Sewell in the Aurelio Zen series and Jason Isaacs as Jackson Brodie. I actually like the Inspector Lewis mysteries even more than Inspector Morse, but the change in the more recent series to ridiculous body counts has me alarmed.

I have to add that I hate the practice of airing severely edited versions of productions like Downton Abbey on Masterpiece, especially since they don’t warn viewers.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 3:57 pm

Jenni – House of Cards was very, very good. I’m glad you mentioned it. And in case anyone wants to see it it’s currently available on Netflix instant watch.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 3:57 pm

Jenni – House of Cards was very, very good. I’m glad you mentioned it. And in case anyone wants to see it it’s currently available on Netflix instant watch.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 3:58 pm

Greg – I loved Morse as well and I’m even more fond of Lewis but I like the idea of seeing an early Morse at Oxford in the ’60s. I think my high expectations are bolstered by the fact that I’ve read that Colin Dexter (original Morse series writer) had wanted to explore Morse’s background (Dexter even makes a cameo in the new production, which I forgot to mention above). And I love Lewis scriptwriter Russell Lewis so there’s that too as well as Abigail Thaw (daughter of John Thaw) being involved, which intrigues me. Of course it could turn out to be a big dud but because it’s Masterpiece, I suspect that I’ll enjoy it.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 3:58 pm

Greg – I loved Morse as well and I’m even more fond of Lewis but I like the idea of seeing an early Morse at Oxford in the ’60s. I think my high expectations are bolstered by the fact that I’ve read that Colin Dexter (original Morse series writer) had wanted to explore Morse’s background (Dexter even makes a cameo in the new production, which I forgot to mention above). And I love Lewis scriptwriter Russell Lewis so there’s that too as well as Abigail Thaw (daughter of John Thaw) being involved, which intrigues me. Of course it could turn out to be a big dud but because it’s Masterpiece, I suspect that I’ll enjoy it.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 4:00 pm

Pamela – Thanks for mentioning Flickers. I haven’t seen that and now I’m eager too! I adore Bob Hoskins.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 4:00 pm

Pamela – Thanks for mentioning Flickers. I haven’t seen that and now I’m eager too! I adore Bob Hoskins.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 4:17 pm

Lanar – I’m fond of the 1940 film adaptation of Tom Brown’s Schooldays and the 1951 isn’t too bad either but I haven’t seen any of the television productions. I’ll have to look into those more.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 4:17 pm

Lanar – I’m fond of the 1940 film adaptation of Tom Brown’s Schooldays and the 1951 isn’t too bad either but I haven’t seen any of the television productions. I’ll have to look into those more.

Posted By toplessdriver : December 30, 2011 4:26 pm

I am currently in the UK. Just finished watching Great Expectations last night and it was very well done with “Agent Scully” as Mrs Haversham – surprisingly, she is very good. Additionally, on New Year’s Day at 8:10pm on BBC1, the new episode of Sherlock called “A Scandal in Belgravia” will be broadcasted…at last! I love this modern twist on Sherlock. Two highly anticipated shows that will all hopefully come to Masterpiece this 2012. All worth the wait.

Posted By toplessdriver : December 30, 2011 4:26 pm

I am currently in the UK. Just finished watching Great Expectations last night and it was very well done with “Agent Scully” as Mrs Haversham – surprisingly, she is very good. Additionally, on New Year’s Day at 8:10pm on BBC1, the new episode of Sherlock called “A Scandal in Belgravia” will be broadcasted…at last! I love this modern twist on Sherlock. Two highly anticipated shows that will all hopefully come to Masterpiece this 2012. All worth the wait.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 4:29 pm

swac – I’m so glad you brought up Dark Angel. I’ve never seen it but I’d really like to. One of my favorite actresses, Barbara Shelley, is also in it. The 1947 film of Uncle Silas recently played on TCM and I tried recording it but something went wrong so I missed it and I’m just hoping it airs again soon. I’m eager to see that as well. And thanks for posting that video! I loved the Vincent Price introduction to Mystery! and the Gorey animations have always been wonderful.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 4:29 pm

swac – I’m so glad you brought up Dark Angel. I’ve never seen it but I’d really like to. One of my favorite actresses, Barbara Shelley, is also in it. The 1947 film of Uncle Silas recently played on TCM and I tried recording it but something went wrong so I missed it and I’m just hoping it airs again soon. I’m eager to see that as well. And thanks for posting that video! I loved the Vincent Price introduction to Mystery! and the Gorey animations have always been wonderful.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 4:46 pm

Ugly Bug – I haven’t seen Precious Bane but I really enjoyed Zen. It was one of the best things Masterpiece aired last year. The show was cancelled but the series star (actor Rufus Sewell) has been trying to get it renewed and I hope he succeeds. I’d love to see more episodes of Zen.

