Category: Masterpiece Theatre

Sanditon (ITV/PBS) Coming Soon to PBS

5 Kernels

January 12, 2020, PBS Masterpiece will be showing Sanditon in the United States. It has already aired in the United Kingdom and a few other places.  Those who have watched the series are biting their fingernails, waiting for the reaction across the pond that may or may not determine an announcement whether there will be a season two.  Hold onto your hats, ladies, and gents, because the ocean breezes can be strong. So what’s all the fuss about this fictional seaside resort? Well, let me explain.

Sanditon is based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel. She died before finishing the tale. Screenwriter Andrew Davies decided to finish it, along with other writers who worked on the script and brought it to ITV in the United Kingdom earlier this year. The result of those eight episodes has stirred a storm like none other Jane Austen adaptation on screen thanks to the number of viewers that fall into two camps.

The Jane Austen purists were aghast at the storyline, as it contained nudity (bare male behinds running into the cold waters), too many sexual innuendos, free-flowing hairstyles, and men and women acting non-Regency style. (How dare he kiss her and not propose!) The ending added to the horror of it all, which I will discuss later.

In the other camp are throngs of women who have lost all senses and become absolute fanatics about the series. If you don’t believe me, you need to check out the Sanditon Facebook fan group.  I make no judgment about their often desperate and humorous posts. They only want one thing in life – a second season. Andrew Davies had the nerve to leave its viewers heartbroken in a very un-Jane Austen like ending with no happiness in sight.  How dare he? Well, the women of Sanditon fandom will hear none of it, and they have been on a mission to hound ITV, Red Planet Pictures, the stars, the producers, and whoever they can find to continue the story.  Will they?  Apparently, no announcement will be made until after it airs in the United States. Today the following was posted from the official Sanditon websites:

“We are so happy you enjoyed your trip to Sanditon! We are setting sail for the US and won’t have news to share with you on a second series until the show has aired there. In the meantime, thank you so much for all your support and love for Sidlotte!” (Official Sanditon Facebook Page)

Therefore, it is imperative that you, the viewers, become incandescently obsessed with this show or otherwise a deep depression will circle the earth because Charlotte and Sidney have no happy ending.

So, who are these characters? What is the story about?  Is it because dreamy Theo James, who plays Sidney Parker has actually given the infamous Mr. Darcy and run for his money?  I will let you be the judge of this man who at first has no redeeming qualities. However, in period clothing and with that face, what woman can resist him in spite of his faults? And he will flash his bottom as well, that is if PBS doesn’t edit that scene out. They better not, or there will be hell to pay!  {fans self}

Now that I have regained my senses…

Charlotte, the heroine of the story, in a chance encounter meets the Parkers who invite her to Sanditon. She’s innocent, outspoken, and absolute joy of a character, the eldest of more children than you can count. Her father allows her to accompany the Parkers to Sanditon but not without warning. “Be careful, Charlotte,” he says.  “Careful of what, papa?”  “Everything.”

Yes, there is much to be careful about, because the rest of the characters will leave a lasting impression. There are the grumpy aristocratic lady and her relations that can’t wait for her to die to get her money. Mr. Tom Parker, with tunnel vision, is the town’s entrepreneur who thinks only of himself, along with two hypochondriac siblings. There’s the mysterious Sidney, his other brother, whose slight twitch of a smile will make you swoon. He’s guardian to a rich heiress worth 100,000 pounds who can be a handful. Of course, what story doesn’t have its antagonist you love to hate? You will want to strangle Mrs. Campion, who by the way is married in real life to Theo James. Then poor Stringer, the victim of unrequited love. Many other characters will come onto the screen as well.

The series is well-acted, to say the least. Theo James and Rose Williams, who plays Charlotte, are fantastic in displaying their emotions. Andrew Davies and the writers have woven symbolism throughout the tale that you won’t pick up on until it’s all over and you lean back in your chair, grab a tissue, and sob. Then you’ll begin to ask yourself, what just happened? Why am I blubbering over this show? What has it done to me? Why can’t I sleep? Why do I need to buy a pineapple? Why do I have to run off and join the Sanditon Facebook Fan Group to find solace and comfort among others around the world?

