Review: The Imitation Game

The year is winding to a close, and you know what that means: Oscar bait season! Yes, it’s that glorious time of the year when we all try to wash the taste of the latest Transformers nonsense out of our brains and Get Serious. And nothing says ‘awards season lock’ quite like a biopic about a tortured genius front-loaded with highly respected British actors, and … Continue reading Review: The Imitation Game

Upstairs Downstairs: Family Ties

Image: BBC

Previously on Upstairs Downstairs: Hallam knew that appeasement was a really, really bad policy, but his bosses were a bit slower to realize that. Agnes recovered slowly from the difficult birth of her second child, managed her difficult aunt-in-law, and got the household servants to stop hazing Pritchard for having been a conscientious objector during the first world war. Look how she’s stepping up!

Agnes is being examined by the doctor, who tells her she’s in good shape, all things considered, but it’s time to “close up shop.” There will be no more babies in the Holland household. I’m sure Hallam won’t be too happy to hear that. Agnes looks fairly devastated by the news. The doctor tells her she should tell her husband, whom he’s sure will take care of everything. What’s that supposed to mean?

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Upstairs Downstairs Recap: The Newcomers

Image: BBC

As luck (and the BBC and Masterpiece programmers) would have it, series two of Downton Abbey took its bows in the US the very same night series two of Upstairs Downstairs premiered in the UK. Now, I made my thoughts on the first series of Upstairs Downstairs quite clear when it aired over here last spring, and after recent rumors of a desperate-sounding lesbian storyline, I wasn’t expecting much. I tracked down episode one, fully expecting to let my snark flag fly. There was just one problem:

It didn’t suck. Not at all. I was actually more satisfied with this episode than I was with most episodes of my beloved Downton. Is there hope? Could Upstairs Downstairs actually bust the sophomore slump and turn out to be good, even without Eileen Atkins? We’ll just have to see.

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Summer Games

After a 12-year hiatus due to the war, the 24th Summer Olympiad opened in London on July 29, 1948. Following the 1936 Berlin games, which were…awkward, to put things mildly, the Olympics were put on hold. A world war does tend to get in the way of international sportsmanship, although games were technically scheduled in 1940 (in Helsinki and Tokyo, which would also have been … Continue reading Summer Games

Upstairs Downstairs Recap: No Going Back

Previously on Upstairs Downstairs: Hallam tumbled fast and probably irretrievably down the douchebag rabbithole by jumping into bed with his sister-in-law, who seems to be a Nazi spy, in addition to an all-around gross human being. Pritchard got a crush, which was then, well, crushed when his lady love realized he didn’t fight in the last war, and Spargo and Beryl decided it was about time to hit the road and head to America.

A bell rings belowstairs, where the detritus from the previous night’s party are laid out on the table. Said detritus includes, oddly, a shoe. What were they all up to after that party? Spargo gently wakes Beryl, who’s asleep in his bed, and gives her some OJ. Aww.

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I’ll See Your Coventry and Raise You a Hamburg

Let it never be said that the Brits can’t get good and mad when the occasion warrants it: on November 16, 1940, the RAF bombed the hell out of Hamburg in retaliation for the leveling of Coventry only two days before. Coventry—one of the largest cities in the East Midlands—suffered severe damage during the November 14 Luftwaffe air raid that would later become known as … Continue reading I’ll See Your Coventry and Raise You a Hamburg

What Could Go Wrong?

So, when a mustachioed megalomaniac in a snappy uniform decides he wants a chunk of Czechoslovakia, you should just give it to him, right? That, apparently, was the thought process of the French, British, and Italian representatives who signed the Munich Pact on September 30, 1938. The pact handed over the Sudetenland—a heavily German area along the Czech borders—to Nazi Germany in a failed effort … Continue reading What Could Go Wrong?