It's been I while since I last posted about period drama or TV series. I hope you haven't been thinking that I have been neglecting one of my passions, because I haven't. I have been watching several new series in fact, only I didn't have time to write about them. For example, I watched all the five episodes of BBC2 Parade's End starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Adelaide Clemens, Rebecca Hall, Rufus Sewell and Rupert Everett among other great actors and actresses.
|Adelaide Clemens as Miss Wannop|
Tom Stoppard's adaptation of Ford Madox Ford's tetralogy, Parade's End, was broadcast on BB2 in September. The 5-episode series is intelligent, refined TV drama that I hope you'll come to see and appreciate sooner or later. I am not a huge fan of Mr Cumberbatch 's male charms but I do recognize his talent as an actor. I love his voice and his cerebral performances, especially as Sherlock, but I didn't watch this drama especially for him. While I liked the series very much for its themes and its brilliant script (not an easy task to adapt modernist prose), and loved the costumes and beautiful locations as well, I couldn't sympathize with its hero. Not Mr Cumberbatch's fault, mind you, but ChristopherTietjens's uprightness, stiffness and stubborness didn't let me feel any tenderness nor sympathy for the martyr of society he wanted to become.
I did hate his wife, Sylvia, it was impossible not to despise the beautiful but cruel socialite brilliantly played by Rebecca Hall, so selfish, manipulative and cruel.
All my sympathy went to young, strong-willed, brave Miss Valentine Wannop (Adelaide Clemens) and I sided with her in her long, faithful wait for the man she loved. Not a passive romantic heroine, but an actively socially committed woman, longing for her chance to live real love.
In the dying days of Edwardian England, English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens finds himself marrying Sylvia, a beautiful but cruel socialite who is pregnant with a child who may or may not be his. Christopher is determined to remain loyal to his wife, but his life is transformed the day he meets Valentine Wannop, a fearless young suffragette. Moving from the glittering yet shallow world of London high society to the trench-scarred battlefields of France, Parade’s End is the story of one of the defining eras of the last century; a time when old certainties are being torn down and lives are changed forever (from BBCshop.com site)
|Shirley MacLaine and Maggie Smith|
I can't have enough of Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Dan Stevens & co. though I do realize that episode after episode Downton Abbey, like many other long-running series, can become soapish and predictable here and there. What can I do if I simply love them all and can't resist watching them smiling or crying, plotting or connecting, loving or quarrelling, as if I were meeting old friends on Sunday night and hear them talk about the latest news in their lives? Not always incredibly interesting or surprising but what can we do without our friends?
|The Crawley Sisters on a special day|
Is Shirley MacLaine already out of cast after two episodes? Not that I missed her in episode 3, I'm stunned I even noticed her absence. Not a crucial presence, nor a spicy addition in my opinion. Leave us our Violet , Dowager Countess of Grantham and we will never be bored.
By the way, I read of a prequel by Julian Fellowes which is said to be in the works (HERE). It will focus on the story of Lord and Lady Grantham before their marriage. That would be fabulous, wouldn't it? Who are your dream actors to play young Lord and Lady Grantham?
It was announced as "the story of a love affair set against the backdrop of the opening of the first English department store in 1875".
Smart, ambitious and big hearted Denise Lovett (Joanna Vanderham) arrives in the city in search for a job in her Uncle Edmund’s shop. But he is coping with terrible hardships and can't take her in. Since he’s unable to help her, she turns to The Paradise and her eyes are opened to a whole new world of possibilities.
In episode 1, I loved one of her lines, when all the other girls noticing her admiring stare on her boss, dashing Mr Morey, thought her in love with Mr Moray, their boss: "I don't want to marry Moray. I want to be HIM"
Working with him, she studies his talent and she falls in love with the exhilarating and dangerous charms of the modern world, with the idea of a personal success like his, more than with the man himself.
John Moray, played by Emun Elliott is a reckless buccaneering capitalist, self-made and utterly modern man who inspires in Denise a passion and creativity she didn’t know she had. Will it become love? We'll know the answer going on watching, of course. Next Tuesday, episode 3, BBC1 9 p.m.
|Cumberbatch - Miller|
What do you think? Which of all the series above have you seen?
If you haven't seen them yet, which one/s would you like to see?