Dominic West is no Jimmy McNulty in The Hour | BBC

I’m not against movies and TV shows where the characters take center stage. In fact, I rather like it. So many film and TV projects rely way too heavily on car chases, explosions, body counts, heavy artillery and the like. It’s kind of nice to have shows where that isn’t the main thing on the screen.

On the other hand, I wonder if some shows could use a tad more action to keep things breezing along. That’s sort of how I feel about [amazon_link id=”B005ELEMV8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Hour[/amazon_link] right now, although I confess I’ve only watched a few episodes, so the jury’s still out.

The story takes place in Cold War-era England with the Suez Crisis brewing in the background. It centers on a journalist, Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw); a producer, Bel Rowley (Romola Garai); and an anchorman, Hector  (Dominic West, virtually unrecognizable from his Jimmy McNulty character on [amazon_link id=”B004BZ5AFU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Wire[/amazon_link]) who are just starting an investigative, 60 Minutes-type show called The Hour.

In the first episode, there’s a murder, but it’s sort of secondary to the introduction of the main characters mentioned above. There’s also a suicide (no blood, but kind of a grisly hanging scene). We also learn that Freddie has a thing for Bel, but she sees him as just a friend. She’s the sort of plucky female I love in these types of shows.

As mentioned, not a lot of action (so far), but I love the spot-on period details of 1950s London – the cars, clothes, cocktails, hairstyles, etc. I can see how some critics might compare it to [amazon_link id=”B0038M2AOG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mad Men[/amazon_link], but it’s a very different type of show. Definitely worth checking out, though, if you like espionage thrillers with lots of character development.

The problem with so many BBC shows is that there are only six episodes. Just as you’re getting into it, wham! That’s all she wrote and you’re stuck waiting til whenever they decide to air another season. I’m still waiting for [amazon_link id=”B004132I20″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Sherlock[/amazon_link]; the second season will air sometime in 2012, two years after season one.  That’s too long, people! 

Here’s the trailer for The Hour: