8 Reasons Why The New Les Misérables Miniseries Is Worth Watching

While the return of Game of Thrones is taking all the attention these days, there is another 6-episode television adaption of a beloved novel you should be aware of. This week saw the release of the first episode of PBS Masterpiece’s Les Misérables miniseries.

RELATED: Les Misérables Trailer: Masterpiece On PBS To Premiere The Miniseries In April

Though the story doesn’t contain dragons, ice zombies or fighting over the Iron Throne, it is a sweeping and tense period drama that is well worth your attention. Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, this latest take on the heartbreaking and compelling story promises to be an entirely new adaptation. If you’re looking for something outside of Westeros for your television viewing, see why the Les Misérables miniseries is worth watching.

8 The Story

Certain stories seem to resonate with any audience at any time. It doesn’t matter how old the story may be, the themes and conflicts remain universe for all generations and all people. That is certainly the case with Hugo’s Les Miserables. First published in 1862, the French novel explored such powerful subjects as injustice, morality, and redemption.

The story follows Jean Valjean, an ex-convict attempting to start a new life. It expands across several years, connecting different characters from different walks of life before reaching the climax set against the Paris Uprising of 1932.

7 New Look At A Classic

Hugo’s novel is one that has been adapted a number of times, most recently with the Oscar-winning musical version starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway. However, there is always excitement in seeing some of these classic stories brought to life again and again as we get to see a new version of the story we know so well.

RELATED: 10 Classic Books That Would Make Great Movies

Once again, we are treated to a new telling of the story of Jean Valjean and the world of Les Misérables. We get to see how the filmmakers adapt the complex work. We get to see new takes on famous characters and how the actors portray them. We get to see how this version is unique.

6 The Leads

Even those who are not totally familiar with the story of Les Miserables will no doubt be intrigued by the amazing cast they have assembled for this miniseries. In particular, the miniseries boasts two big names in the leading roles.

Dominic West stars as Jean Valjean, a man trying to put his life together and avoid his past from defining his future. West is best known for television roles in The Wire and The Affair, showing he can bring the necessary intensity. David Oyelowo (Selma) plays Javert, the obsessive police inspector who hunts Valjean. It should be a real thrill to see these two go head-to-head onscreen.

5 The Supporting Cast

If Dominic West and David Oyelowo weren’t exciting enough, they are backed up by a slew of amazing actors in supporting roles. Lily Collins will be playing the role of Fantine, the story’s tragic figure who helps Valjean on his path to redemption.

RELATED: 10 Fantasy Novels That Would Be Amazing Fantasy Series

In other iconic roles from the story, Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick) will play Monsieur Thénardier, the dishonest (but still master of the house) landlord. And, in a bit of perfect casting, recent Oscar-winner Olivia Coleman (The Favourite) plays Madame Thénardier. Add to that veteran actors like David Bradley and Derek Jacobi, and it’s a pretty enticing cast.

4 Behind The Camera

While there is certainly a lot of star power and great actors in front of the camera, in order for this miniseries to be a success, they need quite a bit of talent behind the camera as well. Luckily, they seem to have found the perfect people for the job to pull off this ambitious production.

The series was written by Andrew Davies, a writer best known for his BBC series House of Cards and A Very Peculiar Practice. He has also adapted several high-profile period miniseries including Pride & Prejudice, War & Peace and Vanity Fair. Directing the series is Tom Shankland, a veteran television director on shows like The Leftovers, House of Cards and The Punisher.

3 Expanded Storytelling

As with most novels, something inevitably gets lost when you adapt it into a two-hour movie. To make a complex story like that fit into the constraints of a feature film means that some things are going to need to be cut. Sometimes this can be done effectively, other times it ruins the adaptation.

RELATED: 10 Book-To-Movie Adaptations Coming Out In 2019

For the first time ever, the story of Les Misérables will be told in the expanded format of television. While six hours might still not do justice to Victor Hugo’s entire novel, this version will no doubt go further in depth than any of the previous adaptations.

2 Production Values

Production values can make or break a period production. In order to feel that you are, in fact, experiencing something from another time period, the production needs to look entirely convincing. This can be rather expensive and too much for certain productions to take on. But if it ever feels false it can take the audience right out of the story.

Fortunately, that isn’t the case with this miniseries. There appears to be no expense spared in recreating 19th century France. There is a scale to the production that really helps to capture the grandeur of the story without being overwhelming.

1 Not A Musical

Most people will only know of Les Misérables as the musical. Hugo’s novel was adapted for the stage in 1980 and from there it grew in popularity, was translated into various languages and was adapted into the aforementioned big screen version in 2012.

