Friday, December 12, 2008

Heaven Bless BBC

I have both a passion for mini-series and a best friend addicted to the UK. Both have shown me that BBC entertainment is a treasure chest of entertainment. (Just stay away from their comedy--it isn't funny, and if it is, it's lewd.) Also, remember how British film quality used to be dreadful? (Case and point: ye old Pride & Prejudice six part version.) Yeah, now it's really good. Excellent, in fact. (Example: Cranford, which used digital film and only natural lighting to great effect--that's never been done before, folks!)

Anyway, BBC has a lot to offer. Here is a list of BBC shows I recommend, in drool-worthy order:

North & South (mini-series)
SUPERB. Read the website for synopsis and clips. I can't even describe it, it's that good. Meridian Magazine called it better than Pride & Prejudice. First time I watched it I intended to watch one episode and then sleep. I watched all four parts before I finally made it to bed and bought it the next day. I know dozens of people who have become addicted to this show. Obsessed, even. And who wouldn't? A real windowinto England in the late 1850's with elegant hair and dress, labor unions, riots, white lung disease, cotton mills, social class barriers being tested, service and charity from unexpected places, snobbery, grief, servants, romance, misunderstandings--the best history and passion ever captured by film. Five stars and two thumbs up, North & South has it all. Of anything in this list, THIS should be the one you see!

Jane Eyre (mini)
I've never stopped breathing so many times in a movie. I got sucked in so deep I didn't know what'd hit me. I'd seen four versions of Jane Eyre prior to watching this one, and was blown away with this. Casting is marvellous. You'll recognize a few actresses from other things; Miss Trunchbull from
Matilda (Pam Ferris) plays Grace Poole and Lucy from Narnia (Georgie Henley) plays young Jane. I adore Mr. Rochester. Favorite line: "we agreed you'd never be cold again."

Merlin (tv)
The season's almost over and I'm SO upset about it. This show has surpassed my other favorites--not even Fringe can match my enthusiasm for Merlin. WAY better than Robin Hood, but don't tell Joni I said that. Aaron & Diana are also hooked on this show, they'll agree with me that it's phenomenal. Look at this picture larger--if you couldn't guess, Arthur is the dashing knight in the red.

Horatio Hornblower (mini)
Nothing is better than watching Horatio (the attractive Ioan Gruffudd) come of age as he grows from Midshipman to Captain in this wonderful series. You'll love to respect this guy. Great story. If you loved
Master and Commander you'll probably like this. Dad and I love watching these together when Mom's out of town. But then, we always watch war movies when Mom's out of town. Patton, anyone?

Sense & Sensibility (mini)
While nothing can tear me from my beloved Kate Winslet version, this is really really good. I like parts of both, but if I had to choose, I still prefer the other. However-- I recommend, I recommend, I recommend this. You'll absolutely ADORE Edward, which is great, since Hugh Grant totally ruins him in the other one. Of course, I've always been a Colonel Brandon girl, and I'm telling you-- the scene in the ballroom after Marianne sees Willoughby--Brandon catches Marianne when she faints. Yeah, I watched that part over and over and over. He's fabulous! AND--oooooh! They left in the duel scene from the book! Did you know there WAS a duel, because there is! Colonel Brandon whips Willoughby to shreds for what he did to Marianne...but then lets him live. VERY dramatic. Anywho--
do watch this if you get the chance.

Cranford (mini)
As seen on PBS, this show is a great look at life in the town of "Cranford." I haven't seen anything so stirring in a long year or two. The intellect and humor here cannot be complimented enough. My favorite parts involve a man who is determined to teach a boy to read, though it is illegal to do so, and then...well--I shouldn't give it away, you'll have to see it for yourself. Wonderful actors, including Judi Dench and the gorgeous Mr. Bingley from the new P&P version (Simon Woods). Adorable romance (that takes a back seat to the antics of the town) and plain wholesome entertainment.

What I really want to see next:
Bleak House, The Lost Prince, The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant, and The Ruby in the Smoke (shown here)

And I can say from experience, NEVER waste your time on these dreadful things:
Daniel Deronda (only the costumes prevent my utter disgust...shown below. See how the villain is the dark figure? LOVE Ramola Garai's bustle...), Robin Hood (9 times out of 10 it leads to an upset stomach), Vanity Fair (hand me the trash, I'm tossing my cookies), BBC Persuasion (anti-clamactic ending that failed to impress. I've seen a better version), and really, just ASK me first before you waste your time. I might have seen it already.

That concludes Rachel's exhaustive review of BBC-DRAMA. Hope you'll find something in the list to strike your fancy.

No comments: