In the last few years, original British dramas like Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Misfits have become international hits with considerable fandoms. Hypable’s Harri Sargeant takes a look at new upcoming dramas that could match the popularity and quality of their predecessors.

As American broadcasters have announced their fall line-ups over the last few weeks, it looks like we are in for another turbulent year of television. From the controversial Elementary and jumping-on-the-bandwagon Beauty and The Beast to the eagerly anticipated Revolution and dare-we-get-our-hopes-up Arrow, it looks like the United States will be treating the world to a massive range of new dramas and comedies of varying quality. In recent weeks we have been bombarded with announcements, teasers and promos in an effort to court loyal viewers a couple of months early.

Over here in Britain though, we do things a bit differently. Instead of a big, glitzy ceremony and months of speculation, our channels simply commission a series quietly when they are presented with something that interests them. It may be a more artistically credible approach to green-lighting drama, but it can make it difficult to choose what you intend to watch. As an ambassador and passionate fan of the dramatic works of my home country (nearly all of the fandoms I cover for Hypable are British-made television shows), I try my best to stay informed about the sluggish trickle of announcements. For those of you who don’t live in the U.K. or miss the muted announcements – and it’s all too easy to do so – I’ve collated a list of upcoming British dramas that you should look out for. Here’s hoping that it will help you find something to watch when you get a craving for tea, Union Jacks and miserable weather.

Wizards vs. Aliens


“Tom Clarke is a seemingly ordinary boy who loves football. He lives with his dad Michael and grandmother Ursula in an ordinary house in an ordinary street – but there’s something different about Tom. He has an astonishing secret – his family are Wizards! When the alien Nekross arrive on Earth hungry for magic, there’s big, big trouble in store for all wizardkind.

“With the help of his friend and science super-brain Benny, Tom must stop them – but will these two unlikely heroes succeed, or will the Nekross devour all the magic on Earth with disastrous results for the whole planet?”

It sounds like a ludicrous concept, but this new children’s drama is the creation of Russell T. Davies, the man the world has to thank for bringing Doctor Who back to our screens and cementing its place in the psyche of a whole new generation. While Wizards vs. Aliens seems more Sarah Jane Adventures than Torchwood, don’t let the family-friendly premise put you off. Rusty is a master of genre-bending television, and WvsA could become essential viewing for all ages.

Due to air in autumn 2012.

Watch if you like: Doctor Who

Bert and Dickie


“Thrown together just five weeks before the final of the 1948 London Olympics, Bert Bushnell and Dickie Burnell not only pushed physical and emotional limits, but also rose above distinctions of birth and class to become Olympic gold medallists.

“Bert and Dickie’s personal battle reflects a much greater struggle as London prepares to host the Olympic Games. In 1948, just three years after the end of the Second World War, London is half-destroyed. But, determined not to “let the Games die”, the British Olympic Committee convinces Prime Minister Attlee that the Olympics could help bring the country back together – and the Austerity Olympics are born.”

The name of star Matt Smith is enough to ensure that this television movie is universally popular, with the actor taking a break from traversing time and space as The Doctor to star alongside Sam Hoare in a touching period drama about two unlikely heroes. The drama carefully coincides with the start of this year’s London Olympics, and is sure to be a feel-good affair to get even the laziest couch potato in the mood for a hundred meter sprint.

No U.K. air date has yet been set.

Watch if you like: Christopher and His Kind, Downton Abbey

Mayday


“When a young girl goes missing on her way to the Mayday parade, the small community in which she lives looks to one another for answers.

“But beneath the picture-postcard idyll lies a sinister other world and the dark woods teem with myth.

“As the community reels from Hattie’s disappearance, the drama follows the mass hysteria and ensuing search from the point of view of the central characters, each of whom fears that someone they know is responsible. As they keep silent, their suspicions intensify over the course of the five episodes.”

From the makers of Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, and Hustle comes a unique take on the mystery genre starring Spooks alumni Peter Firth. Mayday is my most anticipated new drama of the year, and the most likely to reach fandom stardom. Combining crime and fairytale lore, this fascinating concept mash-up is definitely one to watch.

Due to air July 1.

Watch if you like: Once Upon A Time, Life On Mars

Me and Mrs. Jones


“Created and written by Oriane Messina and Fay Rusling (Green Wing, Campus), directed by Nick Hurran (Outside Edge, Doctor Who) and produced by Serena Cullen (Rules Of Love), the series follows the increasingly complex life of Mrs. Jones (Alexander) as she balances love, affection, sex and motherhood between an ex-husband, one grown-up son, two young daughters and male admirers with a 20-year age gap.”

