Ian McKellan and Derek Jacobi
PBS is getting back into the sitcom business this Sunday with Vicious, a British series starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi. The show, which has already been picked up for a second season in the U.K., stars McKellen and Jacobi as an elderly gay couple that have been together for 50 years — and given how much they enjoy hurling insults at each other, it shows. Gary Janetti is the sole writer and executive producer on the show; his past credits include Will & Grace and Family Guy. Janetti filled out our TV Guide Magazine Showrunner Survey to explain why we should get Vicious.
Christopher Eccleston and Justin Theroux
"Everybody's ready to feel better," says the mayor of a suburban Anytown that acts as a microcosm of a shattered world in HBO's existentially bleak The Leftovers (Sunday, 10/9c). And chances are you'll require your own pick-me-up after sampling the darkest and most problematic of a new wave of end-times summer series that includes TNT's gung-ho hit The Last Ship and FX's upcoming vampire-virus horror-show The Strain (July 13). With Leftovers, it's a morose case of...
Last Tango in Halifax
Anyone seeking momentary relief from the dazzling darkness of the anti-hero vogue so prevalent on Sunday nights — epitomized by Breaking Bad's harrowing race to the finish line — will find a delightful tonic in PBS's Last Tango in Halifax (Sunday, check tvguide.com listings), a winning romance about two widowed seventysomethings and their supportive but screwed-up families.
Not a meth dealer (Bad), serial killer (Dexter), bootlegger (Boardwalk Empire) or brooding bully of a fixer (Ray Donovan) in sight, but life is still not without its complications in Halifax, a six-part charmer blessed with instant chemistry between the esteemed Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid (from the recent Upstairs, Downstairs remake) as Alan and Celia, lonely pensioners and former childhood pals who reconnect on Facebook after 60 years and impulsively decide to take a second chance on love.
Cheers to The Borgias for bringing Derek Jacobi back where he belongs: in a steamy Roman period piece.
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The magnificent British actor first made his name with American audiences as the titular stuttering Roman emperor in the gleefully hedonistic '70s miniseries I, Claudius. Since then, he's appeared in myriad period pieces...