As for edits to shows like Downton Abbey, Inspector Lewis, Sherlock, etc. I wouldn’t exactly call them “severe” but they do have to snip a few minutes here and there to make them fit into the US time slot. I really wish they didn’t have to do it either but when the shows are released on DVD they’re (as far as I know) in tact.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 4:46 pm

Ugly Bug – I haven’t seen Precious Bane but I really enjoyed Zen. It was one of the best things Masterpiece aired last year. The show was cancelled but the series star (actor Rufus Sewell) has been trying to get it renewed and I hope he succeeds. I’d love to see more episodes of Zen.

As for edits to shows like Downton Abbey, Inspector Lewis, Sherlock, etc. I wouldn’t exactly call them “severe” but they do have to snip a few minutes here and there to make them fit into the US time slot. I really wish they didn’t have to do it either but when the shows are released on DVD they’re (as far as I know) in tact.

Posted By Ugly Bug : December 30, 2011 5:53 pm

I haven’t had a chance to watch Downton Abbey on DVD, but I read that 2 hours out of 8 were cut from the US broadcast. I’d call that severe, but I’d be delighted to learn that this information is inaccurate.

I sure hope Rufus Sewell can get Zen renewed, too!

Posted By Ugly Bug : December 30, 2011 5:53 pm

I haven’t had a chance to watch Downton Abbey on DVD, but I read that 2 hours out of 8 were cut from the US broadcast. I’d call that severe, but I’d be delighted to learn that this information is inaccurate.

I sure hope Rufus Sewell can get Zen renewed, too!

Posted By Ugly Bug : December 30, 2011 5:56 pm

Actually, when you do the math, which I have just done, it couldn’t have been 2 hours lopped off of Downton Abbey. What I read was obviously wrong.

Posted By Ugly Bug : December 30, 2011 5:56 pm

Actually, when you do the math, which I have just done, it couldn’t have been 2 hours lopped off of Downton Abbey. What I read was obviously wrong.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 30, 2011 6:42 pm

(Dexter even makes a cameo in the new production, which I forgot to mention above).

Kimberly – I don’t know if you knew this but Dexter has a cameo in every single Morse. If you check IMDB, each plot description tells when he shows up.

I didn’t know you were a fan of Morse and Lewis as well, before this post. What great characters! I’ll definitely watch the new show as well. I hope it’s good.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 30, 2011 6:42 pm

(Dexter even makes a cameo in the new production, which I forgot to mention above).

Kimberly – I don’t know if you knew this but Dexter has a cameo in every single Morse. If you check IMDB, each plot description tells when he shows up.

I didn’t know you were a fan of Morse and Lewis as well, before this post. What great characters! I’ll definitely watch the new show as well. I hope it’s good.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 6:57 pm

Ugly Bug – Not sure where you read that 2 hours were cut from Downton Abey but as you said, that’s impossible and just not true. They do minor cuts on a lot of shows but they’re usually not too severe although sometimes they can be annoying. If you really like a show it’s probably best to rewatch on DVD.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 6:57 pm

Ugly Bug – Not sure where you read that 2 hours were cut from Downton Abey but as you said, that’s impossible and just not true. They do minor cuts on a lot of shows but they’re usually not too severe although sometimes they can be annoying. If you really like a show it’s probably best to rewatch on DVD.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 7:08 pm

Greg – I didn’t know he was in every episode but I know Dexter’s appeared in episodes of Morse as well as Lewis. I figured fans would enjoy looking for him in Endeavour as well.

