Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Matryeshka, Jan 23, 2011.
I have read the books.. absolutely loved them especially the first one..
World without End is now available on Netflix online streaming (planning to watch as soon as there's someone to watch with me)
I loved them both as well and reread Pillars before reading World Without End. Follett always has to insert his (rather juvenile, IMO) sexual fantasies into his books, but he was rather restrained in these stories, which were so good that the fantasies were easily forgiven.
But I'm not sure how widely the series was aired in the US and Europe. I thought it was too short to really do the book justice, IMO the book warranted double the episodes.
No, because I usually watch series with Mr. Japanfan and he's resistant to the Tudors. Given the recommendations here, perhaps I should suggest it to him again.
And I don't understand why 'Downton Abbey' isn't suitable for Masterpiece Theater at all or isn't high class. It's a lavish production of a period piece, is very well-written, and features an exceptional ensemble cast. The story and the characters are engaging and draw you in, and the characters are well-developed and multi dimensional.
That's high class enough for me.
I'm with you!
I don't understand what some of the "FSU Critic's Circle" expect.
I've watched, learned from, and enjoyed "Masterpiece Theatre" since it first appeared, 40 years ago,
As long as he's good with some pretty explicit stuff, he should be fine. Though I note a weird tendency--"The Tudors"/Showtime isn't shy about female nudity, but they're DEFINITELY not doing male full-frontal like "Rome"/HBO.
I think fewer people are aware of/saw "Pillars of the Earth" in the US because it ran on Starz, a pay channel that I don't think is as popular or widely subscribed as HBO and Showtime, and with "World Without End" it ran on, IIRC, Reelz, which I don't think you get unless you're a DirecTV customer (though I've only had DirecTV for years so I don't know what's on Dish or cable.) Also, I think, to indulge in some TV Tropes-speak, it sometimes slips a bit too far over the line from Medieval costume drama into the Dung Ages (though not even CLOSE to how accurately that's done in the film of "The Name of the Rose") and has a few too many people who appear to be evil For the Evulz (ie with no obvious motivation or redeeming qualities.) The advertising for "World Without End" also lead one to believe seeing "Pillars of the Earth" would help, but since it had run on another channel...
And I agree with you and skatesindreams, I have no problem whatsoever having Downton on Masterpiece. It's not any more melodramatic than "I, Claudius" or "The Pallisers" or the original "Upstairs Downstairs" (never mind the sequel). I mean, what, does it have to be that incomprehensible depressing mess "South Riding" to be "worthy", or veering towards aggressively quaint like "Lark Rise to Candleford"?
I was just going to post that as long as Mr. Japanfan is okay with gratuitous female nudity, then he'll probably be okay with The Tudors. I think that's the producer's secret plot to draw men into watching The Tudors with their wives/girlfriends.
And they changed the story quite a lot in World Without End. I thought the changes worked, except they dropped the ball on showing us how Merthin, Caris, Gwenda and Ralph were connected other than just living in the same town.
Maybe the objection to "Masterpiece Theater" is that it should be reserved for BBC-style films of classic books like Austen and Dickens, not modern-day-written soap operas in period costumes? Not sure what else they'd call DA, though maybe they don't even need to call it anything.
But the PBS "Masterpiece" franchise has always had a variety of series, not all of them from the so-called "classic" canon. The Duchess of Duke Street wasn't "classic" literature -- it was made-for-TV as was Upstairs, Downstairs, and any other number of programs.
Well, PBS does have their identified programming "slots" so I think that they want to call it something.
I didn't even know they had produce World Without End for TV. Pillars ran on Canadian public TV, not a pay channel, last fall. Did the same producers do World Without End?
Same producers I believe.
World without End aired in Canada on Showcase (I think) this past fall IIRC. I personally wasn't impressed, didn't get past the 2nd episode. But then I found the book of WWE to be a complete rehash of Pillars ...
