The Hour - Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Oct 21, 2011, 13:36 GMT
Romola Garai, Dominic West and Ben Whishaw star in "The Hour", a thrilling six-part drama set in 1950s London when the BBC is about to launch an entirely new way of presenting the news. The dynamic Bel (Garai) is chosen to produce the new program, to be called "The Hour", with handsome and well connected Hector (West) set to become the anchor, much to the annoyance of Freddie (Whishaw), a ...more
The Hour is upon us and it may be thought of as an answer to Mad Men but it does feature a veddy British feel as well as a compelling storyline. It also features a look at the ambitious choice to look away from the insubstantial to actual hard-hitting journalism.
British telly largely consisted of programs that dealt more with housewives’ issues with hard journalism being the domain of the daily paper. Dateline: 1956. Friends Bel Rowley (Romola Garai) and Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw) tire of not reporting real news in favor of insubstantial newsreels.
Clarence Fendley (Anton Lesser) is assembling a team for a new show called the Hour that will be a news program and stray away from the status quo. The show will be anchored by the privileged and charismatic Hector Madden (Dominic West) and sparks fly between him and Bel, much to the chagrin of Freddie.
However, Freddie uncovers a conspiracy that will lead to murder and mystery just as things are heating up for the British government and Egypt in the Suez Canal.
I suppose the comparison to Mad Men is inevitable, even though the show takes place across the pond and in a little different time period. Those similarities are soon dismissed as the six episode miniseries has characters not so much concerned with power as to getting hard-hitting news on the air.
Sure, there are some surface similarities as booze, sex, and numerous cigarettes are rampant but the Hour also features some espionage.
The cast is uniformly excellent with high marks going to the triumvirate of Garai, Whishaw, and West. Of course, a love triangle forms around these characters. Garai also finds her character in a position of power that was a rarity for a female in the 1950s.
Whislaw an idealistic go-getter that finds himself embroiled in an overarching murder mystery involving a spy. Both the story of the creation of the news program and the mystery keep you watching the Hour as well as the fantastic acting and interesting characters.
The Hour is presented in a 1080i high definition transfer (1.78:1). Special features include the standard definition 10 minute “Behind-the-scenes” about the look of the show and the 20 minute “Creating the Hour” that delves into the characters and concept.
If Mad Men and the Hour share a similarity it is that they’re both fantastically acted and feature grand recreations of a time long past.
If you missed it on the BBC then you now have no excuse to catch up with this compelling drama on Blu-ray, especially since a second series has been commissioned. Who knew the news could be so addicting.
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Further Reading on M&CDominic West Biography -
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