Featuring the dream-team pairing of Misfits star Robert Sheehan and Sherlock maker Hartswood Films, Me and Mrs. Jones has all the makings of a comedy classic. Expect to see the high production values of Sherlock coupled with Sheehan’s trademark one liners and dry wit in what could be this year’s funniest series.

No U.K. air date has yet been set.

Watch if you like: Misfits, Coupling

Derek


“Derek Noakes is a tender, innocent man whose love for his job and the people he cares for shines through.

“He’s 49, adores animals, Rolf Harris, Jesus, Deal or No Deal, Million Pound Drop and Britain’s Got Talent – but his main hobby is autograph hunting.

“Derek works in a retirement home with his mate and landlord, Dougie. Derek cares deeply for old people because they’re kind and funny and tell him stories about the olden days.

“Hannah is a care worker at the home and is Derek’s best friend. She’s smart, witty and hard-working, but unlucky in love, and, like Derek, always puts other people first.”

Commissioned for a full series after the spectacular success of an initial one-off episode, the latest offering from the controversial creator of The Office and Extras shows a more sensitive side to Ricky Gervais without losing any of his boundary-pushing humour. Derek is a character you can really root for, and the show’s awkward humour and surprising poignancy will undoubtedly make for compelling viewing.

Due to air in early 2013.

Watch if you like: Life’s Too Short

Will you be looking out for any of these new shows?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reviews from theater critics are glowing, so when the hell can Americans get a chance to see the play in New York?

With just days to go until The Cursed Child script book is released around the world, The New York Post’s theater reporter has spoken to sources who say the play will be coming to Broadway sooner rather than later. Producers are currently holding discussions to bring the play to NY as early as 2017.

They haven’t yet announced a Broadway engagement for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” but New York theater people say it’s only a matter of time. Word is that Friedman and Callender are in negotiations for a Shubert theater possibly for next season. They may hit Toronto first, however.

The idea of The Cursed Child hitting Broadway so soon (“next season” could mean around May 2017) will come as a relief to American Harry Potter fans who would rather not travel overseas to see “the eighth story” (though it’s a little more affordable to do so right now thanks to #Brexit). It also speaks to this important fact: It’s important to see The Cursed Child rather than reading it.

If the show does go to Toronto first as The New York Post suggests it might, a trip to Canada would also be easier for Americans. Sorry, people who don’t live in North America.

This writer saw the play in June and absolutely loved the characters and magic happening on stage. But the story is… not the best. I’m very eager to see what fans, myself included, think of the story after reading the script book this weekend.

For her part, Rowling has promised that fans around the world will get to see the play. Only time will tell if she’s hinting at a movie or a world tour:

If ‘Cursed Child’ comes to Broadway next year, will you try to see it ASAP?

The West End production currently has dates running into May 2017, but additional dates are expected to go on sale in early August.

Barnes & Noble has announced that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is already a gigantic hit. In fact, it’s the most pre-ordered book since Deathly Hallows.

It’s been 9 years since J.K. Rowling publsihed Deathly Hallows in the summer of 2007, but Harry Potter fans are evidently still eager for more stories from the Wizarding World. In a press release on Monday, the biggest book chain in the United States revealed that they haven’t seen pre-orders this huge since the last Harry Potter book.

deathly-hallows-book-cover

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is Barnes & Noble’s most pre-ordered book since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and we expect it to be our biggest selling book of the year,” said Mary Amicucci, Chief Merchandising Officer at Barnes & Noble in a press release. “To guarantee that our customers get the new Harry Potter book as quickly as possible, Barnes & Noble is the only national retailer that’s guaranteeing delivery of the book on August 1, for both online and ship-to-home pre-orders placed by noon ET on Friday, July 29. Our booksellers are also preparing to host big crowds for our signature Midnight Magic parties on July 30.”

If you’ve passed by a brick and mortar Barnes & Noble in the past few months you’ve probably seen the heavy promotion they’ve been doing. Headers that state “HARRY POTTER IS BACK” will clearly entice people to pre-order.


HARRY POTTER IS BACK! (Spotted at a Barnes & Noble) #harrypotterforever #harrypotter

A photo posted by Hypable.com (@hypable) on

In a report from the Wall Street Journal earlier this month we learned that Scholastic was printing 4.5 million copies of “the eighth story” for the United States and Canada. This is a far cry from the 12 million printed for Deathly Hallows, but still a very large print run for a book in modern times. (Also worth noting: Many readers have switched to eBooks in the years since Deathly Hallows.)

