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  1. I hadn't heard about this show until the other day, and lo and behold the first episode aired tonight. It's a Ridley Scott produced PBS series about a hospital during the Civil War. The first episode is up on PBS and will be until Feb. Here's a review from The Wrap. My own take is a bit mixed. I liked a lot of stuff--Winstead is good and Radnor is, at least, not bad and their exchange toward the end of the first episode (where his racism shades into a desire to treat the Confederate soldiers humanely, while her anti-racism shades into contempt for Confederate soldiers) is, at least, mildly interesting. The best scene in the episode involves Winstead's character and McKinley Belcher's character--and, indeed, I was most interested whenever Belcher was onscreen. Part of that, honestly, is because I've seen Civil War narratives that focus on the consciences or travails of white people during the time period, and it's getting to be old hat (the absolute worst part of this episode was pretty evenly spread out into every scene involving the hotel-turned-hospital's former owners, who embody every possible stereotype of insipid, fluttery Suh-thuhn Genteelity). Belcher, though? Belcher's interesting. He's something different for this kind of show, at least to my mind. The AVClub doesn't like it, btw:
  2. Link to our thread on The Tudors. Link to our thread on "Best Novels of the 21st Century," where the novel Wolf Hall shows up. We don't seem to have a thread on either the novel or the upcoming TV series, though I welcome an ahem. Anyway, here's The Atlantic: FWIW, I thought I saw one of our board members on Twitter (or Facebook?) saying a while back that they would like to do a hit-piece on Mantel's novel, which (it was asserted) is woefully ahistorical in certain respects. There was, that I could see, no elaboration--I'd be curious to hear those critiques, particularly since this adaptation is probably going to be one of those Very Big Deal shows that everyone praises etc etc etc. Anyway, here's The AV Club: .... [in a moderately-related gripe, I'm getting a little tired--like one of the commenters at The Atlantic--of the fact that, Mad Men aside, period dramas set in the U.S. don't really catch on. Part of that is an accident of history, I'm sure--or, rather, is the result of the fact that the United States actually has precious little history compared to England or Italy or China.... But still. At least half our history--and so, like, a quarter of our great literature, and quite a bit more of our good literature--is in public domain at this point, and there's really no reason we couldn't have new adaptations of Main Street or Alice Adams or whatever. Part of the problem, I'm sure, is that the public broadcasting stations in the US don't actually get enough money to put on these lavish period pieces, which is why so much of their content in that area comes from the BBC. That's all to the side, totally unrelated, and the only result is that I'll probably wind up starting a thread for Manhattan at some point]
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