Sunday, October 30, 2011
Expect a Masterpiece!
I don't know about you, but I have been very much enjoying the adaptations of Kate Atkinson's novels on PBS' Masterpiece. Case Histories is not the first Masterpiece show I have enjoyed! There have been any number of wonderful productions in the past to fill up my Sunday night viewing. Visit the PBS site to read more about Masterpiece Classic, Mystery!, & Contemporary (including exclusive video of Downton Abbey II!). Or, if you are already a fan, there are many Masterpiece DVDs in the library catalog. Here are some my favorites:
Set in an Edwardian country house in 1912, Downton Abbey portrays the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who work for them. In the drawing rooms, library, and beautiful bedrooms, with their tall windows looking across the park, lives the family, but below stairs are other residents, the servants, as fiercely possessive of their ranks as anyone above.
The Forsyte Saga
It is late in the Victorian era, and two branches of an upper-crust family--the "good" Forsytes, headed by well-meaning Old Jolyon, and the "bad" Forsytes, headed by crusty barrister James--are at odds, eternally squabbling. The 'saga' focuses on the younger generations - Young Jolyon, Soames, Winifred, June - and their struggles with emotional repression, the rejection of Victorian mores, and the sea changes taking place as a less repressive society emerged. Every family may indeed have its vicissitudes, but few have as many as John Galsworthy's Forsytes.
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders
Moll is a headstrong woman whose lowly station in 18th century London leaves her in the most dire of circumstances forcing her into a lifestyle that could easily break her spirit. Her story involves husbands and numerous lovers, shocking family secrets, and travels to bustling London and the New World's Virginia. Moll's dangerous misdeeds stretch from sexual adventures to criminal acts, leaving her with a price on her head as she strives to triumph against overwhelming odds.
My Family and Other Animals
When the dreary English weather of 1935 gets to be too much for the eccentric Durrell family, they set off for the rustic, sun-drenched Greek island of Corfu, and the unknown.
Based on the novel by Jane Austen.
The icily beautiful Lady Dedlock faces the revelation of her dark past once Mr. Tulkinghorn catches wind of it. Esther's background also comes to light after the murder of a strange man. An all-star cast comes together for this Dickens classics.
Sally Lockhart Mysteries: Ruby in the Smoke
Set in Victorian London, fearless young Sally Lockhart has a mind for numbers and for sleuthing. Recently orphaned Sally is armed with a pearl-handled pistol and her keen mind, uncovers the secrets of her father's death aboard the sunken schooner Lavinia, discovers hidden cursed jewels, and faces England's deadliest villains with bold courage.
Cranford, in 1842, is a market town in northwest England. It is a place governed by etiquette, custom and above all, an intricate network of ladies. It seems that life has always been conducted according to their social rules. For spinsters Deborah Jenkyns, the arbiter of correctness, and Matty, her dumurring sister, the town is a hub of intrigue. Handsome new doctor Frank Harrison has arrived from London; a retired Captain and his daughters move in across the street and preparations for Lady Ludlows garden party are underway. The town has some secrets which are about to be revealed. But news comes that shakes the town, a railway line from Manchester is coming to Cranford.
Following the death in 2000 of his eponymous mentor in Inspector Morse, Sergeant Lewis was promoted to Inspector and took a two-year sabbatical in the British Virgin Isles. Newly widowed, he now returns to Oxford and soon finds himself in charge of his own murder case. But it is notes that Morse made on an earlier case which help Lewis solve his case.
Prime Suspect 2
This case involves a death in the Afro-Caribbean community that puts Detective Chief Inspector Tennison and the rest of the police force in the middle of racial controversy. Emmy Award Winner - Outstanding Miniseries.
Masterpiece Contemporary begins November 6th with Page Eight & continues on November 13th with A Song of Lunch. Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson star in The Song of Lunch, about a book editor and his former lover who reconnect over lunch. Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon and Ralph Fiennes star in the spy thriller Page Eight about an MI-5 officer caught in a conspiracy.
Also, from 1996 but still an entertaining read: Masterpiece Theatre: A Celebration of 25 Years of Outstanding Television by Terrence O'Flaherty.