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Friday, July 23, 2010: <i>The Pillars of the Earth</i>

Yeah! Bring on the dragons! Nothing like a good sword-and-sorcery series to get the blood-- what? That's Game of Thrones? And it comes out next year? Well, what's this, then? The story of the construction of a cathedral during the Anarchy period of British history, and the sex, war, scandal and political gamesmanship that go along with it? Really? And it's on Starz? Well, unless the Anarchy had a lot of slow-motion and spurting blood, I don't think it will keep the Spartacus fans quiet for long. However, it does sound like the perfect replacement for Party Down!

Okay, maybe not, but it certainly has an equally impressive (if less funny) cast: Ian McShane, Donald Sutherland and Rufus Sewell are the headliners, with lesser-known Brits Matthew McFayden, Sarah Parish, Eddie Redmayne and Hayley Atwell backing them up. Plus, Tony Curran (Vincent Van Gogh from Doctor Who) plays a king! Always nice to spot a Doctor Who alum in a British TV production. It makes one feel cultured, although if you can make it through all eight hours of this historical drama, you can consider yourself cultured, indeed. Or if you've already read the 1989 Ken Follett book. But not if you only read the book because Oprah recommended it in 2007. Culture revoked!

The Pillars of the Earth airs tonight at 10/9C on Starz. The mini-series will air two hours tonight and another hour every Friday.

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