The Watchman: And Then There Were Nuns on FX; Good Things Come in Small Packages on HGTV

Black Narcissus
‘Black Narcissus’ on FX (Image credit: FX)

Black Narcissus, a three-part series set in the Himalayas in the ’30s, premieres Nov. 23 on FX. Set at a remote cliff-top palace, Black Narcissus is based on a novel by Rumer Godden. When the young nuns of St. Faith attempt to establish a mission there, the palace’s mysteries awaken forbidden desires that seem destined to repeat a terrible tragedy. 

The series shot in Nepal. Cast members got a kick out of rocking the nun habits. “The costume really helped,” Gemma Arterton, who plays Sister Clodagh, said at a press event. “We were completely constricted, our ears covered. There was nothing you could really do with your body. I found that to be a real anchor.”

The cast bonded in Nepal. It was a long trip to “the middle of nowhere,” said Arterton, with no phone signal once they arrived. Cast members connected over games, food and drink. 

“It was just magic,” she added. “I’m so pleased we got to experience that.”

Executive producer Amanda Coe, who wrote the project, said the lives of nuns is rich material for a series. “The notion of repression is always extremely interesting,” she said. “The idea that you follow rules and have to repress your individuality — that’s always an interesting premise for a drama, because drama is about conflict.”

Biggest Little Christmas Showdown

Biggest Little Christmas Showdown on HGTV (Image credit: HGTV)

Think your home feels a bit tight during the holidays? Wait until you see what’s going on at HGTV. 

Biggest Little Christmas Showdown begins on HGTV Nov. 27. The four-part competition series assembles top miniaturists as they build amazing tiny homes in the spirit of the holidays, the houses full of festive little trimmings. 

HGTV features plenty of unique homes on its air, but the miniature abodes are kind of a new thing for the network. “It’s an area we’ve actually never played in before,” said Loren Ruch, group senior VP, programming and development, HGTV. 

For the first three weeks, the builders, doing their thing in a studio that looks like Santa’s workshop, face off in competitions that include a Hawaiian Christmas and a Dickensian one. Each week’s champ comes together for the final episode. The winner gets their miniature home replicated into a full-size vacation hideaway. 

“They see their super-size dreams come true,” Ruch said. 

The judges are designer Genevieve Gorder and miniatures experts June Clinkscales and Dave Asling. James Monroe Iglehart, who played Genie in the Broadway production of Aladdin and Jefferson in Hamilton, hosts. Ruch called him “a larger-than-life character.”

Biggest Little Christmas Showdown is a unique
take on holiday programming. “It makes every adult feel a little bit of that Christmas morning joy,” promised Ruch.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.