Tag: Masterpiece PBS

On My Watch List

Two new items coming out for World War II.  One on BBC and eventually PBS Masterpiece – World on Fire.

And a second to hit the big screen, Midway. Mark your calendars for a history class.

Looking forward to both!

Poldark – Season 2, Ep. 1 (2016)

poldark21

5 Fluffy Kernels

Riding into our lives returns Ross Poldark. Finally, the U.S. had been given the opportunity through PBS to tune into Series 2.  We had been waiting patiently or impatiently for Aidan Turner to once again fill our media devices and set our female hearts aflutter.  He returned, and we were not disappointed.

The U.K. has been given a head start on Series 2, but now it’s our turn.  At last, we can inhale the fresh air of the Cornwall coast.  The scenery is breathtaking – he’s handsome, smoldering, and well-built.   Yes, the backdrop of crashing waves, barren cliffs, and gorgeous sunsets have also caught our eyes in spite of the obvious draw of our attention.

Series 2 begins with Ross in trouble, having been charged with inciting a riot, among other things.  His arch enemy, George Warleggan, is out to get Ross hung. As an author, I often like writing antagonists, because they are the necessary evil to cause drama and conflict.  However, George is a piece of work.

Ross isn’t too worried, until the realization that a noose could be his future finally sinks into his mind.  Let’s face it.  Ross Poldark is an interesting character.  He is stubborn and proud.  Respected by the poor and hated by his upper class peers, he has a knack of rubbing the establishment the wrong way.  As we heard in his rousing speech in his defense, he is obstinate and stands for what he believes in regardless of the potential outcome.  Nevertheless, underneath those sharp edges is a man who is a kind husband and tender lover that attracts the starving female audience.

Then we have the women in his life – Demelza and Elizabeth.  Demelza captures our hearts with her innocent sweetness once again.  She is more of a lady than most, but still brokenhearted over the loss of their daughter. Obviously, she adores him unconditionally. Episode one (spoiler alert) reveals she is pregnant again, but Ross as he fights for his life, is unaware.

Elizabeth on the other hand, continues to silently regret her choice and pines for Ross.  She has a way of playing with the hearts of men either knowingly or unknowingly.  With a word or glance, she stirs up the male emotions of Ross, Francis, and George.  It makes it difficult to find her as endearing of a character, when you know that she alone can bring heartache to the marriage we all love.

Francis returns, showing a regained strength one moment, only to be tempered by his usual weakness in another.  Finally, he tells off George in spite of the dire consequences it could bring.  Afterward, he wants to toss in the towel and end it all.  Everyone respects Ross – no one respects him.  Ross has Elizabeth’s heart, and he bears the grief of unrequited love.  One moment he feels like an utter failure, and the next he pulls it together.  The man needs counseling.

Then we have George Warleggan who irritates us all.  There is nothing redeemable about this man.  He’s to be despised and not pitied for his unrelenting desire to destroy human lives.  Every time he opens his mouth, I want to nail it shut.  The man doesn’t use violence, nor does he rant or rave.  He just calmly and quietly goes about his destructive tendencies like a psychopath with no conscience.poldark

Episode 1, was filled with emotion and nail biting drama that did not disappoint.  Once again we enjoyed all the characters, along with new ones.  Our Midsomer murder detective John Nettles is back on the screen wearing a cravat.  And let us not forget, Horace the pug, sharing the limelight with a new aristocratic heiress and her intended.  In addition, I see love ahead for the doctor.

So yes, this episode and the entire series deserves a fluffy 5-kernel review, for drama, excellent acting, and a classy masterpiece without blood, gore, and graphic sexual scenes.

However, I recently learned on Facebook that it took twenty-four minutes into the episode before Ross took his shirt off.  Ladies, we need to control ourselves.

