Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Masterpiece Classics Lineup

So, Masterpiece No Longer Theater announced there Classics line-up today, and it looks solid. Some expected, some known and some surprising. Those who liked Laura Linney will be pleased she's back, being the first host to be asked to return since the relaunch of Masterpiece. So... lets get to the lineup!

First up we have Return to Cranford (January 10-17) followed by Emma (January 24-February 7), as expected. After Emma they're throughing in some previously shown Austen to round out February with Northanger Abbey (February 14) and Persuasion (February 21). Next up we have the new adaptation of The 39 Steps (February 28). While I'm a huge fan of the star, Rupert Penry-Jones I find that this isn't such a "new" show to be showing, mainly because it was released in England in 2008... but alas, the time gap can be great between England and her colonies. Also I think that when Hitchcock does the original, even if it's based on a book like Rebecca, it just shouldn't be remade. Following that we get the two newest Sharpe movies, with Challenge (March 28) and Peril (April 4). Challenge is from 2006! So while we get the newer 2008 installment, I'm thinking most people who follow Sharpe have seen these already, especially cause it aired on BBC America already... Plus it's a hard series to just watch in installments, you need to be a watcher of the whole series to enjoy. Then we get the new adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank (April 11), which boats a stellar cast and was made in 2009. The final installment is Small Islands (April 18-25), which hasn't even aired yet anywhere. This looks most promising with the tangled lives of two couples in post war Britain.

So what's my take on the coming season... I'm interested that they chose such a wide gap of time periods, ranging from Regency to Post War Britain... But overall it's not that exciting. Real BBC nuts will be sad that it's not newer material and those who long for the costume drama won't be seeing too many Empire waists but more modern fair. Also, I know this isn't their fault because the BBC has been blamed... no Dickens!?! He's become the mainstay and the reason for PBS's Renaissance and to leave him out seems foolish. What had I hoped to see might be the logical question as to why I'm disappointed? Desperate Romantics for example? The new movies Enid and Gracie? Starring Helena Bonham Carter and Jane Horrocks... They've never shown Fanny Hill yet... perhaps that is too racy... The new Garrow's Law? Land Girls? I could keep listing... but I just have a feeling they'll never listen.


I think it is a great pity that the people who do these lineups obviously don't bother with any kind of research before hand on what the public would like to see - generic assumptions seem all the rage. It just makes me thankful for DVDs!

The least the could do is put them in chronological order! They'd just have to move 39 Steps...

Fanny Hill is FAR too racy for a "proper" show like Masterpiece!!

The 39 Steps was a fun book (worth the read, to be sure), but much better by Hitchcock! (I'll watch it for Perry-Jones, but I trust your perspective implicitly.)

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