Yes, Sanditon will do one of two things for viewers in the United States.  First, the purist Jane Austen camp will complain and refuse to accept this story with all the faults they can pick out. Others will lose their senses, get lost, swoon, go gaga over Theo James, and lose sleep until an announcement comes that season two will be filmed and released. After all, the story must go on! We need a ripe pineapple! Tom Parker’s debts have to be paid but not with Eliza Campion’s money. Sidney needs to come to his senses! Charlotte needs a happy ending! We need a resolution so we can sleep!

Enjoy, Sanditon. Oh, and be careful.  Be very careful, of everything starting January 12, 2020. The entire Sanditon fandom is counting on you in the United States to go crazy over this show. Their lives and eternal happiness depend on it.

Outlander Returns Part 2 of Season 1 – But I Won’t Be

I watched the first half of Starz’s Outlander with interest and also wrote my reviews for each episode on Popcorn Entertainment. However, after cooling off for quite a few months, I have decided not to continue with the series. Are you daft, lass? (I hear the Scottish accents questioning my sanity.)  Well, perhaps, but here is why.

Having read the book, with large portions being skimmed, I did not enjoy the story as much as others.  The main reason for my disenchantment is the violence and sadistic behavior portrayed in the book and that which will continue to be portrayed on screen.

There is a vast difference between Starz cable and Masterpiece Theater. Cable goes for the shock factor, explicit sexual scenes, and language that is unspoken on mainstream television. Perhaps had Masterpiece did Outlander, it would not have been as popular. I will admit that the cast and setting of Outlander is well done, but it’s still not enough to keep me paying extra for Starz cable through Comcast.

After having watched the first four episodes of Poldark (sneaking a peek before it comes in June on Masterpiece in the United States), I am reminded of the quality of good television. As much as I liked the beginning premise of Outlander, I don’t feel compelled to continue to watch episodes of Jamie rescuing Claire, Claire rescuing Jamie, and Black Jack Randall’s psychopathic behavior.  For me personally, it leaves unwanted images in my mind.  I’m still trying to erase the beating of Jamie tied to a post with blood oozing from every pore. I also don’t need to see Claire’s breasts or Jamie’s rear end to find entertainment on the screen.

On the other hand, I have found Poldark to be a wonderful series even without graphic gore and sex.  It’s a heartwarming and extremely well produced remake of the original 1970 series. Aidan Turner is England’s heartthrob at the moment.  This Redcoat is worth the watch. The story is tender and romantic without explicit images.

Nevertheless, it’s a matter of personal preference and what some viewers can stomach and some cannot. I do not judge those of you who have fallen for Outlander by any means. Whether it’s a Scot or Recoat that floats your boat, it doesn’t matter. Perhaps it’s my English ancestry that draws me to Poldark.  All I know, is that I feel empowered after an episode of Poldark rather than drained after an episode of Outlander.

UPDATE:  5/13/15.  Entertainment Online posted an article today warning Outlander fans about what is to come.  No doubt it is the horrific sadistic act against Jamie perpetrated by Black Jack Randall.  It appears they are showing it all.  Sorry, but I don’t want that imagine burned into my memory for the remainder of my life.  Starz is hailed as bold and brave to film graphic rape scenes and sodomy?  No thank you.

 
UPDATE: 4/11/16. I have decided to watch Season 2 since most of the objectionable material is done. To read my reviews, don’t forget to subscribe!

