Death Comes to Pemberly (PBS 2014) Review

Death-Comes-to-Pemberley-1920x10802 Sad Kernels

The controversial Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James aired for two episodes.  Rated at 3.1 out of 5 stars in book form on Amazon (for the outrageous Kindle price of $8.64), the story isn’t exactly popular.

I had hoped that Masterpiece Mystery could resurrect the hated sequel in two “thrilling” (PBS’s words-not mine) episodes, Sundays, October 26 and November 2, 2014. Filmed at Chatsworth House with men in ascots, how bad can it be?  Well…

Of course, it is a universal fact that every woman is in want of a handsome and engaging Mr. Darcy. That, of course, is the true test of anything that has to do with Pride & Prejudice. Did Matthew Rhys live up to his multiple predecessors?  Not exactly.

I can see why so many do not care very much for this continuation of the infamous story.  Our first introduction to Mr. Darcy is his screaming voice yelling through Chatsworth House, accompanied by his gloomy persona. He’s not exactly enthralled with Elizabeth’s family, and turns cold even toward her in one scene that frankly made me want to slap him. Where’s the romance? Where is the happily ever after?  If you’re looking for it, you’ll have to assume it arrives at the end of the second episode as it comes to a close.

The story is frankly a bland one, revolving around another one of Wickham’s indiscretions and the consequences.  Elizabeth, believe it or not, stays in the same colored dress the entire two episodes.  If I missed her changing into a different color, perhaps it was because I was blinded by the ugly green she constantly wore.  Her mother, father, Jane, Lady Catherine, all have minor parts and a few lines here and there. Lydia is around more often than the others and air-headed as usual.

Elizabeth, for the most part, seems to agonize over her new life, lack of acceptance in society, Darcy’s embarrassment over her family, and his stubborn, aristocratic airs.  Georgiana is sweet and obliging willing to sacrifice herself for the Darcy name rather than hold out for true love. If I enjoyed anything that gave me a thrill, it was seeing the gorgeous interior of Chatsworth House.  I had planned to visit the Duke of Devonshire’s estate when I last went to England in 2011 but missed the opportunity. Even though the story was dull, the furnishings and interior were breathtaking.

All in all, the Death Comes to Pemberly cannot be categorized as a romantic continuation by any means of the beloved story. It is, after all, on Masterpiece Mystery, set amongst favorite characters, but it’s not exactly an intriguing mystery either.

All in all, I found it mildly boring and unmemorable in the world of Darcy-ism. I suppose one must be happy for Wickham that he escaped the gallows. Perhaps his close call will straighten out the rascal, but I sincerely doubt that he and Lydia ever find a happy ever after.

POST NOTE:  On November 27, 2014, it was announced that P.D. James passed away at the age of 94.  She was well known in the United Kingdom for her crime novels.  Read about her here at BBC News.


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