Yep, I’m a bit of Lewis obsessive I suppose. I love that show so much! It’s supposed to come back for another season next year and I’m really looking forward to that. I thought about writing something more about Lewis for this post but I didn’t want Morse/Lewis to take over the thread. But they are great characters! Really well written and fleshed out by terrific actors. And I will confess right now that I’ve got a huge crush on Laurence Fox who’s the son of one of my favorite actors, James Fox. What can I say? We film fans tend to get a little obsessive about our “likes.”

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 30, 2011 7:08 pm

Greg – I didn’t know he was in every episode but I know Dexter’s appeared in episodes of Morse as well as Lewis. I figured fans would enjoy looking for him in Endeavour as well.

Yep, I’m a bit of Lewis obsessive I suppose. I love that show so much! It’s supposed to come back for another season next year and I’m really looking forward to that. I thought about writing something more about Lewis for this post but I didn’t want Morse/Lewis to take over the thread. But they are great characters! Really well written and fleshed out by terrific actors. And I will confess right now that I’ve got a huge crush on Laurence Fox who’s the son of one of my favorite actors, James Fox. What can I say? We film fans tend to get a little obsessive about our “likes.”

Posted By Ugly Bug : December 30, 2011 9:06 pm

I got fooled by a piece in the Daily Mail. Apparently a lot of folks got upset with me: http://www.televisionaryblog.com/2011/01/in-defense-of-downton-abbey-or-dont.html.

Oh, please, write more about Laurence Fox! He’s the main reason I watch Inspector Lewis. He deserves a whole post, and we’ll obsess right along with you.

Posted By Ugly Bug : December 30, 2011 9:06 pm

I got fooled by a piece in the Daily Mail. Apparently a lot of folks got upset with me: http://www.televisionaryblog.com/2011/01/in-defense-of-downton-abbey-or-dont.html.

Oh, please, write more about Laurence Fox! He’s the main reason I watch Inspector Lewis. He deserves a whole post, and we’ll obsess right along with you.

Posted By claude shadrick : December 30, 2011 9:10 pm

While most other Residents watched the perils of Luke & Laura on ALL MY CHILDREN, some of Us preferred to gather around a black&white portable t.v. (using rabbit ears) in a Missouri state college dormitory, to watch Masterpiece”s Theatre’s riveting telecast of “REBECCA”, starring Jeremy Brett. That production is listed in M.T.’s archives, but, otherwise unavailable.
Thank You much, for sharing Missouri-born Vincent Price’s plug for PBS.
DO NOT,I PRAY YOU, alter those original pbs VHS TAPES. They are akin to a rare old book. Better to make profit selling Them to an appreciative Individual who will purchase the tapes,”as is”.

Posted By claude shadrick : December 30, 2011 9:10 pm

While most other Residents watched the perils of Luke & Laura on ALL MY CHILDREN, some of Us preferred to gather around a black&white portable t.v. (using rabbit ears) in a Missouri state college dormitory, to watch Masterpiece”s Theatre’s riveting telecast of “REBECCA”, starring Jeremy Brett. That production is listed in M.T.’s archives, but, otherwise unavailable.
Thank You much, for sharing Missouri-born Vincent Price’s plug for PBS.
DO NOT,I PRAY YOU, alter those original pbs VHS TAPES. They are akin to a rare old book. Better to make profit selling Them to an appreciative Individual who will purchase the tapes,”as is”.

Posted By dukeroberts : December 31, 2011 8:17 am

Claude- Luke & Laura were on General Hospital.

Posted By dukeroberts : December 31, 2011 8:17 am

Claude- Luke & Laura were on General Hospital.

Posted By missrhea : December 31, 2011 10:08 am

What great memories this post and comments have stirred in me. The fun thing is that much of Masterpiece programming drove me back to the original novels. I slogged through all three TRILOGIES (yes, 9 novels!) of Galsworthy’s work in high school because of seeing The Forsyte Saga. (I also read I, Claudius / Claudius the God, Rebecca, and The Raj Quartet to name a few others.) Upstairs, Downstairs was the first series I ever truly wanted on DVD but wouldn’t buy because it was just too darned expensive. I just didn’t wait long enough because it now sells for much less than what I eventually paid. But while we’re talking about PBS, let’s not forget Great Performances = their production of Dracula with Louis Jourdan drove me back to the book which I had tried to read in high school with little success.

