I've been eagerly anticipating the BBC One/Starz series, The White Queen, since first reading about it last year. I am mad about historical dramas featuring royals, from movies like La Reine Margot and Elizabeth to TV shows like The Tudors. These stories invariably include lots of pretty people in gorgeous costumes, steamy sex scenes, and so much familial backstabbing that you have no idea who's on whose side at any given moment. Oddly enough, I'd never read a book by Philippa Gregory, the Queen of Historical Fiction, so I decided to dive into The White Queen back in June. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and gave it 5 very enthusiastic stars in my review. I was actually a little worried that the show might not live up to the source material, but I'm happy to report that I loved the first ep of TWQ, which debuted on Starz this past weekend. It's an excellent adaptation of the novel, and I think all of the lead roles were well-cast. Max Irons and Rebecca Ferguson have sizzling chemistry, and they are totally selling the Elizabeth/Edward romance. The story of a young king falling in love with a commoner from a rival house is a compelling one that no romance junkie, myself included, can resist. I look forward to watching the rest of the series and I highly recommend it!
America's Next Top Model is back, and yes, I'm admitting to watching this contrived, cheesetastic show. Where else can I see models do ridiculous things like walk a runway down the side of an insanely tall building, IN THE RAIN (It was like a giant Slip 'N Slide!), or pose for photos depicting "alternative weddings" (i.e. nudists or polygamists getting married.) I was down on this show last season because I was so bummed about judge Nigel Barker and the two Jays (creative director Jay Manuel and runway coach J. Alexander) getting the boot. And I HATE the new social media aspect of the show. It just makes judging confusing, and unless I'm the one getting to vote on who stays and goes, why should I care? But I will give kudos to Tyra for reviving my interest in ANTM this season by making it a Boys vs. Girls competition. This is the first time male models have been included on the show, and I am digging it.
Overall, I think the male models are much stronger than the females (Jourdan and Renee are the only girls who might have a shot), so I'm calling it right now - a male model will win Cycle 20 and my money is on Chris H. because he seems to be the most photogenic. Having said that, my eye candy this season is going to be Phil. He's got a grungy look with longish hair and a bushy beard, which should be a complete turn-off, but the guy is hot! I can't decide if I want Tyra to clean him up in the makeover ep this week or let him keep his au naturel look because it's quite arresting (so many male models are hairless, baby-faced pretty boys.)
I did some research and found out that this "hobo chic" look is actually a thing for male models right now. Super sexy Australian model, Tom Bull (see pix below), is known for his signature full beard and messy hair, and designers like Gaultier and Yohji Yamamoto have featured shaggy-bearded male models in their runway shows. So, what do you think, ladies? Can the homeless look be hot or do you prefer your eye candy to be well-groomed?
Last, but not least, I want to commend Masterpiece for announcing some exciting new additions to its roster for the upcoming season. I've been moaning and groaning for well-nigh a year about Masterpiece ignoring The Paradise in order to air the also-set-in-a-department-store drama Mr. Selfridge. For the record, I watched the two-hour premiere of Mr. Selfridge and absolutely loathed it, so I didn't bother continuing with the show. I feared that The Paradise would never make it to American TV, so I resorted to "alternative viewing methods" and fell in love with the series. I enjoyed it so much that it now surpasses Downton Abbey in my affections and I can't wait for everyone to see it. Masterpiece is planning to air the show in October (The same time S2 will be debuting in the UK, which means I will still have to rely on those alternative viewing methods unless I want to wait until fall of 2014 to see these new eps and I don't.) So, expect a big Paradise-themed celebration on my blog around that time. Also, in news that will delight all Austen fans, Masterpiece will be airing the adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley that's currently shooting in the UK. It will debut across the pond around Christmas and we'll get it here in early 2014, which isn't too bad as far as lag times go. I cannot wait to see the delicious Matthew Rhys as Darcy!
And that's a wrap on this inaugural column of "The Banister Buzz." I hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to share your thoughts on The White Queen, hirsute men, Doctor Who, and the upcoming Masterpiece season in the comments section below. In closing, I'd like to give a shout-out to two people who were instrumental in the creation of this column - Elizabeth Marx, for suggesting the idea in the first place (She knows how much I like to gab about movies, TV, etc.) and Laura Chapman, for coming up with my wonderful column name and for designing the super cute TBB artwork, which you can see at the top of the post. Thanks, ladies!
See you next time on The Banister Buzz . . .