Meanwhile over on HBO they have NO hesitation about making the men strip. James Purefoy even joked he wished he'd been allowed to wear more clothes as he always seemed to spend 3/4 of any given episode of Rome naked.
Season three ended yesterday here in Finland. I watched the second part of the Christmas Special in high fever and stomach flu. The ending did not make me feel better.
I have loved this series, but now I am not so sure... The new episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs will start here next week.
Series 2 of UD? Um...I do hope you're over the flu. Remember how series 1 was a lot darker than Downton? Well, even allowing for Downton series 3? The situation has not improved. (Though I AM, in spite of myself, a tad annoyed that they won't get a UD series 3 because a few things get left hanging.)
I think one of the reasons why certain shows are shown on Masterpiece in the US and some are not has to do with the funding money. A lot of the long-running series are partly funded by American PBS money and that means they never have to outright buy the broadcasting rights -or at the very least, it's a lot cheaper than buying a series they never funded. I am watching the Hollow Crown series BBC showed during their Cultural Olympiad on you tube and love it. But I don't think there's much chance of it ever being shown on PBS, or elsewhere on US tv.
Sorry about the slight tangent, back to DA....
What happens to Bate? I'm feeling a little iffy this season. Sounds like 2 of my favorites will be leaving
Actually, I have always thought that he may just be quilty!
I LOVED the reboot of UD - Season 1 was a bit of a DA ripoff, but Season 2 knocks it out of the park. The characters and storylines are 10x more interesting.
The Tudors also gave as Colin O'Donoghue, who now plays Captain Hook on Once Upon a Time. In fact, pretty much everyone in the Tudors is now in some more recognizable property with two of the actors even being in Downton Abbey (Vera Bates is played by the fabulous Maria Doyle Kennedy who was Catherine of Aragon and Branson is played by Allen Leech who played Francis Dereham).
BTW, my roommates and I are having a small DA viewing party tonight. Any idea what we could eat besides tea and cucumber sandwiches?
crumpets, clotted cream, scones
At least in Downton poor Allan Leech breaks his streak of playing the guy after an inappropriate woman who does not get the girl. (He was also Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and in love with Octavia on HBO's "Rome.") It's a weirdly specific sort of typecasting.
But it's kind of interesting the three types of men he played. He was the hopeless romantic in Rome, the scumbag in the Tudors (although you felt horrible for him during his death scene), and the sincere but strongly opinionated outsider in DA.
BTW,while we are on the subject of the Tudors, anyone know what was the reason why Henry Czerny didn't come back for subsequent seasons? We all know he can play scheming very well and his character was, to put it mildly, rather important in all the behind the scenes stuff, and was supposed to have lived to Mary's reign.
can someone please put in a spoiler what happened with edith's wedding tonight?
Sir Anthony Shitbag dumped her at the altar. Basically he is weak and caved to Lord Meddler's mild disapproval.
Though in fairness when it came down to it, Lord Grantham told him it was too late to back out now; it was the Dowager Countess who stepped up and told Edith to let him go. My lawyer dad brought up "They should sue Sir Anthony for breach of promise and damage done by public humiliation" and at the time at least the breach of promise part wouldn't be out of the question...poor Edith. The universe hates her, though possibly not as much as some of her own family. And poor Daisy--you would think by now she would have learned that no matter how unimportant something unusual seems, you should probably tell Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, just on general principle.
Also, you would think by now that, never mind poor Mosley (designated butt monkey), EVERYONE within a fifty-mile radius of Downton should realize that if Thomas or O'Brien tells you ANYTHING, especially if it's prefaced by any variation on "Just between you and me" or "don't tell anyone I told you, but..." DON'T BELIEVE A WORD OF IT.
OMG! I have been living under a rock. I only discovered this show today. Yup. Today. And only because Dame Maggie Smith was mentioned in the Golden Globe thread. And now I am hooked! Absolutely hooked. Still watching the first series and catching up with your thread.
So. Much. Fun.
