Comedy & Drama

Victorious Blog, Episode 6: “The Engine of Change”

“Don’t talk railway at me.” -Victoria

This is the sixth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

What’s more relaxing than enjoying a private concert with your closest companions and frenemies? Well, probably a lot of things, considering how uncomfortable those chairs looked. But that’s not Victoria’s world.

“The Engine of Change” follows Victoria through her early, nausea-filled stages of her pregnancy, explores Albert’s continued quest for independence, and generally showcases that the times are a-changin’ – and if the royals are going to keep up, they’re going to have to change, too.  Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 6: “The Engine of Change”

Victorious Blog, Episode 5: “The Queen’s Husband”

“Never mind, Duchess; not all of your arrows miss their target.” – Prince Ernest

This is the fifth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

Whew – what an episode! Notably, this was the first episode without Melbourne. (Why have you forsaken us, Lord M?!) But the storyline was solid, and I made it through the episode without too much heartache.

“The Queen’s Husband” covered Victoria and Albert’s blossoming relationship and Albert’s quest for a bit of independence. This was my second favorite episode so far – so much excitement packed into the hour. (Missed the episode? Watch online now.Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 5: “The Queen’s Husband”

Victorious Blog, Episode 4: “An Ordinary Woman”

“But you are not an ordinary woman; you are a queen.”

This is the fourth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

Upon recovering from learning that my colleague has ACTUALLY MET RUFUS SEWELL – with a picture to prove it! – I’m ready to talk about Victoria on Masterpiece: “An Ordinary Woman.”

[Editor’s note: Jonna is lying, literally and figuratively; after the excitement of a royal wedding, she has taken to her fainting couch with a case of the vapours. Feel better!]

How do you tell a familiar story without making it appear stale? Therein lay the challenge for Daisy Goodwin when writing this episode.  (Yeah, yeah, we know there’s a wedding …)

But Goodwin’s got some magic up her Victorian-era sleeve. Episode Four begins with familial gloating, peaks with gratuitous brooding, and ends with – excuse me, without the need for Madeira.

Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 4: “An Ordinary Woman”

Victorious Blog, Episode 1: “Doll 123”

1837: The monarchy is in crisis. William IV has retreated to Windsor. The heir to the throne is his teenage niece Alexandrina …

Much like a coffee devotee content with a lukewarm cup of joe,  I’ll admit that I’ll be content with repeats of Downton Abbey for quite some time. The history, the British humor, the romance – it never really gets old. But with the release of Victoria, Masterpiece is back to stoke the fire with a new PBS treasure, and I’m happy to dive in to a new soon-to-be-favorite show. 

The eight-hour drama, hailed as “a sparkling gem in PBS’ crown” by The New York Post, made its debut last night (watch the full episode online). With a footprint of about two hours, settling in for Victoria’s premiere was a commitment, but well worth the time. In a not-so-gentle nod to the episode’s title, “Doll 123″ – here are my three favorite elements from the Victoria premiere. (Numerous spoilers ahead!)

Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 1: “Doll 123”

“Miss me?” Sherlock returns for Season 4 on Sunday, Jan. 1

“There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less and a cleaner, better stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”
–Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “His Last Bow”

As the premiere of Sherlock’s “darkest season yet” creeps up on us this Sunday, a dedicated Sherlockian reflects on the BBC production’s relationship with the Canon: the original 60 stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Tune in at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Day (Sunday, Jan. 1) for the premiere of Masterpiece Mystery! Sherlock, Season 4 with “The Six Thatchers.” An encore of this 90-minute episode begins at 9:36 p.m.

Then, tune in at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8 for an up-to-the-minute encore of “The Six Thatchers,” followed at 8 p.m. by “The Lying Detective.” The finale of Season 4, aptly titled “The Final Problem,” airs at 6:30 p.m. – just before the series premiere of Victoria; how’s that for an evening of great TV? – on Sunday, Jan. 15.

And don’t forget: you can watch Sherlock from the very beginning starting 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 with “A Study in Pink.”

Continue reading “Miss me?” Sherlock returns for Season 4 on Sunday, Jan. 1

Dashing Through the Snow? Five Holiday Favorites to Watch on the Go!

For those of us with loved ones in various area codes, holiday travel is an inevitable part of the holiday experience. If you have some time to relax on your journey – or are simply looking for something to keep the children entertained on the road – WPT’s online video library has you covered!

Here are five online holiday favorites that run the gamut from music to craft to Wisconsin-made programs. All of the shows below are available to stream on video.wpt.org and on the PBS channel of your Roku or other digital device.

Trust us: this list is just the tip of PBS’ holiday programming iceberg! You can explore the full collection online, anytime.

