Treme and The Hour to Make Belated Comebacks

SoHo at last will premiere the latest seasons of The Hour and Treme.

Season two of the former and season three of the latter will go to air in February.

Whereas SoHo screens most of its HBO, Showtime and AMC fare within weeks of the US channels, both The Hour and Treme have had their returns delayed by several months.

The BBC news drama, which is set a year after the first series, in 1957, will bow on SoHo six months after its BBC transmission while Treme will resume five months on from its HBO run.

SoHo’s strategy with Treme was to try to build momentum for the third season by re-running seasons one and two in the 9.30 Wednesday slot (season three begins on February 27).

But the reasoning behind The Hour’s delay has more to do with contractural reasons.

“Timing of broadcast is agreed with the distributor at the negotiation stage,” says SoHo’s publicist.

“In the instance of The Hour, we will air it as soon as we are able to within our licence period.”

Although The Hour has been awarded the plum 8.30 Monday slot, starting February 11, neither it nor Treme would be among SoHo’s most poopular shows — which, presumably, is another reason why the channel hasn’t been in a hurry to screen them.

But critics suggest the wait will have been worth it.

“Though the new season isn’t any kind of radical transformation — Treme is what it is, and anyone waiting for it to turn into The Wire: Port of Call New Orleans had best give up hope — it does feel like the best one yet,” HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall judged.

“Many will still watch and wonder, ‘Is that all you got?'” Slant magazine observed.

“But those who get down in the groove with Treme’s own unique rhythms may be surprised to find it’s got more than enough.”

But The New Yorker thought it “a mixed bag … The show is, as ever, full of raucous musical performances—sequences so good that they rescue the slower episodes.

“But there are also excessively on-the-nose moments, when we’re told what to think and whom to root for, and, in a few plots, there’s a muffled virtue that deadens drama.”

The Hour somehow manages to be even better than it was last year,” the San Francisco Chronicle reckons.

“How good is it? Much as I love Downton Abbey, The Hour is even more compelling, thanks in large part to Abi Morgan, creator and writer of the series about a group of BBC TV journalists in the ’50s, trying to balance personal lives with a frenzied commitment to covering the news of the day no matter who gets knocked around by the details.”

Variety, however, was more reserved: “This second Hour remains an interesting historical document, but at least initially appears more determined to replicate qualities that distinguished the first rather than advance them.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian observed The Hour’s return in Britain, amid the Panorama/Jimmy Savile controversy, couldn’t have been more timely.

“The BBC’s flagship current affairs programme is in difficulties and its future is in the balance.

The Hour is engaged in battles of its own, against both the smooth Hector Madden (Dominic West), who thinks he’s getting too big for the show, and the climbing ratings of an ITV rival.

“It’s not quite on the scale of an inquest into the competence of its journalism, but whoever scheduled the return of The Hour couldn’t have asked for better timing.”

Also new to SoHo in February will be season two of Durham County and season six of The Sopranos, following a box set weekend of season five.

There also will be box set weekends of Boardwalk Empire’s third season, the first seasons of The Hour and Line of Duty, and season seven of Dexter while Veep will re-run 9pm Thursdays from February 14.

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