Monday, 26 March 2012

Titanic: S1 Ep1

On TV: Sunday 26th March 2012
Channel: ITV1 9pm
Episode Type: 1/4
In 1 Sentence: Drownton Abbey... more than a little disappointing
ITV Summary: The Earl of Manton and his family secure passage on the Titanic under a cloud of scandal surrounding his daughter, Georgiana. Meanwhile, there's tension between the English and American staff and crew man Jim Maloney attempts to smuggle his wife and children on board...

My Review: As possibly one of the biggest fans of the James Cameron juggernaut of a film I was excited to see that Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey had created a new series based on this gripping tragedy. However it became evident about 10 minutes in that this was far from gripping and instead Downton Abbey on a boat or as Twitter dubbed it ‘Drownton Abbey’. To begin with there seemed to be blatant copying of the film in many scenes, with the Downton gloss coated on - which was nice, but had a much blander feel to it. We were introduced to what felt like dozens of characters all at once and... oh! half and hour later the ship hit an iceberg, shock horror! It was way too fast, leaving no time for be to get to know or like any of the characters at all. 
And it wasn’t like there wasn’t an opportunity for character development as the ship had 3 or 4 days at sea before sinking, but instead it skipped them and got stuck straight into the sinking. And this is where I can’t help but compare the series with the film. If the film had missed out those few days, we would never have cared one jot for Jack and Rose as it was those few vital days that we got to know their characters and watch them fall in love. It was a love story first and foremost and when the iceberg hit it broke our hearts because we cared about them. We didn’t want them to die. All this potential drama was lost in the series though as they were too many characters for us to care about any, and the one that did stand out for me - Lady Georgiana - was a little pathetic and, due to the nature of the series that we focus on different perspectives in each episode, it’s unlikely we’ll see much of her now.
It was all rather confusing, but hopefully, the whole ‘different perspective’ thing which I only realised when the ‘next time’ section rolled (“But it’s started sinking already - how are they going to drag this out for three more weeks?!) and so now I’m a bit more interested in how this new narrative device will work. 
And may I just say that it was the most anti-climatic iceberg hit I’ve ever seen! The actor saying the line ‘iceberg right ahead’ couldn’t have been less dramatic if he tried. The camera swiftly pans around and we see the iceberg right in under their noses as if they expect us to believe anyone with eyes wouldn’t have seen it already?!
I found it too rushed and trivial and I was expecting so much more but who knows? It could pick up...
Score: 7/10

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