It’s nice to see that Harry Potter fans haven’t lost their interest in the series. Perhaps the success will inspire J.K. Rowling to continue writing within Harry’s world?

The book has also been a huge success on Amazon. The Cursed Child has sat at the top of the online retailer’s bestseller list for months.

Hypable will have lots of coverage surrounding The Cursed Child once it’s released this weekend. Stay tuned! AHHHH!

Sherlock finally made it to Hall H at Comic-Con and the creative team brought a few surprises. Steven Moffatt, Sue Vertue, Mark Gatiss, Amanda Abbington, and Benedict Cumberbatch were on hand to the thrill of fans.

Benedict Cumberbatch and crew definitely know how to work a crowd. Here are the top highlights of the panel that played to a crowd of thousands.

1. Season 4

They are currently two weeks from finishing Sherlock season 4. Cumberbatch said that “a lot comes home to roost this season… it’s ballsy.”

They have 26 pages to film this Tuesday. Cumberbatch states that the monologues are very challenging and take a lot of work.

As for actors’ favorite lines this season:

Gatiss: “Sherlock.”

Abington: Not a line but a beckoning gesture.

Cumberbatch: Can’t say.

Key names for next season (change from doing key words):

  • Moffat: Smith
  • Gatiss: Thatcher
  • Vertue: Sherinford

2. Keeping the show fresh

By not making as many episodes, the creators feel they actually keep the quality. They joked that under normal standards they’ve actually made about half a season of a standard TV show, or 13 episodes.

There are no plans for any other Victorian Era shows. Moffat feels that it would be less interesting if the mind palace returned there.

3. Learning curves and drugs

Gatiss stated that with 90-minute episodes you “really have to put [Sherlock and Watson] through the ringer.” Moffat added that because of this, Watson has to evolve. Watson can’t keep being amazed by Sherlock. As for Sherlock, “he can’t be the weird scary amoral man we met in the first episode… geniuses learn… he has to learn.”

Sherlock’s drug addiction comes back when he is not working. It’s hinted that the addiction will be a bigger issue this season than in the past.

4. The coat and the hair

There is apparently a big debate every year over changing the iconic coat. Sue Vertue wants to change it, and Steven Moffat wants to keep it. Benedict Cumberbatch dove into the debate stating, “I’m quite hung up on the coat…. but sometimes it has to come off.” The audience reaction was predictable.

Cumberbatch joked that he loved playing Sherlock in the Victorian era because of the slicked back hair. In the modern era it takes forever for his hair to get done. On a serious note, he loved the more straight-laced, clipped version of Sherlock.

5. First ‘Sherlock’ season 4 trailer

The teaser trailer featured this phrase over and over: “Something’s coming. It may be Moriarity, maybe not.” Literally every character we know and love looks like they are scared, angry, or worried on an epic scale.

One of the best moments is Mrs. Hudson saying with supreme venom to Mycroft, “Get out of my house you reptile.” Watch below:

6. Improv and family

There is actually, according to Cumberbatch, very little improvisation on set. It’s about how to do what’s there, and not messing with the script. He firmly believes that what is there is what is needed for the show.

Cumberbatch genuinely loves having his mom and dad play his TV mom and dad. Every now and then he can see his mother struggle to call him “Sherlock” and not “Ben.”

7. Mary in the know

Abbington didn’t know she was an assassin until well into the last season. When she found out, she told partner Martin Freeman, “My God, [the fans] are going to hate me.” Despite this, she loves the flawed characters of the series.

8. When will the series return?

No date was given for either the BBC release date or the PBS release date. We only know that it will premiere in 2017.

9. The dog photo

According to Cumberbatch the dog (depicted above) was a nightmare. “The dog wouldn’t fucking move,” he said. The companion was supposed to drag Sherlock all over London, but the dog didn’t like people, concrete, crowds… really anything about an urban setting.

Moffat and Gatiss resorted to writing a new scene on the spot to account for the lack of the dog’s interest in roaming. According to Gatiss all it did was drool on the concrete.

10. Future seasons?

Touching on the future of the series, Moffat stated, “Why is everybody assuming they survive season 4?” Gatiss joked, “We’re skipping season 5 and doing season 6.”

Moffat clarified that — contrary to recent reports — he never said that this season would be the last one (He’s right: All he said was the schedules of Cumberbatch and Freeman are only getting more difficult to work with). Gatiss added that they want to do more seasons, and they hope that they are able to.

Sherlock will be back in 2017. What do you think of the first season 4 trailer?