Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Parade's End: Episode 1

On TV: Friday 24th August 2012
Channel: BBC Two 9pm
Genre: Action, Drama, War
Episode Type: 1/5

In 1 Sentence: A beautiful, fast-paced adaptation of Ford Madox Ford's Edwardian novels which has the potential to be one of the best dramas of the year...
BBC Summary: In the dying days of the Edwardian Empire, Christopher Tietjens enters into a destructive marriage with the beautiful but cruel socialite Sylvia. Ignoring her overt flirtation with other men, Christopher resolves to remain faithful to her, even when he encounters fearless young suffragette Valentine.

My Review: I didn’t know what to expect as I came to this knowing absolutely nothing about it, especially that it was an adaptation - although I did wonder. And I’m glad I didn’t have any preconceptions or expectations as coming to it fresh allowed me to get swept up with it. 
It was a modern take. Sure, it had the gorgeous period aesthetics but it was quickly cut and seemed fresh in atmosphere which helped with the confusion initially. You’re very much swept up and I struggled to keep up and first which in hindsight is, I believe, due to Sylvia. Sylvia’s character is brilliantly portrayed by Rebecca Hall, an actress normally known for films and being the intelligent, subtly beautiful girl that the protagonist ends up with. She is drastically different in this playing a sort of villain we love to hate. She’s introduced as a woman having an affair with a married man and we soon find out she herself is married and pregnant. She is a rather manic character and that comes through wonderfully in the editing. When she leaves things calm down a great deal allowing us to take in Benedict Cumberbatch’s character. Now he’s a harder one to work out and I think it’ll take a few more episodes until I get a firmer grasp on him. He’s serious and intelligent and, according to Sylvia, cold. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him though being stuck with such a wife and he soon comes across Valentine protesting for women’s rights while he’s playing golf. The scenes in the fog where particuarly beautiful to watch and set the tone just perfectly. 
It looks like it’ll be an interestingly romantic story and one I can’t wait follow through. And a period piece too which has been lacking lately and should see me through until Downton anyhow!

Score: 8/10

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