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Lie back and think of England.

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Where are your muddy hems now?Helen Mirren‘s getting a crack at putting that pursed-mouth regal thing she’s been working on to the test — she’s playing Queen Elizabeth I in a lavish (of course) BBC miniseries currently in production. Interestingly, IMDb has her scheduled to then play Queen Elizabeth II in Stephen Frears’ "The Queen," "an intimate behind the scenes glimpse at the interaction between HM Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair during their struggle, following the death of Diana." If only we had royalty to make movies about! Then we could stop shipping older actresses off to be boiled and rendered into collagen and injected back into the lips of the still young and nubile. Sally Williams interviews Mirren for the Telegraph, which also provides you with a timeline of the monarch’s life and a slideshow of all those who’ve played the good Queen Bess on screen to date.

But why would you want to deal with the unpleasantries of life more than 200 years ago? As John Robinson at the Guardian points out:

You can remake the Elizabeth I story all you want – no one will be feeling a show where chicks have wooden teeth. The 19th century, though? Now you’re really sending out copperplate invitations to a man with £5,000 a year. It gave us enduringly British things such as the north/south divide, soap and the industrial accident, but most importantly, the 19th century gave us the hang-up and the thin veil of civility. And that’s something nearly everyone can work with.

Robinson’s extremely quotable deconstruction of the essential elements of any period drama is the best part of the Guardian and Observer’s recent block about another extremely British upcoming film: Joe Wright‘s "Pride & Prejudice." Other pieces include Robert McCrum‘s examination of Jane Austen’s enduring appeal (the same damn piece they run every time an Austen film comes out — yes, yes, yes, she was writing romantic comedies before there were even romantic comedies, but we’re sure she’d find the previews for "Just Like Heaven" as eye-roll-inducing as the rest of us…and also, are they going to use that Cure song? Because that seems so…wrong.) and Liz Hoggard‘s interview with Wright, in which she tries to tempt some gossip out of him, and is thwarted:

You sense that eyebrows must have been raised when he didn’t want to cast Keira Knightley. "I thought Lizzie Bennet maybe should be someone slightly plainer. Darcy’s attracted to her because of the liveliness of her mind. But then when I met Keira I discovered her to be this incredibly vital, independent-minded, scruffy tomboy. There are so many actresses out there who look alike with their perfectly ironed hair. I like actors who surprise me."

Will Hodgkinson interviews Rosamond Pike, who’s playing Jane Bennet, and also starring as Dr. Grimm in video game adaptation "Doom," and over at the London Times, Garth Pearce talks to Jena Malone, who’s playing the youngest Bennet sister, Lydia.

+ Monarch of the moment (Telegraph)
+ The life of Liz (Telegraph)
+ The Queen on the screen (Telegraph)
+ Period detail (Guardian)
+ Austen powers (Observer)
+ Meet the puppet master (Observer)
+ Bodice ripper (Guardian)
+ Jena Malone: the Bennet’s naughty little sister (London Times)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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