'The Hour': A Quick Endorsement

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I mentioned this over twitter, but I wanted to repeat my affection for The Hour, the BBC's dramatic take on a news program during the late 50s. It's really sad that the show is being compared with Mad Men. Unlike the other period piece knock-offs floating around, The Hour is its own deal and is, if anything, significantly less nostalgic than Mad Men.


But beyond that I greatly appreciate that The Hour isn't a show "about the 50s," and that it never mistakes is setting for an actual plot. Its characters don't believe they invented sex, and are not much interested in stating their own revolutionary import.

The show has weaknesses. I don't think Dominic West and Romola Garai's roles are particularly well-formed. Their subsequent affair isn't well developed, nor does it prove to ultimately be very consequential. On the contrary, some of the best moments are heterosocial. (Garai's ultimate confrontation with her lover's wife is more affecting than anything that happens between her and West's character.) The Hour could have used a scene like the one in Broadcast News where Albert Brooks' character discovers that there's more to reading the news than looking pretty. 

But that aside, you should see the show--it's on Amazon for $1.99 per episode--because it exhibits something that I hunger for in this era of super-powers, vampires and playmates: a humility and respect for telling a story.

Sorry fellow Commies. I am, indeed, quite the snob.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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