Sunday, February 19, 2006


Here's a programming reminder:

Tonight at 8 pm, EST, on the Sundance Channel, 'Slings & Arrows' returns with its second season.

It's the story of the behind-the-scenes machinations at the New Burbage Shakespeare Festival in Canada, and if this new season follows the pattern of the first, its storyline sometimes closely mirrors the events in the play they're attempting to mount.

Last year (for the American viewers - the show premiered in Canada back in 2003!), the production was 'Hamlet'. This season they're taking a stab at the Scottish Play.

'Slings & Arrows' stars Paul Gross, his wife Martha Byrnes, and Mark McKinney among many other fine thesps. Unfortunately, I don't think Rachel MacAdams returns as the ingenue this time around.

I've posted this before: in 2005, there were only three series that made me anxious for the week to end as soon as an episode aired, so that I might see the next episode all the sooner. They were:
'Doctor Who' (with Christopher Eccleston)
'Slings & Arrows'.

With its last episode of the first season, I found myself watching it on the edge of my seat and pumping my fist in the air with an exhultation of "Yeah!", as if I was watching an action movie. I found it to be just that gripping. And Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant is a "well-graced actor" who gives one of the most multi-layered and textured performances I've seen in a television series.

(I also think that if the producers of 'Doctor Who' should look to one of the colonies for its new Time Lord, Gross should be considered.)

But never mind what I think, "I have bought golden opinions from all sorts of people":

From Diane Werts of Newsday:
Run, do not walk, to watch "Slings and Arrows" on Sundance Channel. Not only will you catch every witty, literate episode, but you'll be moving at the same pace as this wicked comic-drama-romance delight.

When we say TV doesn't get more adult, we don't mean naughty words (though there are many). We mean the intelligence of the approach and the deft shifts in comic/tragic tone.

From Robert Lloyd of the Times:
The first season... was romantic, deep, charming, sweet, satirical, thrilling, funny and, at the same time, understated. (A Canadian virtue, perhaps.) The sequel does not disappoint.

Even at six hours, it's over too soon. Good news, then, that a third season, reportedly centered on "King Lear," is in the pipeline.

So it's all a matter of whether or not you get the Sundance Channel in your cable package. But if so, please check out 'Slings & Arrows'. It's wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful; and yet again, wonderful.

And after that? Out of all hooping!

I have no idea what that means but it sounds good enough for me.


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