However, this latest adaption will be of the original novel, not the stage musical. While the musical certainly has plenty of fans, it is refreshing to see a more grounded and straightforward take on the story that could help introduce it to a whole new audience.

NEXT: The Best Musicals On Netflix Right Now (April 2019)

2019-04-19 01:04:06

Colin McCormick

Chernobyl Trailer: HBO’s Miniseries Relives A Terrifying Man-Made Disaster

HBO takes a dramatic, in-depth look at disaster of Chernobyl in the first trailer for the upcoming miniseries event. The premium cabler is no stranger to dramatizing real-life events, but often times they come in smaller packages, like the one-two punch of Al Pacino-starring films with the creatively titled Paterno and Phil Spector, or, more recently, Brexit, which starred a bald cap-wearing Benedict Cumberbatch as the man who essentially sold voters on Britain leaving the European Union. There are many more, to be sure, but while those films may have had a ripped-from-the-headlines feel to them, they pale in comparison to the scope of what the network has planned for Chernobyl. 

A five-part event, Chernobyl boasts an impressive cast that includes Jared Harris (The Terror), Stellan Skarsgård (Dune), Emily Watson (King Lear), Paul Ritter (Inferno), Jessie Buckley (Taboo), Adrian Rawlins (Hard Sun), and Barry Keoghan (Y). Though the miniseries also serves as an unofficial reunion of three actors from Lars von Trier’s 1996 masterpiece Breaking the Waves, it’s a good bet most viewers will want to tune in for a fictionalized account of a harrowing real-life event that threatened millions of lives. 

More: Hanna Review: Not Enough New Ideas To Completely Warrant A Television Series

The trailer is effective in its attempts to scare the daylights out of those watching on two fronts, beginning with the Chernobyl disaster itself, the immense threat of radioactive fallout, and, of course, the bureaucratic red tape that was soon to follow. It’s a frightening glimpse into a equally terrifying disaster, one given the even more gravity by the performances of both Harris and Skarsgård. Check out the trailer for Chernobyl below, along with a brief synopsis:

“On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, Soviet Union suffered a massive explosion that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and as far as Scandinavia and western Europe. Chernobyl dramatizes the story of the 1986 accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and the sacrifices made to save Europe from the unimaginable disaster. Chernobyl premieres May 6 on HBO.”

For anyone who is old enough to remember the event, or recalls the more recent disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan following an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the trailer promises to bring back some difficult emotions. But it also looks as though the miniseries will be right at home alongside the equally disturbing 1979 film The China Syndrome. If nothing else, Chernobyl will make for a sobering watch while waiting for new episodes of the final season of Game of Thrones to air. 

Next: Santa Clarita Diet Season 3 Review: Netflix’s Zombie Comedy Gets Even Weirder

Chernobyl premieres Monday, May 6 @9pm on HBO. 

2019-03-29 12:03:59

Kevin Yeoman

Nightflyers Review: SYFY’s Miniseries Gets The Tone Right But The Pacing Wrong

In the post-Game of Thrones television landscape, anything with the name George R.R. Martin attached comes with certain level of expectation and anticipation. High expectations, then, mostly tied directly to the massive success the author of the source material has had with an entirely different project, may prove the biggest hurdle Nightflyers faces as it commences with its premiere and, as is increasingly common for the genre cable network, its subsequent binge-watch. 

The limited series event is a far cry from the political intrigue, rampant death, dragons, and Jon Snows of Westeros. For starters, though it still goes deep into its respective genre trappings, Nightflyers is an entirely different animal, one that leans more into horror and, to be more specific, slasher movies, than it does hard sci-fi. That’s not to say the series, from creator Jeff Buhler (writer of the upcoming Pet Sematary and Grudge remakes) doesn’t take its place in the world of science fiction seriously, rather it is to say that Nightflyers, for all its narrative emphasis on humankind’s attempt at making first contact with alien lifeforms and the questions such an event raises, is really only interested in raising a body count aboard the massive ship on which the series is set.

More: Exclusive Westworld Video Explains The Truth Behind Delos & The Show’s Theme

But being a horror story set in space presents Nightflyers a challenge met unsuccessfully by many TV shows nowadays: there’s not enough story here to necessitate a 10-episode series. As a result, what might have been a taut, gory, scare-fest along the lines of Paul W.S. Anderson’s equally unnerving mid-‘90s horror film, Event Horizon, becomes a disorganized event that stretches too little material too far. 

