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Posts Tagged ‘BBC America’

Gentlefolk, start your DVRs.

Ripper Street is back with Series 3 (that’s “Season” 3, for us here in the States), airing on BBC America beginning April 29.

BBC canceled the show after its second season, citing low viewership in the UK, but when an online petition garnered over 50,000 signatures, the production company was able to reach a deal with (what is now) Amazon Prime Instant Video to fund a third season.

UK residents have already seen this third season, and reports I’ve read state that it’s the strongest, most viscerally charged season to date. The show’s creator, Richard Warlow, was more cautious about future seasons this time, and gave the end of Season 3 a sense of closure while still leaving sufficient loose threads with which to weave a Season 4, should it get picked up again. Here’s hoping on that score! (more…)

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Last year, I brought to your attention Ripper Street, the BBC  crime drama set in Whitechapel (London) in the years after the Jack the Ripper murders. Last year, the premiere season was showing on BBC America, and I was all atwitter about it.

It’s back for a second season–a good bit of news–but it’s also back in the news.

You see, Ripper Street was canceled at the end of its second season. Even The Guardian was gobsmacked by the news, calling it “Dreadful news for fans of quality drama.”

And I agree. But all is not lost.

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I watch a lot of British television–a lot for an American, that is–and not just on BBC America. I watch Masterpiece Theater, I subscribe to Acorn TV, and I even buy DVDs direct from the UK so I can see some shows not available any other way (“New Tricks” is a good example). But there’s one thing I hate about British television series: They’re too damned short.

Now that my beloved “Ripper Street” has completed its stingy 8-episode Season One, I was jonesing for a new series. I saw the ads for the new show called “Orphan Black,” but to be honest, I wasn’t going to watch. Then an advert for the opening 3-minutes popped up on my Facebook feed and I thought, why not?

In the first minutes, we meet Sara (Tatiana Maslany) at a train station somewhere near New York City. She’s a Brit, and she has serious problems. But whatever she’s up against, it’s  nothing compared to the what’s bothering that woman over there, crying at the end of the train platform. Sara goes over to the woman, and discovers that the woman looks just like her…right before the woman steps in front of the oncoming train. Sara, distraught, has a moment of panic, then a moment of clarity; she grabs the dead woman’s purse and flees the scene.

That’s the three-minute setup, and it was pretty good. Good enough, in fact, to get me to plunk it on the DVR and watch the whole episode.

Is it as good as “Ripper Street”? No. Is it better than most things on American network television? Yes.

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There’s a new television series, coming from Britain to the U.S., courtesy of BBC America. It’s called “Ripper Street” and we watched the pilot last night.

British TV has a reputation for creating series (well, some anyway) that don’t talk down to the audience. They have a reputation for high-quality productions. They have a reputation of fine actors playing complicated characters.

This show is all of those things.

What immediately makes this show unique is that it is set in London circa 1889, in the months immediately after Jack the Ripper’s killing spree. The policemen, the criminals, and the populace all have those gruesome crimes fresh in mind.

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