Thanks for the memories!

Posted By missrhea : December 31, 2011 10:08 am

What great memories this post and comments have stirred in me. The fun thing is that much of Masterpiece programming drove me back to the original novels. I slogged through all three TRILOGIES (yes, 9 novels!) of Galsworthy’s work in high school because of seeing The Forsyte Saga. (I also read I, Claudius / Claudius the God, Rebecca, and The Raj Quartet to name a few others.) Upstairs, Downstairs was the first series I ever truly wanted on DVD but wouldn’t buy because it was just too darned expensive. I just didn’t wait long enough because it now sells for much less than what I eventually paid. But while we’re talking about PBS, let’s not forget Great Performances = their production of Dracula with Louis Jourdan drove me back to the book which I had tried to read in high school with little success.

Thanks for the memories!

Posted By medusamorlock : December 31, 2011 4:52 pm

Always great to see a piece giving credit to PBS, which so often these days gets forgotten as cable networks co-opt every concept Public Broadcasting pioneered — cooking shows, reality, short-form drama series, how-to, science, documentary, news — and take credit for it. Can you imagine if “Sherlock” was on HBO? The publicity and hurrahs they’d get from critics would be deafening…and yet PBS doesn’t get nearly the buzz of any of the cable nets who clearly specialize in PR above everything else (and having worked at several, I know that to be exceedingly true).

All of us who love and support PBS and its programming need to keep singing their praises. PBS is a precious resource that needs our support and we need to keep it top of mind for viewers who are looking for incredible TV entertainment!

(P.S. — “Flickers”! What a great series and what a couple of talents in Hoskins and De La Tour!)

Keep up the good work, Kimberly! And Happy New Year!

Posted By medusamorlock : December 31, 2011 4:52 pm

Always great to see a piece giving credit to PBS, which so often these days gets forgotten as cable networks co-opt every concept Public Broadcasting pioneered — cooking shows, reality, short-form drama series, how-to, science, documentary, news — and take credit for it. Can you imagine if “Sherlock” was on HBO? The publicity and hurrahs they’d get from critics would be deafening…and yet PBS doesn’t get nearly the buzz of any of the cable nets who clearly specialize in PR above everything else (and having worked at several, I know that to be exceedingly true).

All of us who love and support PBS and its programming need to keep singing their praises. PBS is a precious resource that needs our support and we need to keep it top of mind for viewers who are looking for incredible TV entertainment!

(P.S. — “Flickers”! What a great series and what a couple of talents in Hoskins and De La Tour!)

Keep up the good work, Kimberly! And Happy New Year!

Posted By Pamela Porter : December 31, 2011 6:00 pm

I think what this also reinforces is the *quality* of the material. As I mentioned, I hadn’t seen “The Duchess of Duke Street” since I was about 15. I was 19 when I saw “Flickers” (I’m 50 now). And both of those are *exactly* as I remembered them and probably even more wonderful now that I am a film fan of some seasoning.

Posted By Pamela Porter : December 31, 2011 6:00 pm

I think what this also reinforces is the *quality* of the material. As I mentioned, I hadn’t seen “The Duchess of Duke Street” since I was about 15. I was 19 when I saw “Flickers” (I’m 50 now). And both of those are *exactly* as I remembered them and probably even more wonderful now that I am a film fan of some seasoning.

Posted By claude shadrick : December 31, 2011 8:26 pm

Alex, I will not take Soap Opera History for $500. My blunder in that Topic proves that I did not watch L & L.

Dracula! I had forgotten! Mr. Jourdan more than made up for not being able to see Frank Langella perform that role on Broadway.(Langella’s subsequent movie version was mediocre).

Like Cliffs Notes, Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” as presented by Masterpiece Theatre, starring Samantha Morton, omitted huge chunks of the gothic tale.
Orson Welles portrayed, and remains, THE definitive “Rochester”.
His rendition is in a very, atmospheric, black & white production that remains unsurpassed.

Posted By claude shadrick : December 31, 2011 8:26 pm

Alex, I will not take Soap Opera History for $500. My blunder in that Topic proves that I did not watch L & L.

