If "Downton Abbey" met "Titanic," you might get -- well, "Titanic," a four-hour miniseries from "Downton" scribe Julian Fellowes, airing 8-11 p.m. Saturday and 9-10 p.m. Sunday on ABC. The final hour coincides with the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking.
ABC bills "Titanic," which has already debuted in Great Britain to critical disappointment, as "a retelling of the doomed voyage that cleverly weaves action, mystery and romance." It "features both fictional and historical characters," the network says, "ranging from steerage passengers and crew to upper-class guests and staff. . . . Each hour follows similar events from different points of view, culminating in a cliffhanger, as the ship begins to founder, and building to an explosive conclusion in the final hour that draws together all the stories."
Onboard, in first class, are Linus Roache ("Law & Order") as Hugh, Earl of Manton, and Geraldine Somerville as his wife, Louisa. Perdita Weeks is "their reluctant daughter, Georgianna, a suffragette." Also in the huge cast, below deck and above, are David Calder as Captain Smith, Brian McCardie and Steven Waddington as his first and second officers, Toby Jones (My Week With Marilyn") as Irish lawyer John Batley, Maria Doyle Kennedy ("The Tudors")as his wife and James Wilby ("Gosford Park") as Bruce Ismay, head of the steamship line. Linda Kash is Margaret "Unsinkable Molly" Brown.
Although the sinking of the Titanic has figured in TV period pieces from "Upstairs, Downstairs" to Fellowes' "Downton Abbey," the last time the disaster got miniseries treatment was in 1996, when CBS rushed a two-night drama starring George C. Scott onto the screen to capitalize on buzz from James Cameron's forthcoming theatrical "Titanic." Despite an appearance by Catherine Zeta-Jones as a heroic passenger, the miniseries was generally panned.
Ditto for this new "Titanic."
From St. Louis Post-Dispatch