01 May 2011

A Series of Minis

Eric and I love a good mini-series. We've watched many in the last year or so, and all of the ones we've watched have been produced by the BBC under their "Masterpiece" collection. (I'm not sure if that is the right terminology, but what used to be called "Masterpiece Theatre" has been shortened simply to "Masterpiece.")

On to the reviews -

I already told you before that I loved "Emma." I wouldn't mind watching it again some time soon, actually.

Even more than Emma, we both loved "North and South." You may think it's about the American Civil War, but it's not. It's actually about a family from the South of England who moves to the North of England. They go through a fair amount of culture shock after leaving their pastoral home to a very industrial fictional town which was modeled after Manchester. Eric likes to describe it as an Austen novel, only the hero and heroine are arguing over something that actually matters.

I mentioned quite a while ago that we were watching "Little Dorrit" with Grandma L. For the most part, we enjoyed the series, but we felt like it really fizzled at the end. It's based on the Dickens novel, which means there oodles of characters and oodles of subplots. Some of these subplots and extraneous characters were handled well; others were not. The end of the series seemed to come very quickly with basically all of the problems solved in the last 30 minutes. This felt really rushed. With all that said, the father of the main character was fantastic. All three of us just couldn't stop marveling at how well he played his part.

Eric describes "Cranford" as Anne of Green Gables for old ladies. In some ways, I think it is right. There isn't a whole lot of plot to the whole series - it's just about people in a small town. It's about friendship, families, habits, customs and change. I would rank it second in line to "North and South."

"Return to Cranford," or "Cranford Returns" as Eric and I jokingly call it, is not as good at it's predecessor. It's okay, but not great.

"Bleak House" is another miniseries based on a Dickens novel. Again, I haven't read the book, so I cannot comment on its accuracy. We thoroughly enjoyed the series. Some of the characters were delightfully creepy and hideous, just as Dickens would have wanted them to be, I'm sure. The numerous subplots and supporting characters were handled well. However, the direction of this movie was ridiculous. Here you have a story about a never-ending probate case, and the editing and camera angles were done like it was a Bourne movie. It was absurd.


Ana said...

I have read Bleak House and I LOVE it. It is easily my FAVOURITE Dickens book - which is not a hard thing really when you consider that pretty much all Dickens books drag on and on and on and are excruciatingly frustrating!!!
That looks interesting! Is Gillian Anderson the main character/Female lead? Who/what leads the narrative? Interested to know :)

Janssen said...

I like all of those shows (except Return to Cranford, which I haven't watched, despite it being the only one on that list that I own).

Bart and I love to joke about the hilarious horror shots in Bleak House.

Have you watched the 2006 Jane Eyre?

trishtator said...

On the cover of every single one of those minis, someone is wearing a cape.
And yet, no superheroes.

That's all.

Dusty and Amy said...

Check out Lark Rise to Candleford!!