Americans have to wait until January 2013 for the third season of Downton Abbey, but in the meantime, PBS has imported another British period drama series to air this fall. Call the Midwife—about a group of bicycle-riding, newly-trained midwives working out of a nursing convent in East London in the 1950s—was a huge hit in the UK, and actually beat the second season of Downton Abbey in ratings. The show, based on the best-selling memoirs by Jennifer Worth, follows young, fairly inexperienced midwives working in the midst of a baby boom shortly after the NHS came into effect in England. Sure, the clothing isn't as fancy with Eastenders as with the aristocratic Crawleys, but giving birth is surely bound to bring on a significant amount of drama. Besides, you can't get much more female-centric than a show completely about nuns, nurses and pregnant ladies.
This show is absolutely magnificent. I won't say I love it more than Downton, but it's hands down a much better written series, and is very entertaining. I can't speak highly enough. Almost every character is heartrendingly endearing, and Vanessa Redgrave narrates!
Also, I'm absolutely furious that Naomi Watts is playing Princess Diana in that upcoming biopic and Jessica Raine (lead in Call the Midwife) is not. The shots of Naomi in makeup on set look absolutely ludicrous, while Jessica Raine is the perfect unknown ingenue, with a porcelain dolls face to boot.