Though it sags in the middle and gets somewhat lost in its journey to… somewhere, the series at least announces itself with a provocative opening sequence that takes place — presumably — near the end of the story. Buhler’s approach starts things off with Gretchen Mol’s Dr. Agatha Matheson on the run from Angus Sampson’s Rowan, the ship’s resident xenobiologist and seemingly cuddly, cardigan-wearing member of the crew. For reasons that easily come to mind for those who’ve seen The Shining, Rowan is stalking Agatha through the ship with ax, as she attempts to send a warning to others not to approach or mess with the ship. Basically, then, Nightflyers is what would happen if the Overlook Hotel were a massive spacecraft. But the cold open ends with Agatha taking a bone saw to her own jugular, spelling out just how bad things have gotten on board the ship and ostensibly creating in the audience an extreme need to know, with regard to the events that led up to her fatal decision. 

It’s an effective way to kick the series off, hooking the viewer by first giving them a glimpse of what appears to be the narrative’s climax. Unfortunately, most of that intrigue is squandered as the series struggles to live up to both the sight of Agatha’s suicide and the questions of what brought her to such a place. What viewers get instead is a plodding space mystery that bides its time by turning the mostly faceless, one-dimensional members of the Nightflyer crew into hapless victims whose deaths are, sadly, the only interesting things about them. 

Though it’s not exactly a haunted house story, the series more or less plays by the rules of that particular subgenre. The closer they get to their intended destination, the more a sinister force manipulates the minds of the crew onboard the ship and — because it’s playing by haunted house rules — the ship itself. Like The Shining, the story throws a wildcard in from the beginning, this time in the form of Thale (Sam Strike) a psychic known in the parlance of the Nightflyers universe as an “L1.” But whereas Danny Torrance mostly tried to keep his abilities a secret, Thale is known to and feared by all for his extra-sensory perception, making him persona non grata among the crew and the primary suspect when things start to go wrong. 

The idea of psychics and telepaths being a known quantity in the world of Nightflyers is an intriguing concept. Unfortunately, it’s one that carries more intrigue than most of the story itself. Nightflyers’ biggest drawback is that it is perpetually building toward some big reveal, some hidden horror or malevolent force in the depths of space that is meant to give the story payoff and significance. But the closer the Nightflyer and its ill-fated crew get to that source, the less any of it seems to carry any meaning beyond one character or another meeting his or her end in horrible fashion. There’s an audience for that and it’s one Nightflyers is courting heavily by the series’ mid-point. Its slasher-film sensibilities do make for some imaginative, gore-strewn sequences — an encounter with a laser-toting robot in the second episode is a memorable example of this — but these individual parts rarely add up to a truly compelling whole. 

In the end, Nightflyers’ best friend is whoever at SYFY made the decision to turn the series into a marathon/binge-watch. Given the series’ plodding nature, the first five hours are made more consumable in rapid succession. It’s a smart move, one that both burns the episodes off quickly, but also seemingly incentivizes those who’ve tuned in early to keep watching through to the end. Whether most viewers will want to stick with the series once they’ve started remains to be seen, but at least SYFY’s making that decision as easy as possible.

Next: Vikings Season 5B Review: Power And Revenge Drive A Methodical Premiere

Nightflyers episodes 1-5 air across all formats Sunday-Thursday, Dec. 2-6 @10pm, while episodes 6-10 premiere Sunday-Thursday, Dec. 9-13 @10pm.

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2018-12-02 07:12:23

Netflix greenlights Ottoman Rising miniseries on Mehmed the Conqueror’s life

Streaming giant Netflix has ordered Ottoman Rising, a six-episode miniseries that will chronicle the reign of Sultan Mehmed II, known as Mehmed the Conqueror.

Co-produced by STXtv and Karga Seven Pictures,…Click To Continue

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Charlie Cox Thinks The Defenders Was Too Slow, Still Wants Season 2

Marvel’s The Defenders miniseries had its issues, but Charlie Cox thinks there’s potential for a second season. The Daredevil star, who’s currently doing promotion for the third season of the Netflix Marvel universe’s flagship show, discussed the possibility of bringing all the New York heroes back together, and what needs to be different this time around to ensure it doesn’t continue to be the least-viewed Marvel series on the streaming service.

Cox isn’t the first actor to speak out about season 2. In March, prior to the release of Jessica Jones season 2, Krysten Ritter shared that if the opportunity came about, she would do another season, but that she didn’t think there were any plans to go down that path. However, more recently, at Baltimore Comic-Con, Mike Colter (who stars in Luke Cage) joked that the crowd didn’t cheer enough in response to a mention of The Defenders season 2, but then replied to the increased applause, “Alright, alright, maybe we can do something.”

