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"The Hour"

Is anyone else watching "The Hour," the stylish and gratifying new television show from England?  It is set in London in 1956 during the Suez crisis and is about a group of young and ambitious BBC employees who are putting on a new kind of news program.

It has been compared to "Mad Men" in its depiction of the same time period, and the era is excellently rendered through the costumes, sets, and general production style.  It is a visual feast.

In addition to being eye candy, it is like sinking into a really good book.  It is a cold war tale with espionage, blackmail, and murder.  There is so much to keep the viewer involved --  intrigue, romance, relationships, mysteries and historical events.

The heroine Bel is caught in a romantic triangle, between Freddie (above), the idealistic journalist who is in love with her, and Hector (below), the telegenic and married anchorman, with whom she begins an affair.  In this sense it feels a little like the 1987 film "Broadcast News."  But this series has so much more -- viewers get a vivid depiction of what Cold War Britain was like -  in an Alfred Hitchcock and Ian Fleming kind of way --  and also get to relive the historical events of the time.  In terms of developments in television, it was an exciting and brave new world and the series vividly captures these exciting advances.  "The Hour" is absolutely fascinating to watch, and it is making me very happy as I await the new season of "Downton Abbey" which is scheduled for January.

I just read in "The New Yorker" that the creator of the show is Abi Morgan, who also wrote the upcoming film about Margaret Thatcher, "The Iron Lady."  It stars Meryl Streep and is coming out in December.  Isn't it satisfying to be able to watch a dramatic series of such high quality on television?  I don't know what the ratings are, but I hope they are good so that we get more shows like this one!

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