Before HBO’s The Newsroom, there was BBC’s The Hour. The Hour explores the broadcast media of the late 1950’s, which was a dramatic time in both the United Kingdom and the world– fears of a nuclear bomb, the cusp of the Cold War, and the impending election of Kennedy. This show explores that news through the viewpoints of its three main characters: Bel (played by Romola Garai), who is one of the few female television producers and has goals of redefining the news; Hector (played by Dominic West), who is the broadcaster and face of The Hour; and Freddie (played by Ben Whishaw), who develops all of the interview questions, does the research, and is a charismatic reporter. It is not just the news and how each character does their job that makes this show as interesting as it is– it is also what is occurring in their personal lives that adds an emotional depth to these characters. Bel is struggling with her male bosses, whom think she should be married and having children instead of working, and with her emotions for both Hector and Freddie. Hector is trying to hide his relationship with Bel from his wife (played by Oona Chaplin) and to maintain a respectable reputation to keep his father-in-law happy. And Freddie is researching the mysterious death of a professor for a close childhood friend (played by Venessa Kirby) and he becomes involved in the rumors of Soviet spies and MI6, and (as if that weren’t enough) he has to deal with his strong feelings for Bel and the fact that he can’t have her.
What makes The Hour so amazing is the directing, the writing, and the acting. There were four directors of the first season and yet the tone of the show never changed nor gave any inclination that it was not just one director. The writers of the show give a very accurate portrayal of life in the 1950’s for both sexes, as well as the prominent news of that time. But what makes The Hour better than its counterparts is the brilliant acting from the three main actors– they completely embody their roles naturally and make these real-world characters both interesting and unique. Personally, I find Ben Whishaw to be the best on the show for his portrayal of Freddie and all of his quirks and nervous actions, but I don’t find anyone on the show to be bad. And it is because of these elements that The Hour was nominated for three Emmy’s for its first season. The second season has been in production and is scheduled to premiere in November of 2012.
What do you think of The Hour? And are you looking forward to the second season (and, if so, what do you want to happen)?