Fans of Showtime’s Homeland itching for the start of the second season (September 30) may find that show’s Damien Lewis even more unsettling in this lavish and addictive 2002-2003 miniseries based on John Galsworthy’s novels. Lewis stars as wealthy Soames Forsyte, whose thwarted passion, stilted emotions and rigid rules of conduct wreak havoc on his own life and his family’s. This second serialization of the Victorian-Edwardian drama (the ‘60s BBC version led to the creation of Masterpiece Theatre) is marked by Lewis’ even darker Soames—and the joy of seeing sets and costumes in full color. Series 1 focuses on Soames and his rival cousin; Series 2 moves into the 1920s to follow their children's equally challenged generation.
What would happen if the whole world lost electricity? Nothing very good in this savvy apocalyptic adventure, which pits a ragtag group of survivors against the brutal militia that has risen to power (watch for Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito, left, as an especially nasty soldier). As our heroes battle to save themselves and the USA, they try to figure out just what caused the blackout—and dream about trains, planes, automobiles, ovens, computers, X-Rays….
The funny premise of this surprise hit—a group of elderly Brits are forced to “outsource” their retirement to India—is bolstered by an all-star cast, including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Maggie Smith. Dench, especially, sparkles as the expats’ septuagenarian sex symbol.
This highly anticipated exhibition presents Warhol’s work and its influence on 60 other contemporary artists, including Cindy Sherman, Chuck Close and David Hockney. Among the 45 Warhols on display: Brillo Soap Pads Box (1964), Mao (1973) and Self-Portrait (1986).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 18-December 31
Photo caption: Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)/"Big Campbell's Soup Can, 19 cent (Beef Noodle)"/1962/Acrylic and graphite on canvas/72 x 54 1/2 in. (182.9 x 138.4 cm)
Set in 1950s London and based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, this British miniseries is an unexpected treat! Jessica Raine (center) stars as one of several young nurses assigned to a convent of sisters dedicated to delivering the babies of the poor. As we follow the lives of both sets of women, a series of nail-biting situations develop, involving baby kidnapping, prostitution, incest and, on the lighter side, a kleptomaniac nun.
Alternating between play-‘em-again love songs and rousing rockers, this new album from pioneering musical sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson rides through emotion-charged internal and external American terrain (“Pennsylvania,” “Rock Deep (Vancouver,” “Dear Old America”). Following the September 18 release of the women’s memoir, Kicking and Dreaming, it also serves as sassy celebration of their 30-year career. Even more reason to download Fanatic: Nancy’s Wilson’s “Walkin’ Good” duet with Sarah McLachlan.
Julie Andrews narrates this tribute to a “uniquely American art form,” with commentary from stars, directors and musical historians. Starting with the song, dance and comedy sketches of the Ziegfield Follies, the three-disc PBS series explores the evolution of the musical up to 2004, with plenty of breathtaking production numbers along the way.
Director Andrea Arnold’s take on Emily Bronte’s gothic novel is a far cry from the romanticism of the Laurence Olivier/Merle Oberon classic. Arnold’s emotionally and physically brutalized Heathcliff—ingeniously envisioned as African— becomes a shockingly cruel adult himself in a version that explores the darkest corners of the book. Solomon Glave and Shannon Beer (left) star as the young Heathcliff and Cathy, James Howson and Kaya Scodelario as the older doomed lovers.
You can swoon at the live-and-in-person sight of Downton Abbey heartthrob Matthew Crawley when the actor who plays him, Dan Stevens, takes the stage with an equally hot costar, The Help’s Jessica Chastain (both at left). Their perfect project: A revival of the classic 1947 drama based on Henry James’ bitter love story, Washington Square.
Friday Night Lights’ and American Horror Story's Connie Britton (far left) is only one good reason to watch this new drama, created by Thelma and Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri. Britton stars as country queen Rayna James, whose position is about to be usurped by the semi-talented but younger and cuter Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere, with Eric Close, left). A third woman to watch: songwriter Scarlet O’Connor (Clare Bowen).
There’s never been a heroine quite like Louisa Leyton—spunky, pragmatic and determined to break through class and gender boundaries to become the most sought-after chef in Edwardian London. Based on the true story of Rosa Lewis (this collection includes her biography) and created by John Hawkesworth (Upstairs, Downstairs), the 1979-80 Masterpiece Theatre series stars the admirable Gemma Jones. And it clocks in at 27 hours—more than enough to get you through those gloomy fall/winter nights.
Keira Knightly, left, stars in an adaptation of the Tolstoy classic that cuts to the romantic chase, with Jude Law cast as Anna’s aristocratic husband and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as her military lover. Expect lavish costumes and a visual feast from Joe Wright, who directed Knightly in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice and 2007’s Atonement.
Ken Burns’ latest documentary explores “the worst environmental disaster in American history,” the clouds of dust that turned the American Plains uninhabitable in the 1930s. Historians and survivors recall the man-made catastrophe, set in motion when a rush to plant crops on arid land eliminated native grasses that had held the soil in place. Drought and high winds followed, leaving residents to cope with sandstorms and a fatal “dust pneumonia,” while whole herds of livestock died of suffocation. Burns examines cause and awful effects—including the mass, desperate exodus and subsequent harassment of “Okies”—with characteristic skill.