We here at HBOWatch are just as intrigued by PARADE”S END as many of you are and our questions are the same as yours as well. Just when is the joint HBO-BBC Worldwide production going to air on our channel of choice? This post tries to theorize the possibilities.
As we well know PARADE’S END has already aired in the UK. Its first episode aired back on August 24th on BBC2 and a new installment aired each Friday night for four more weeks. Those five episodes were written by acclaimed writer Tom Stoppard and directed by Susannah White. The piece stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall and Adelaide Clemens as the leads. It is the story of a love triangle that develops between the old-fashioned Christopher Tietjens (Cumberbatch), his vindictive wife Sylvia (Hall) and a young suffragette Valentine (Clemens) all played out against the backdrop of World War I. I caught one brief notation of its standings on BBC2; it had 3.5 million viewers for its first episode, making it the channel’s most watched drama since ROME aired in 2005. The second episode had a drop in ratings with 2.2 million viewers. So what about us American viewers? When is our chance to see this grand story unfold on HBO? Well, I have a theory that could be off-base but I offer it nonetheless.
I predict February 2013 is when PARADE”S END will be shown! Follow the logic.
If HBO is going to show PARADE”S END in the same format as the BBC did then it will need a window of five nights to do so. That is either five nights in a row or the same night each week. Of course, some nights of the week are better than others and Saturdays are reserved for theatrical premieres and Sundays feature original series, so HBO must be wondering how best to play the film for its audience. Will they show it as a mini-series like BAND OF BROTHERS or will they fiddle with the format and air them in a Part 1 and a Part 2 format like MILDRED PIERCE? All that must factor in when finding the best window to premiere the work.
If you are still following my logic then consider the next few months.
OCTOBER is upon us and HBO FILMS: THE GIRL is the big premiere of the month.
NOVEMBER is moving into Holiday time and HBO traditionally offers lighter fare after wrapping up the
DECEMBER is even worse with it being a slow time on TV due to the Holidays and HBO focuses on family fare and comedy specials that month.
JANUARY will have HBO launching the winter season of originals. In 2013 we already know the second seasons of GIRLS and ENLIGHTENED will premiere that month.
MARCH is totally out of the question because GAME OF THRONES will dominate then so, FEBURARY seems the likely month to present PARADE’S END.
Now this is all guesswork and we promise as soon as we know anything for sure HBOWatch will pass it on. I can foresee the situation where HBO finally airs the project and it receives low numbers because people were no longer able to wait for it and managed to watch it by some other means and, hopefully, HBO will learn from that mistake.
Lastly, to whet your appetite for PARADE’S END here is a brief description of the plot as it aired on BBC2.
- Episode One introduces us to Sylvia and Christopher who are in an unhappy marriage due to the question of parentage of their child. While on vacation Christopher takes acquaintance with Valentine.
- Episode Two finds the married couple keeping up the public perception they are a happy couple as war looms.
- Episode Three finds Christopher dealing with enemies on the front line & at home all the while wrestling with feelings for Valentine.
- Episode Four finds Christopher pulled from the front lines and given an easier post in France Sylvia safely visits him there.
- Episode Five shows us the end of the war and Christopher struggling with which woman to go home to.
Vague, I know, but did you really want us to spoil it for you. Again, as soon as we know the actual premiere date and format that PARADE”S END will air we will share it with you. There is plenty of good programming in the meantime.
UPDATE FROM JACOB: Having seen the show already I’d like to comment on just how amazing this show would be on HBO. It takes place around the same time as Downton Abbey but is much grittier and a bit more realistic (the wife and I are huge fans of both). It’s only 5 episodes so it doesn’t get the chance to simmer the way Downton does but I’d have to say I enjoyed it much more than the first three episode of Downton Abbey season 3 thus far. It is much less predictable and the characters are less idealistic/stereotypical than those in the Abbey. I think this show would work very well on the HBO screen split into two parts (as opposed to 5). And at that length HBO really has no scheduling excuses for not airing it (as they own the rights, I’m sure).
We’ve heard your cries on the scheudle page asking for a premiere date and we’re doing our best to find answers for you! More as we get it.