An opera about the decline of Christianity? Hm, interesting

Written by By Lucy Thomas, CNN Each week, CNN presents its picks for must-see documentaries in the UK, Italy, Germany, France and across the Atlantic. This week, CNN introduces viewers to the fascinating world…

An opera about the decline of Christianity? Hm, interesting

Written by By Lucy Thomas, CNN

Each week, CNN presents its picks for must-see documentaries in the UK, Italy, Germany, France and across the Atlantic.

This week, CNN introduces viewers to the fascinating world of “The Oratorio,” a television play made up of 1,926 characters, and “Dexter: New Blood,” a series that traces the rise and fall of the popular Showtime series.

In “The Oratorio,” BBC Radio drama director Arthur Hiller tries to create a musical opera out of a typewritten script that questions the Western tradition of kings and queens and Christianity’s non-negotiable role in society. “I wanted to write something clever, topical and personal,” Hiller says. “The Oratorio” is broadcast in the UK on BBC4 on March 12 and 12 at 9 p.m. local time

William Roache performs “Aria Bianche” from “The Comedians”. Credit: Channel 4

New blood

In September 2013, in the final episode of “Dexter,” the show’s lead character Dexter Morgan, a skilled sociopath who spares lives and tests boundaries, suffers a tragic act of violence. The morbid instigation gave rise to a year-long dramatic reworking of the finale. “Dexter: New Blood,” a six-part series from America’s Showtime, charts the later years of the show’s protagonist Dexter Morgan, played by the British actor William Roache.

Also airing in the UK on Channel 4 at 9 p.m. local time is “King of Scots,” a five-part documentary exploring the “unholy alliance between royalty and literature,” which was released on YouTube last week. It includes interviews with revered novelist Jane Austen, soldier and publisher John Buchan and royal expert Charles West, who describes King James I as “the first literary monarch.”

But if you were wondering what the future holds for Dexter, don’t fret: Walter White’s successor “Better Call Saul” will soon hit the airwaves. The first episodes of “Better Call Saul” were made available to US viewers on AMC for free via its digital partners — leading the comedian of the moment, Ricky Gervais, to suggest that streaming competitors need to quit airing original programming. He later backtracked, saying he only meant the cable networks.

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