Related: The Defenders Season 2 Probably Isn’t Happening

Now, Cox is adding his two cents, and he’s even more positive. Speaking with Metro, Cox revealed how much he enjoyed working on The Defenders. He said he got “a little kick out of” seeing how the four unique heroes came together, and worked side-by-side. The issue, Cox believes, was the format, agreeing with many fans that the season “felt too slow,” but that he thinks this is because there was an emphasis on setting things up naturally, and then they ran out of time to put a focus on the actual team-up.

Cox went on to praise showrunner Marco Ramirez for his ability to meld the very different heroes into one show, calling it a “mammoth undertaking” that “he did fantastically.” But moving forward, he sees the benefit in keeping things on a smaller scale. “I would like to see a story that is more in keeping with the show’s that we make, which is a little bit more grounded, a little more boots on the ground. I don’t want to see us try and compete with the Avengers in terms of the scope.” However, though he clearly has hopes for a season 2, Cox isn’t aware of any progress made toward making more of The Defenders.

Frankly, despite how cool it is to see worlds merge and superheroes team up, it’s hard to see the benefit of another season. The various loose ends from the final episode will (hopefully) be all tied up by Daredevil season 3, and it’s undeniable that the show was fraught with mistakes and plot holes. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in some capacity. Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel TV, made some intriguing comments last month, hinting that perhaps another season could involve a different group of heroes as the Defenders. Considering the wealth of captivating supporting characters the connected series have offered, this could be an idea worth exploring for Netflix.

More: The Defenders Season 2 Probably Isn’t Happening

Source: Metro

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2018-10-09 05:10:32 – Becca Bleznak

Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton to Star in Elephant Man Miniseries

Charlie Heaton, breakout star of Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things, has landed the starring role of Joseph Merrick in a new two-part BBC One miniseries version of The Elephant Man. Heaton has become a standout among the extremely talented cast of Stranger Things, receiving critical acclaim for his portrayal of Jonathan Byers, the quiet teenage loner who does everything he can for his mother and younger brother, and also becomes the boyfriend of Nancy Wheeler.

Heaton got his start on the crime series DCI Banks, quickly following that up with the detective series Vera. His first larger role was in 2016’s psychological thriller Shut In, starring alongside big names such as Naomi Watts and Oliver Platt. While that film was heavily panned by critics and did little work at the box office, it paved the way for Heaton to land the role of Jonathan on Netflix’s Stranger Things, which went on to become one of the biggest television series currently running, as well as a permanent staple of pop culture. Heaton recently finished work on Marvel’s New Mutants, where he will portray the superhero Cannonball, as well as the upcoming third season of Stranger Things. Season 3 will introduce several new characters, and it’s been speculated that Jonathan may be on the chopping block when the show returns.

Related: Stranger Things Will Be Darker & More Action Packed In Season 3

Deadline reports that this newest adaptation of the story of Joseph Merrick will be a two-part miniseries simply titled The Elephant Man, and Heaton is set to star in the titular role. The miniseries will chronicle the entirety of Merrick’s life; from his time in work houses to freak shows to the rest of his life at the London Hospital. Heaton stated “I’m extremely honored to be given the opportunity to take on the portrayal of Joseph Merrick. This is such a special role and a challenge for any actor. Joseph has such an incredible story and I can’t wait to go on this journey and bring him to life.

The amazing true story of Joseph Merrick has long been a subject of fascination and study. Born in the UK, Merrick became afflicted with physical deformities when he was young that developed all over his body, including his face. After the passing of his mother and a deteriorating relationship with his father, Merrick made his way into a human oddities show in London. He was exhibited in the show as “The Elephant Man”. Eventually, Merrick ended up spending the rest of his life at the London Hospital, living comfortably and becoming the subject of many medical studies. His inspirational story has been adapted to stage and screen for decades.

Heaton will join the list of legendary actors who have also portrayed Merrick, such as David Bowie, Mark Hamill, David Schofield, and Bradley Cooper. The most famous adaptation was done by director David Lynch in 1980 and starred John Hurt; the film went on to be nominated for eight Academy Awards. This puts Heaton in great company, and if his portrayal of Merrick lives up to previous performances, it may end up being his greatest work yet.

More: Stranger Things Season 3 Inspired By Chevy Chase Comedy Fletch

Source: Deadline

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