Mr. Selfridge – The Store is Back Open – Season 2

 
Yes, I know.  The blog clearly states that I review old movies and television shows.  Well, I may start breaking the rules a little more often.
Okay, tonight on Masterpiece, Mr. Selfridge began its second season.  I tuned in with my usual popcorn in hand (with a bit too much butter, I might add), a glass of cold water to level out the calorie intake, and sat back to watch the first episode.  Sadly, my cat didn’t join me.
When the doors to the shop opened, it felt good to see the old characters with lives that have progressed a little bit further into the future.  It was definitely worth five kernels in my opinion.
Mr. Selfridge is nursing the regrets of the past for his unfaithfulness, while trying to woo Rose back.  Rose obviously wants nothing to do with her cheating husband, as trust has been broken.  (Ah, come on Rose, forgive him!)  The daughters are still in Chicago society, while the son has returned to learn father’s business. Great parenting skills Mr. Selfridge!  Let him learn from the bottom up.
Of particular interest is the new character Delphine Day, who owns a risque club and writes about her escapades with multiple husbands and lovers.  As an author, I particularly enjoyed her reading in front of a group of women engrossed over her descriptions of intimacy with males, as well as the men in the back listening to it all. At the end, it’s clear that she is preaching to the audience that women of their day can live without men. Certainly, that had to be a jab and early take on the mommy porn in the Edwardian era.  Scandalous!
Like any good drama, one must have conflict.  The new resident pain on the shop floor seems to be  Mr. Thackeray, who is definitely a thorn in Miss Towler’s side.  He’s much better than her because of his college education, never mind she just came back from Paris well trained in her vocation.  By all of his shenanigans, he’s obviously trying to derail Agnes in her new position. 
With the arrival of Lord Loxley, we’ve apparently been introduced to a new wife-beating, conniving, blackmailing SOB, who by the end of 10 episodes we will grow to hate. Every show needs a villain to ruffle our feathers.  It’s a sorry state of affairs for flamboyant Lady Mae.  
Then there is the due in life everyone has reaped from their decisions.  Poor Mr. Grove cannot get any sleep because he’s knocked up his young wife four times. Well deserved pay-back, as far as I’m concerned, for his treatment of Miss Mardle. Old lovers are seeing each other once again and broken hearts remain.  And the handsome Frenchman is back from America, poor but headed for better times.
Of course, heavy on the mind of everybody is the threat of war looming ahead.  The very sobering slow-motion look at all the young men merrily dancing, who will soon be sent off to fight for country and king, makes you wonder who will live and who will die. 
Overall, I give the send off to Season 2 a five star, though Season 1 overall rated a four star for keeping me interested.  However, with the new threats on the horizon, the consequences of past decisions, and the worry about what tomorrow will bring, I’m assured there will be enough to keep us interested in the episodes ahead.

And last by not least, those fashions! Oh dear God, the dresses, hats, and frills.  My blue jeans and sneakers are really beginning to make me feel like a slob.

Once again, kudos to those fine British writers who know how to bring the touch of love, hatred, conflict, and uncertainty on the screen to keep its audience entertained.  Now, if I could just learn to do that in all of my books!

The Downton drought has been filled with another Masterpiece. I feel like running out and buying Yardley of London at a fancy department store.

Vicki

The Forsyte Saga (2002-03)

4 Kernels

(2002-03) – Television Series – ITV
 Damian Lewis Actor

Since I’m in the midst of writing my own English saga of sorts, I usually get sucked into these DVD sets for hours on end drowning myself in period English dramas. The Forsyte Saga makes it to the top of my list as an enjoyable treat of English life.

I’m often fascinated over how the rich lived in the Victorian age. My English family made bricks, while families like these lived lives of luxury filled with all sorts of soap opera antics.

The Forsyte Saga is a television adaptation of John Galsworthy three novels, which apparently has been filmed in other adaptations throughout the years. This particular version was done by Granada Television for the ITV network, however, some complained it took too many liberties from the original work.  It was later shown on Masterpiece Theater.

Nevertheless, stories like these are up my alley, even if I haven’t read the original. I will confess at the ending of the entire saga, I felt upset and left hanging, so I downloaded the original work on Kindle to see if it really did end that way.  And yes, to my chagrin, it did.  Frankly, it would be a hell of a story to pick up and write a sequel . . . hum.

Soames, played by Damien Lewis (who by the way just won an Emmy for his portrayal in Homeland in 2012) is the central character of the story and family.  My heart went out to the proper, stout Englishman who adored a woman, wanted to be loved in return, and desired children. His passion, of course, borders on obsession, but you can’t help but feel sorry for the poor guy, who never found a woman to love him in life. Yes, he was a rich snob, but even snobs need love once in a while.

As far as Irene, Soames first wife and obsession, I felt absolutely no sympathy for that woman whatsoever. Perhaps my heart was a cold as the one she portrayed with little remorse over the hurt she caused others in her life. She was an interesting character who grated upon me throughout the series, which good characters are supposed to do!

As far as the remaining hours, they were an interesting treat of English life and the gorgeous dresses and costumes, dysfunctional family members, scandals, and the rest of the lot that makes up a soap opera atmosphere. No matter what English movie I watch, the birds are always chirping in the background as if life just goes merrily along.

The only problem I did have with the saga itself, were the abrupt jumps in time period, i.e. from five years, six years, and twelve, with not one gray hair eventually making it to anyone’s head! They all seemed to be ageless. A little more realism in that arena would have been better. Otherwise, it’s an enjoyable series for you English loving blokes.

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