10 Years Later, ‘North & South’ Remains the Greatest Period-Drama Miniseries of All Time

Ten years ago tonight, the BBC premiered a four-part miniseries, North & South (not to be confused with the Patrick Swayze-starring civil war drama of the same name), adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell’s 19th-century novel of cross-class romance in the industrial North of England. The BBC didn’t harbor huge expectations for the series, coming as it did in the midst of a glorious decade of nonstop adaptations of major works by Austen, Brontë, and Dickens. But then, a few weeks later, the fourth installment of North & South ended with a tender, long-awaited kiss (now known to viewers as “The Kiss”). Immediately, so many people flooded the BBC’s online message boards that they crashed and shut down. It’s been enshrined in fangirl lore as “the infamous night that period drama fans broke (a small part of) the BBC (dot com).” … Read More

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The Best Quotes From Iggy Pop’s “Free Music in a Capitalist Society” BBC Lecture

That’s Prof Pop to you! In addition to his BBC Radio 6 DJ post over the last year, the Godfather of Punk delivered BBC Music’s annual John Peel Lecture Tuesday night (October 13) in an hour-long presentation at the Lowry theater in Salford, Manchester. His topic — “Free Music In a Capitalist Society” — was a fascinating one, particularly for a musical icon who has moved in and out of DIY and commercial realms for much of his career, eventually having little shame over licensing “Lust For Life” to a Carnival Cruise commercial (among other ads). “If I want to make money, well, how about selling car insurance?” he postured. “At least I’m honest. It’s an ad, and that’s all it is. If I had to depend on what I actually get from sales, I’d be tending bars between sets.” … Read More

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Get Ready for the and Joanna Lumley Doc You Never Knew You Wanted

This may be one of the strangest – and most intriguing – pop-cultural combinations imaginable: Joanna Lumley (of Ab Fab).… Read More

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‘Sherlock’ Season 3 Premiere Recap: “The Empty Hearse”

After taking a two-year hiatus so its costars could take a jaunt through Middle Earth, Sherlock in 2014 is less a season premiere than a relaunch. Going into its New Years’ Day UK airdate, “The Empty Hearse” was staring down a daunting series of tasks. Could Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat live up to the fan anticipation, which approached hysteria on certain sections of Tumblr? Could they move the show past Moriarty and make it into a sustainable series? Most importantly, could they provide a decent answer to the “how did he do it” question? … Read More

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Get Your First Peek at ‘Sherlock’ Season 3

At last: our first peek at the long-awaited third season of the BBC’s wonderful Sherlock. Not much to go on, it’s… Read More

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10 Essential Animal Documentaries

Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish is an eye-opening documentary about animals in captivity, with a special focus on the orca Tilikum, who is currently kept at SeaWorld Orlando. The controversial creature is connected to the deaths of three people, including trainer Dawn Brancheau. Blackfish calls into question the safety measures, conditions, and treatment of captive animals, and makes a strong case for the orcas’ intelligence, awareness, and emotion. As moviegoers always on the lookout for compelling animal documentaries that supersede the humdrum nature shows — Blackfish in particular unfolds like a thriller — we’ve rounded up a list of other essential documentaries that call to the wild. … Read More

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