Dracula! I had forgotten! Mr. Jourdan more than made up for not being able to see Frank Langella perform that role on Broadway.(Langella’s subsequent movie version was mediocre).

Like Cliffs Notes, Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” as presented by Masterpiece Theatre, starring Samantha Morton, omitted huge chunks of the gothic tale.
Orson Welles portrayed, and remains, THE definitive “Rochester”.
His rendition is in a very, atmospheric, black & white production that remains unsurpassed.

Posted By Dane : December 31, 2011 9:01 pm

I’m a recent convert to British tv, so while I’ve watched MT a few times over the last 20 years, I’ve only got started paying regular attention to it over the last year.

I’m already long addicted to Sherlock and Downtown Abbey, but thanks for the heads up on Endeavor and Wallander; I’ll be looking out for them.

Posted By Dane : December 31, 2011 9:01 pm

I’m a recent convert to British tv, so while I’ve watched MT a few times over the last 20 years, I’ve only got started paying regular attention to it over the last year.

I’m already long addicted to Sherlock and Downtown Abbey, but thanks for the heads up on Endeavor and Wallander; I’ll be looking out for them.

Posted By Dane : December 31, 2011 9:01 pm

*Downton, good Lord.

Posted By Dane : December 31, 2011 9:01 pm

*Downton, good Lord.

Posted By Jenni : December 31, 2011 10:04 pm

Downtown Abbey, Oh I think that would be a hoot, as a SNL sketch!!

Posted By Jenni : December 31, 2011 10:04 pm

Downtown Abbey, Oh I think that would be a hoot, as a SNL sketch!!

Posted By Juana Maria : January 2, 2012 12:54 pm

I have enjoyed watching “Masterpiece Theatre” since I was very young. It has defintely enhanced my love of classic literature. I went out and bought “Little Dorrit” at Books-a-Million because of the 2008 version of this story. I have seen “Bleak House” a few yrs. ago with Gillian Anderson, very strong perfomance. I also saw “Great Expectations” with Ioann Gruffund. I liked it. I also wanted to saw that Jude Law was on “Sherlock Holmes”:”Shoscombe Old Place” in 1991, later he portrays Dr. Watson in Guy Richie’s movies of Sherlock Holmes. I thought that was pretty interesting. I am looking forward to more “Masterpiece Theatre” for this year. My mother and I really enjoyed “Cranford” and “Framed”, very sweet and we like little country villages. Thanks for this article.

Posted By Juana Maria : January 2, 2012 12:54 pm

I have enjoyed watching “Masterpiece Theatre” since I was very young. It has defintely enhanced my love of classic literature. I went out and bought “Little Dorrit” at Books-a-Million because of the 2008 version of this story. I have seen “Bleak House” a few yrs. ago with Gillian Anderson, very strong perfomance. I also saw “Great Expectations” with Ioann Gruffund. I liked it. I also wanted to saw that Jude Law was on “Sherlock Holmes”:”Shoscombe Old Place” in 1991, later he portrays Dr. Watson in Guy Richie’s movies of Sherlock Holmes. I thought that was pretty interesting. I am looking forward to more “Masterpiece Theatre” for this year. My mother and I really enjoyed “Cranford” and “Framed”, very sweet and we like little country villages. Thanks for this article.

Posted By Sharon Ferguson : January 2, 2012 2:15 pm

I hope MT will revisit a new “Tale of Two Cities” – this time with an appropriate budget and a scriptwriter who is much better than the one who wrote for their latest version – he exhibited a very BAD habit of only providing half the conversation. James Wilby and the rest of the cast were HORRIBLY underserved by that scriptwriter…it is still one of my favorite versions of TOTC, but would love to see what can be done now. Enough time has passed, dont you think?

Posted By Sharon Ferguson : January 2, 2012 2:15 pm

I hope MT will revisit a new “Tale of Two Cities” – this time with an appropriate budget and a scriptwriter who is much better than the one who wrote for their latest version – he exhibited a very BAD habit of only providing half the conversation. James Wilby and the rest of the cast were HORRIBLY underserved by that scriptwriter…it is still one of my favorite versions of TOTC, but would love to see what can be done now. Enough time has passed, dont you think?

