'Masterpiece: Press' (PBS)
(Charlotte Riley, Ben Chaplin, Priyanga Burford, David Suchet, et al / 2-DVD / PG-13 / 2019 / PBS)
Overview: 'Press' is a sharp, fast-paced series from acclaimed writer Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster) that rips aside the front pages of rival newspapers to reveal the lives, loves, and lies of a dynamic group of journalists.
DVD Verdict: To my mind, and simply put, 'Masterpiece: Press' features excellent casting, great writing, and terrific acting.
I'm no expert on the big bad world of minute-to-minute newspaper journalism, but I do know a good series when I happen upon it. There is just enough edginess to keep you guessing and wanting more and the characters all find their way into your head, one by one.
The basic story line here is that there are two daily papers in London - The Herald, the ethical paper with lower readership, and always on the edge of bankruptcy; and The Post, the newspaper that does whatever it needs to make headlines.
The leaders of the paper’s follow the personality of the editors, thus you have the unethical vs the ethical. Of course, the Post has the charismatic editor, a cheater, who will do whatever is needed, Duncan, played by Ben Chaplin.
The Herald-run by Aminia, and played by Priyanka Burford. The big difference is the journalist, Holly, played by Charlotte Riley, who writes and edits for the Herald. She is the superwoman, who seemingly works night and day to bring the human emotional stories to the fore.
David Suchet plays the owner of the Post, close to the government, and knows every one who can be of use. Powerful and wealthy, of course, is still the name of the game.
This six part series plays Holly against Duncan and it is a relationship that gives us the meaning of ethics. I absolutely loved this series, the acting superb, we root for the good and pure, but we also root for the unethical soul of Duncan, weirdly!
It's difficult to pick out a favorite, but somehow I ended up slightly smitten with (in a platonic way) Leona/Ellie Kendrick.
At first I thought Leona's character was a bit of a drip, but she grew on me. By the end, I was thrilled to see her get more time on screen. Ellie Kendrick is wonderfully talented and highly watchable. I do so love great acting.
Although this series is obviously intended to expose the dilemma of the journalist in balancing the ethical with the sensational and 'fake news', I feel that this interrogation is impeded by the superfluous nature of the way in which this is addressed.
All the usual slings and arrows at all the usual targets - if only we all had the integrity of journalists, all would be well with the world - so if you have the time and you want to see something loaded with intrigue and some fun twists and turns, I recommend 'Masterpiece: Press.' (Not sure I got the bison/buffalo joke, but I think it has to do with "bison" sounding like "basin"!) This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:
Get the inside scoop on the filming of Press from Charlotte Riley, Ben Chaplin, Priyanga Burford, David Suchet, executive producer Faith Penhale, and many others!