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Monday, January 7, 2013

The Hour 2nd Season

Hey, I was on a British roll last night, and saw not only Downton Abbey, but The Hour.

I reviewed The Hour last summer, in conjunction with the American Newsroom, which must have been inspired in some way by The Hour.  But the two shows are also very different, with The Hour not only looking at a live news show on the Beeb in the late 1950s, but also much more a drama that extends beyond the news into interpersonal relationships and crime and punishment stories.

Season Two was especially strong on both.  Freddie finally gives Bel the kiss she deserves, right before he's all but beaten to death by the mobster his expose is all about.  I say "almost" because it looks like he survives,  but he certainly wasn't up and about, and in the realm of television you can't take anything for granted.  No word yet about a third season, but I certainly hope we see one.

The mob was actually a little over the top, I thought.  I mean, I can see a reporter getting roughed up by the mob, even killed, but Freddie is co-anchor of The Hour, and one of its shakers and movers.  Would the mob boss be such as moron as to nearly or try to kill Freddie?

But Freddie's absence from the studio - his detainment via punches - did allow Hector to complete his comeback, not only with his public but his wife, who also announced her pregnancy.  The poaching of Hector by the rapacious ITV was one of the best story lines this season.  And Dominic West, who became one of my favorite actors on The Wire (flawless acting and flawless Baltimore accent), is just perfect as The Hour's anchor not only with a swelled head but a heart and a soul.   Romola Garai is also excellent as Bel, as is Ben Whishaw (probably best known now for Skyfall) as Freddie.

The Hour was ridiculously short this season - five episodes - and I'm eager for more.  Part Mad Men, part political and criminal intrigue, but mostly great media history with a look at the first decade of television, The Hour needs a lot more time to tell its important and captivating story.

See also The Newsroom and The Hour

Praise for the novel...

"...challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"...a fun book to read" - Dallas Morning News

"resonates with the current political climate . . . . heroine Sierra Waters is sexy as hell . . . . there's a bite to Levinson's wit" - Brian Charles Clark, Curled Up With A Good Book at curledup.com 

"a journey through time that'll make you think as it thrills ... so accessible, even those generally put off by sci-fi should enjoy the trip." - Rod Lott, bookgasm.com

"Levinson spins a fascinating tale ... An intriguing premise with believable characters and attention to period detail make this an outstanding choice... Highly recommended." - Library Journal,*starred review

"Light, engaging time-travel yarn . . . neatly satisfies the circularity inherent in time travel, whose paradoxes Levinson links to Greek philosophy." - Publishers Weekly

"A thinking person's time travel story... I felt like I was there." - SF Signal

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