Posted By John Testa : January 2, 2012 3:24 pm

I cannot believe that you did not mention ‘The First Churchills’ that set the standards for the whole Masterpiece Theater works.

Posted By John Testa : January 2, 2012 3:24 pm

I cannot believe that you did not mention ‘The First Churchills’ that set the standards for the whole Masterpiece Theater works.

Posted By missrhea : January 2, 2012 5:55 pm

Claude – the Louis Jourdan version of Dracula is available on DVD from amazon.com. It still looks pretty good.

One of my favorites from Mystery when Diana Rigg was host is “Oliver’s Travels” (1995). It’s available on DVD, too.

PBS is truly a jewel. No one has mentioned the documentaries like the set where current architects/builders/scientists try to reconstruct Stone Henge and several other things. I can’t remember the title and, so far, they aren’t available on DVD. I had them on VCR tapes.

Posted By missrhea : January 2, 2012 5:55 pm

Claude – the Louis Jourdan version of Dracula is available on DVD from amazon.com. It still looks pretty good.

One of my favorites from Mystery when Diana Rigg was host is “Oliver’s Travels” (1995). It’s available on DVD, too.

PBS is truly a jewel. No one has mentioned the documentaries like the set where current architects/builders/scientists try to reconstruct Stone Henge and several other things. I can’t remember the title and, so far, they aren’t available on DVD. I had them on VCR tapes.

Posted By Heidi : January 3, 2012 1:12 pm

Thanks for the heads up! I had no idea about Endeavour. I love the Inspector Morse series, and getting a chance to learn how he came to be the way he was is going to be most gratifying. I will say that Wallander just left me flat. I had no sympathy for the characters, and the story lines didn’t do anything for me. I can’t wait to see more of Sherlock and Downton Abbey. Overall I really eanjoy watching the Masterpiece offerings, especially the older things, but there is a great deal to entice one in the new programs as well.

Posted By Heidi : January 3, 2012 1:12 pm

Thanks for the heads up! I had no idea about Endeavour. I love the Inspector Morse series, and getting a chance to learn how he came to be the way he was is going to be most gratifying. I will say that Wallander just left me flat. I had no sympathy for the characters, and the story lines didn’t do anything for me. I can’t wait to see more of Sherlock and Downton Abbey. Overall I really eanjoy watching the Masterpiece offerings, especially the older things, but there is a great deal to entice one in the new programs as well.

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[...] MovieMorlocks.com – 40 Years of Masterpiece on PBS: A Look Back & Ahead. [...]

Posted By 40 Years of Masterpiece on PBS: A Look Back & Ahead | Louise Spiteri : January 3, 2012 4:02 pm

[...] MovieMorlocks.com – 40 Years of Masterpiece on PBS: A Look Back & Ahead. [...]

Posted By Juana Maria : January 4, 2012 5:42 pm

I too miss Diana Rigg on “Masterpiece Theatre”. However, Alan Cummings had been quite cute and amusing as announcer to the newer series. I also like Lara Liney’s introductions. Well done all around! Thanks for the article, caught my attention entirely.

Posted By Juana Maria : January 4, 2012 5:42 pm

I too miss Diana Rigg on “Masterpiece Theatre”. However, Alan Cummings had been quite cute and amusing as announcer to the newer series. I also like Lara Liney’s introductions. Well done all around! Thanks for the article, caught my attention entirely.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : January 5, 2012 5:25 pm

Thanks to everyone for continuing to share your thoughts and appreciation for Masterpiece! I’m really looking forward to the new season of Downton Abbey starting this weekend.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : January 5, 2012 5:25 pm

Thanks to everyone for continuing to share your thoughts and appreciation for Masterpiece! I’m really looking forward to the new season of Downton Abbey starting this weekend.

Posted By bluelifenarration : February 9, 2012 7:37 pm

Reblogged this on bluelifenarration and commented:
Downton Abbey and Sherlock are my favorites; can’t wait for Dickens!

Posted By bluelifenarration : February 9, 2012 7:37 pm

Reblogged this on bluelifenarration and commented:
Downton Abbey and Sherlock are my favorites; can’t wait for Dickens!

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