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'Mad Men' Withdrawal? Watch 'The Hour'


Dominic West, Ben Whishaw and Romola Garai in "The Hour." Courtesy of BBC

The fact that networks scheduled three retro shows--"PanAm," "The Hour," "The Playboy Club"--to premiere during the serious lapse of "Mad Men" screentime this summer could have people skittish over at AMC. But of course it will come down to how each is executed to see if people actually get addicted. The fact that "The Hour" (which premiered on Aug. 17 on BBC America) stars fan faves (and hotties) Dominic Cooper (The Wire) and Ben Whishaw (from the 2008 "Brideshead Revisited") could mean it has the most potential to whet the appetite of those looking for a suitable substitute for '50s style and intrigue.

As Mark Peikert writes in his review: "The Hour has cast a wide net when it comes to potential audiences. The biggest draw is the 1950s time period; set at the BBC in 1956, The Hour follows three brash employees of the titular news show. But there is also an espionage plot, a feminist storyline, a stirring look at dedicated journalists and a love triangle to go with the visual trappings. And what trappings they are! Every color is vivid in a muted, British sort of way set against London's grayness. The Hours is what Broadcast news would have been in the '50s, if Albert Brooks had been a willowy, brilliantined Brit."

You be the judge. "The Hour" is next up on BBC America on Aug. 31 at 10 p.m.

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