Cheerfully,

Vicki

P.S. Here are some great GIFs on PBS of Episode 1 – CLICK HERE

Upstairs Downstairs (TV Series 2010-2012)

3 Kernelsupstairs

I watched this series this past weekend, and though some of it seemed familiar, I’m not sure I’ve seen all of the episodes before.  Nevertheless, I was able to enjoy it through fresh eyes unaware of much of the storyline.

Having not seen the original Upstairs Downstairs (the 1971 series set in the years 1903-1930), this version picks up in the mid-1930’s and continues pre-WW2 at the same location of 165 Eaton Place in the Belgravia neighborhood.  The master of the estate is Sir Hallam Holland (as I take a moment to relish the last name) and Lady Agnes who purchases the “ghastly old mausoleum” by cleaning and renovating the run-down interior.

Lady Agnes hires a new staff and Rose Buck (Jean Marsh who played in the 1971 series) returns as the housekeeper.  Much like Downton Abbey, including an opening scene during the credits of the shiny chandelier, the story follows life upstairs and downstairs.  Sir Hallam is a diplomat, and his wife lives to run the household and be a hostess to high society on London’s scene.  As the years go by such famous people as the Duke of Kent, Wallis Simpson, the Kennedys from the U.S., and other royalty eat at their table.  Upstairs has its problems, of course, mostly centered around an out-of-control Lady Persephone, who is Lady Agnes’ sister.

Downstairs is the usual love/hate relationship between the staff.  The main focus is on the butler, housekeeper, cook, housemaid, footman, parlormaid, and chauffeur. Their secrets from the past often irritate and cause friction, much like Downton Abbey, while they live to serve the somewhat dysfunctional family upstairs.

The story is set pre-war and includes King Edward VIII’s abdication, and the numerous attempts to avoid war with Germany.  The first two seasons lead the audience through the years with interest, along with heart-wrenching scenes as England steps up to help the Jewish children fleeing the rising persecution of Jews. A little family scandal of an aunt being a lesbian causes a stir, as well as Persephone’s attraction and affair with a German officer.  Watching London prepare for a war they hope to avoid, helps to underscore the wounds that still abide from WWI and the fear of another looming on the horizon.

The cast is strong, the costumes well done, and the flavor of the 1930’s resonates throughout. Keeley Hawes who plays Lady Agnes is beautiful, as well as Claire Foy, her sister. Red lipstick, silk dresses, and wavy hair make them both stunningly gorgeous. Ed Stoppard, who plays Sir Hallam Holland, has the right uppity air for an aristocrat who is too busy to keep his marriage afloat. Downstairs you’ll quickly recognize Anne Reid as the cook, who plays in Last Tango in Halifax. She has the usual rough snippy edges about her personality. All in all, I found no complaint in the acting.

Season two, unfortunately, quickly ends in family tragedy for the Hollands.  War is declared, and everyone takes their part to do their duty.  Sir Holland is in uniform at the closing scene heading off probably to the war office, as well as his wife is in uniform telling her children she is off to help in the ambulance corps.  Unfortunately, the story ends here, but your interedownstairsst in each of their lives is not satisfied or brought to a happy ending especially when you know of the horrors that lie ahead for London.  As they march off to war, the audience is left with the uncertainty of what it will bring to each of the characters and leaves a very unsatisfying taste with no closure. From what I read, Season One had a booming audience, while Season Two slowly dwindled probably leading to its death.

You will see many similarities with Downton Abbey in this up and down tale of life for the upper and lower class.  It’s definitely not as good as others but, nevertheless, it’s worth the watch if you’re looking for the similar scenario filmed prior to the infamous Julian Fellowes’ soap opera regarding the Crawley family.  It’s now streaming on Hulu and available on Amazon Prime for free with the first episode The Fledgling

Poldark Series 2 – Aidan Turner on what to expect for the second BBC series

What’s next for Ross and Demelza? The Irish actor reveals all…

Source: Poldark series 2 – Aidan Turner on what to expect for the second BBC series

Clear your Sunday evenings!

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