I don't mind being spoiled at all, btw. And so I read this summary of the first two seasons here (it's a spoiler, obviously):
http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/a-summary-of-downton-abbey-seasons-1-2/ Sorry if it's been linked before.
Been catching up like mad and am now up to Series 3, episode 1. Whew! That's a lot of Downton Abbey!
Random thoughts about Episode 3:
Tom is a moron. I want to sympathize with this character and his beliefs, but he's ridiculously bone-headed leaving Sybil behind to fend for herself, and then giving her crap about returning to Ireland. Although I admit I teared up when he broke down alone in his room.
The Dowager Countess was funny during the scene where Tom tells them about the mansion burning, but I think it was even better when she learned Matthew might be putting some noses out of joint. For all her protestations about decorum and tradition, she has a wicked sense of mischief.
Mary had the best LOL line last night IMO. To paraphrase: "Alfred is very nice, but he does look like a puppy that's been rescued from a puddle" HA! I loved that she encouraged Carson to hire the good-looking footman.
I couldn't understand the prison plot line. I get that Bates prison mate is in cahoots with one of the guards. Last episode Bates was tipped off that something was planted in his bunk (which he found and hid before being busted by said guard). The crooked guard then holds up all incoming and outgoing mail for Bates. Here's where I get lost: Does Bates take the same item (what is it), and hide it in his bunk mates bed? And why does that mean the other guards are suddently pro-Bates against the crooked guard? I don't understand exactly what happened there.
The Edith storyline seems to serve no purpose other than to demonstrate how prostitues are viewed in the era. I thought Mrs. Hughes might ask for Edith to become the kitchen maid, but that's not the case. So it seems a rather pointless diversion into a secondary character.
So Edith is potentially going to write a column. At least it's something that uses her brain as her Granny told her.
I actually applauded when Edith got her letter in the Times. She's gone from an annoying little sister to the one I want to root for. And it turns out Lord Robert is a lousy administrator, if Mary wasn't such a daddy's girl she'd support her husband in fixing things.
The Ethel plotline bores me too, it's as if the only reason it's there is to show us the Wages of Sin and how hard that society was on women who fell. Well, d'uh. Mary got away with her Turkish escapade and Ethel is a low-rent prostitute who has to give away her son. It was always thus.
Branson, sigh. As much as I want to punch Mary for defending her fellow debutante whose mansion got burned, he's an irresponsible husband.
I don't know that Mary "got away" with anything, or talked herself into thinking it was consensual (let's face it, in a modern court, she still has a case for coercion) to keep what little dignity and sanity she had. I think Ethel was initially contrasted with Gwen--they both wanted out of service, but Gwen did it by working hard, and with a bit of luck in having Lady Sybil helping her (because Sybil, besides being kind, recognized that Gwen was trying to move up in the world) and Ethel read magazines, daydreamed about Hollywood, and I very much doubt Charlie's father coerced her. Now it's the 'can the world change enough she can work her way up again.'
I also can see why Mary really doesn't want to question her father's running things--she doesn't know much about rents herself, for a start, and he IS her father. I would hope she eventually catches on that maybe, with her husband being a former solicitor, he can keep things going.
As for Branson, I can't entirely sympathize, or think Mary's horrible for sympathizing with her friend who got driven out of her house and watched it burn down, and was just lucky that was the worst that happened to her. The Anglo-Irish situation is a lot more complicated than "Provos good, English bad", especially by this point in history. I CAN, however, understand why Branson had to take off, and I think it will probably do his rather uncomplicated and emotion-governed politics good to be forced out of it into real responsibility where he gets that there are more people to be hurt (ie Sybil and their baby) by his actions than just him.
And regarding the pretty-boy new footman (who's a bit short, isn't he?)...Thomas, GROW A BRAIN IN YOUR HEAD. Really, this season he is past any sympathy for his situation because yeah, it kind of sucks, but he appears to be utterly incapable of controlling himself in any respect. How did he stay in the closet this long to begin with? (I mean, obviously it's not that dark a closet, not only does O'Brien know, Mrs. Patmore has known for years, not that she could make Daisy get it...)
And poor Daisy...yeah, she's not very bright, but she's running a close second to Edith in the "The Universe Hates Me" contest.
Who wouldn't feel sorry for an old friend whose house was burned down? What's wrong with that?
(I do agree that Branson is a dolt. Always has been, probably always will be.)
I'd take the Ethel plotline over Bates any day. I keep waiting for a UFO to beam Bates up and deposit him somewhere over the Bermuda Triangle, never to return. Zzzzzzz...
I am so glad to be able to participate in the conversation now that I am almost up to speed.
I fast forward through Bates, plain and simple.
Going back to the late hot Turk--I think what happened is that he convinced Mary that she really had no choice, it was a lose/lose for her so she decided she might as well give in. But the element of coercion was strong and made me very uncomfortable for her. What happened to him made me think how unlikely a young healthy man to drop dead in the bloom of youth but then I remembered Sergey Grinkov. It's rare but it happens.
I've been waiting to get to the part when Shirley MacLaine arrived and boy, she didn't disappoint.
It was hard to sympathize with Branson who crowed how the Bolsheviks would never hurt the captive Tsar and his family and when they were executed, tried to justify it. So I guess there's more Branson asshattery to come.
I liked the Anna/Bates story line at first but they've dragged it on waaaay too long
Word. Especially since Anna is normally the smart one and the obvious conclusion, which I would assume (without having been spoiled on this point) is going to be the real story, doesn't seem to have really occurred to her at least until now. Though actually the reference to Vera making the cakes and scrubbing her fingers makes me wonder if what I THOUGHT was the obvious solution (
Vera poisoned herself as a final frame-up of Bates
) isn't it, and in fact the REAL solution might be
she was planning to poison Bates with the cakes, and accidentally poisoned herself. Admittedly it would take a HECK of a lot of accidental ingestion of arsenic, which needs pretty high doses to be instantly fatal, but it could happen.
At this point, though, I'm really tired of the Bates-in-prison plot as it all seems rather contrived: angry cell mate for no reason, other guy helping him for no reason, Bates puts the same skills used with Thomas, O'Brien and the snuffbox to use again...OMG JUST GET HIM OUT OF PRISON. Though I suppose him returning to Downton ought to wait until it's just somehow icing on the cake of Thomas's inevitable humiliation conga. (Honestly, Carson ought to at some point just flat-out tell his lordship if he wants to solve half the staffing issues, they need to fire Thomas and O'Brien yesterday.)
If she had refused him, how would she loose?
He explained it pretty well. Just the fact that he was in her bedroom in the middle of the night to boot would be problematic for her reputation. So if she called for help and someone came and saw him there, it would be a problem. OTOH, if she agreed, there would be likely problems too (and there were and would have been even if he hadn't died--the house is full of people, someone would have seen, not to mention the footman Thomas who knew). So she thought to herself, might as well have some fun. To me this is still coercive.
Just finished 2nd episode: soooooo relieved for Mrs. Hughes. I guess diagnostic methods haven't changed in the past 100 years. And poor Edith, no one deserves that. Sir Anthony is a schmuck.
ETA: and finished the 3rd. Poor Ethel. I hope Mrs. Crawley takes good care of her.
at the maids and Thomas over the pretty new footman.
Oh and Branson is a socialist and a coward. Lovely combination. He wants the baby to be born in Dublin? Really?
Also took the quiz Which Downton Abbey job is right for you? http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece...uiz/which-downton-abbey-job-is-right-for-you/
Turns out, the job of the Dowager Countess, Violet is right for me.
Downton Abbey poses a threat to liberals
So where are all the rude US Amerikans watching Season 3 beyond episode 3? I read something about iTunes and amazon instant video making the rest of the season available after January 29.
Separate names with a comma.