Caregivers, take note: the PBS KIDS app and pbskids.org/video/ let you stream full episodes of PBS KIDS programs, including holiday favorites from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat and more! 

Read inside for some of our favorites – and let us know what gems you find!

Continue reading Dashing Through the Snow? Five Holiday Favorites to Watch on the Go!

Director’s Cut: Roger Rapoport, Richard Riehle and “Pilot Error”

On this week’s Director’s Cut, it is my pleasure to welcome two very esteemed guests to discuss the film Pilot Error. The film’s producer, Roger Rapoport and renowned character actor, Richard Riehle, join me in studio. Rapoport is one of the most innovative producers I’ve met in the indie game when it comes to getting films made, from lining up financing all the way through post production. Riehle has appeared in over three hundred films and made countless television appearances. Two of his most notable credits include Office Space and Casino. Riehle is a native Wisconsinite, born and raised in Menomonee Falls.

Pilot Error is an ambitious project for an indie producer but Rapoport and his team were up for the challenge. When a film involves a plane crash, it’s hard not to think “big studio budget.” The film has a nice narrative about an investigative reporter who loses a friend in a plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean, and loses her job to uncover the truth. The production value is excellent for an indie film. Emmy Award-winning composer Garth Neustadter scored the film.

Pilot Error has not only played in hundreds of theaters thanks to an ambitious self-distribution campaign, it has also helped change regulations in the airline industry and bring awareness to issues such as faulty equipment. Rapoport is as proud of the whistle blowing aspect of his film as he is of the film itself. Continue reading Director’s Cut: Roger Rapoport, Richard Riehle and “Pilot Error”

First look at Sherlock Season 4… and some extra tidbits

Flip up your coat collars, Cumberbunnies and… Watseekers? The First Look trailer for Season 4 of Sherlock went live yesterday, as Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) and Amanda Abbington (Mary Watson) joined executive producers Mark Gatiss (also Mycroft Holmes) and Steven Moffat on a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Let’s watch.

We last saw our friends when the deliciously gaslit Sherlock: The Abominable Bride aired on Masterpiece on New Year’s Day. As of July 24, the team was two weeks from finishing filming for Season 4.

So … what do we see? Continue reading First look at Sherlock Season 4… and some extra tidbits

Director’s Cut: J.T. Arbogast & “Angel’s Perch”

This week on Director’s Cut, we welcome writer-producer-actor J.T. Arbogast to discuss his film Angel’s Perch. Arbogast, who makes his home in Los Angeles, hails from West Virginia. It’s a place he is still very fond of and where Angel’s Perch was shot. He was happy to come to Madison to discuss his passion project which hit very close to home and was semi-autobiographical.

Angel’s Perch is about hot-shot architect Jack, who is handed the project of a lifetime. At the same time, he is dealing with the death of his young wife, and his grandmother’s ailing health and dementia. Yes, the film has a lot going on emotionally, but Arbogast and his team pull it off. The plot has a little something for everyone, from young busy professionals more focused on their careers to those who know or have dealt with relatives dealing with a family member with dementia. Arbogast is a good actor and portrays an earnest and compassionate leading man as his story unfolds. 

In addition to writing chops, Arbogast has an eye for comedy and a background as well. He studied improv comedy for years and brought his talents to this personal story. Angel’s Perch is peppered with comedy throughout the film and it is well placed. It happens just when the viewer needs a break from heavier plot moments. Angel’s Perch is folksy and will tug on the heart strings just the right amount and make you laugh a little, too. Join us this Saturday night at 10 p.m. for Director’s Cut and Director’s Cut Presents on Wisconsin Public Television…your home for independent film!

New Ken Burns: Jackie Robinson

Ken Burns’ newest documentary, Jackie Robinson, goes way beyond baseball and can turn anyone (even yours truly) into a fan.

The film – premiering 8 p.m. Monday, April 11 – draws you into mid-century America through sports, the civil rights movement, and an incredibly charismatic, strong ball player named Jackie.

My favorite aspect of Jackie Robinson (and of all Ken Burns’ films, really) is how it shows a deeply human side of this iconic superstar. Jackie’s relationship with his wife, Rachel, is so inspiring. They seem like an indomitable team, and I’m so glad she contributes her voice to the story. It gives a depth and perspective to their experience that I truly appreciate.

This movie also adds another layer of nuance and perspective to my understanding of race relations in the U.S. I can’t help but watch this film and think of how far we’ve come, and how much we still have to accomplish. The resistance to change that shows up in this documentary feels uncomfortably familiar, and some of the frustrations and inequalities that come through in the movie are still being experienced today. Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson serves as a powerful reminder that we can do more, and we can expect more of ourselves.