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21 June 2015 @ 10:10 pm
just watched the first episode of Poldark on PBS  
…Aw man, they knew just how to push all my costume-drama buttons, didn't they?

What I like most about it so far, I think, is that they weren't afraid to just drop us into this world of honor and pride and family obligation and let us accept that these were the feelings that overwhelmingly influenced people's behavior - instead of trying to gloss them over and make them more palatable to a modern audience. I think perhaps Ross is a bit too friendly with his tenants (they called him "Ross"!), but they are mostly of an age with him, so I can imagine that he might well have grown up with them in a more relaxed way. But I really like Ross' interactions with Demelza: he rescues her, but he also treats her like a servant; he's fair to her, but not overly kind. I'm sure their relationship will change as the show progresses, but I like that it's started this way. And more personally - I'm an only child, from a small family, so I tend to forget how interconnected people's extended families can be; I liked that aspect as well.

Before watching the episode, I thought that casting Aidan Turner in a role where he was likely not to get to smile was rather a waste, but now I think that the warmth he shows so easily comes out in unexpected moments - as when he smiles at the children enjoying the Punch-and-Judy show on market day, for example - and helps to balance out the quick anger and the brooding that might otherwise be too much.

Also, I am very excited for the inevitable Demelza-wears-a-dress scene. :)

ETA: Rather than starting a new post - is anyone else watching The Crimson Field? Wow, that first episode was a lot. And that bit with the cake was so effective, right after the revelation that Sister Margaret hadn't gotten the shellshocked young soldier onto the "Blighty transport" as she was asked to do. Both of those things together showed a real slipperiness about her character, a sort of blandly righteous certainty that she knows best and will take whatever she deserves, without seeming at all troubled by her actions. I've missed Oona Chaplin's face, too, after the premature cancellation of The Hour (sob), so it's lovely to see her here. And Suranne Jones as well!

I don't get why PBS tends to throw all its new dramas at one at once, though, instead of spreading them out. They've been doing pledge drives for absolute weeks now, with nothing but the same tired old health programs on ("Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" and the like), and then both Poldark and The Crimson Field starting tonight.
Spackle: sg-1: Daniel's excited!spacklegeek on June 22nd, 2015 04:46 am (UTC)
Okay, I have not heard of The Crimson Field, but I had heard of Poldark -- and had forgotten about it, if you can believe that -- so I super appreciate your thoughts here!

I don't know if I can see either of them (legally) in Canada, but I'll look into it anyway.

Yay costume dramas! (I'm kind of watching Turn right now on Netflix. It's alright! Not wowzas, but I'm engaged enough.)
tempestsarekind: dido plus bookstempestsarekind on June 22nd, 2015 07:17 am (UTC)
How funny - I am kind of watching Turn right now too! (I just finished the second disc, although I keep forgetting to send it back.) The biggest thing was that I went into it not realizing that Aldis Hodge from Leverage had a role, so that was a nice surprise. And I've always liked Jamie Bell!

Both Poldark and The Crimson Field aired a little while ago in the UK, so perhaps they might be available in Canada directly from the UK rather than the US?

Watching good costume drama always makes me want to be able to write historical fiction… A rather odd side effect!
chelseagirl on June 22nd, 2015 09:00 am (UTC)
Poldark has been my most-awaited show of the summer -- well, ok, after Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which is one of my favorite books -- both because of Aidan Turner and because I have semi-vague memories of watching the original growing up. It did not disappoint and I'm already looking forward to next week . . .
tempestsarekind: gilmore couch potatoestempestsarekind on June 22nd, 2015 03:10 pm (UTC)
I never saw the original, although I did try to watch the first episode once a long time ago…All I remember is that Ross was in a carriage and he seemed *very* cranky! But I really enjoyed last night's episode.
chelseagirl on June 22nd, 2015 03:52 pm (UTC)
I suspect a lot of things that played well in the 70s don't necessarily play well anymore. In the midst of my long-ago adolescent recollection, I remember quite liking it . . .
tempestsarekind: very few dates in this historytempestsarekind on June 22nd, 2015 06:05 pm (UTC)
Yes - I tried to watch a series called The First Churchills once -

- and I really liked quite a bit about the first two (?) episodes, but the pacing was hard to get used to. (Especially since I was watching it via Netflix DVDs, which meant that I had to wait between discs; that might have been more of a problem than anything else!)