On the Small Screen: “The Hour”

August 9th, 2011, byJeremy Freed

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not. The Hour is not just BBC’s answer to Mad Men. Well, maybe just a little bit. In any case, regardless of the timing, no one really does costume drama like the Brits, and the fact that they’re taking a stab at a mid-century dramatic series is hardly a bold leap in a new direction.

The Hour is set in the late 1950s at the BBC, where the launch of a nightly news program amidst the Suez crisis in Egypt intertwines with a plot about murder and espionage. The costumes and sets are impressive — even by BBC standards — the story is compelling and the acting is strong. Particularly enjoyable is Dominic West, who you may remember as McNulty from The Wire, as the dashing news anchor.

While it’s highly entertaining thus far (episode 4 of 6 airs this week), The Hour‘s reliance on its murder mystery plotline seems a bit easy to me. In fact, in this regard, it could stand to be more like Mad Men, a show in which plot mostly takes a backseat in favor of character development. Perhaps it’s too soon to say, but with only six episodes, that’s a whole different challenge. Either way, I’m looking forward to finding out whodunit, not to mention what everyone’s going to wear next.

Last modified: August 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm