Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Masterpiece Classic on PBS

In my book, Sunday nights used to be dismal. There was very little on TV to escape the fact that you had to return to work (or school) the next morning. Now, I actually look forward to Sunday nights and I have PBS to thank: the new season of Masterpiece Classic begins in January. These BBC productions are enjoyable because they are the definition of escapist-- beautiful people in beautiful costumes cavorting in beautiful settings. (It doesn't hurt that the themes are pretty timeless too.)

December 20, 2009-January 3, 2010
PBS is airing an encore presentation of Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford. With it's large ensemble cast, Judi Dench included, this popular mini-series portrays the ins-and-outs of life in a small English town.

If you'd rather not wait until December 20 Find it in the catalog!

January 10-17, 2010
Return to Cranford
The success of Cranford has garnered a sequel, not coincidently titled, Return to Cranford. This installment officially kicks off the new season of Masterpiece Classic. Once again starring Judi Dench, it will pick up where Cranford left off: the building of a new railroad that may have undesirable consequences.

January 24-February 7, 2010
Two seasons ago, the works of Jane Austen were presented. Well, most of them. Mansfield Park (Find it in the catalog!), Northanger Abbey, Persuassion, and Sense & Sensibility (Find it in the catalog!) all got the treatment. I found all adaptions to be as good as, if not better, than previous versions released in the theaters with high-profile stars and bigger budgets.

Lacking from this lineup was Emma (and Pride & Prejudice, which they are apparently not going near-- maybe because there have already been two well-liked, if not loved, versions produced?). But, Emma is getting the redux this upcoming season with Romola Garai in the title role and Johnny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley.

February 14, 2010
Northanger Abbey (encore presentation)
Not my favorite Austen work, but actress Felicity Jones does an excellent job as the protagonist character Catherine Moreland.
Find it in the catalog!

February 21, 2010
Persuassion (encore presentation)
Of all the PBS presentations of Austen, this was my favorite adaption. The simple, but timeless story follows Anne Elliot as she discovers that she still cares for the suitor she was persuaded to turn down a decade earlier. Of course, he's now a very rich man. Starring Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones, I even prefer this version to the one starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds (gasp . . .).
Find it in the catalog!

February 28, 2010
The 39 Steps
Stars Rupert Penry-Jones (from Persuassion) in the adaptation of the novel by John Buchan.

March 28, 2010
Sharpe's Challenge
Actor Sean Bean returns as Richard Sharpe.

April 4, 2010
Sharpe's Peril

April 11, 2010

The Diary of Anne Frank

April 18-25, 2010
Small Island
Stars Naomie Harries and Ruth Wilson.