Monday, December 21, 2009

Return to Cranford

Well, last night Cranford returned to the BBC airwaves after two years absence. There were many familiar faces, many new faces, and a few faces that were new replacing faces that were old. Yes, that's right, there's been that horror of horrors... RECASTING! Within the first five minutes of the show all hopes of it being truly wonderful were dashed by Martin Shaw not returning as Miss Matty's brother Peter. Nicholas Le Prevost, most noted for being conned out of money for a new window by Geraldine, on the Vicar of Dibley (at least to me), has flamboyantly stepped up to fill Martin Shaw's shoes. The real question is why they needed to be filled in the first place!?! If you can't get the original actor, you work around it, not recast! Anything but recast, because this breaks the reality that the show as created. Aside from that there is much of what we expect from Cranford, giddy, hyper concerned women running through streets and then death. Because nothing says Cranford like a side of a dead main character. In fact, I think they might be trying to break the record established in the first series of a main character kicking it an episode. We've already had three! They really are at the point of having to introduce characters just so they have enough people to put in jeopardy and then kill. I'm not going to spoil it by saying who it is, but one of them was obvious, seeing as the cast member concerned is a regular on another BBC drama and I'm sure they could not have been spared longer. Why couldn't they have done this with Peter? Better to kill them off then to recast any day.

But life continues on much as it always does in Cranford, it's been two years since Deborah died and Maddie's life is settled with Jem and Martha and their little daughter. But of course, time is moving, the railroad is getting closer and things change. New faces are there in the form of the Bells, a grieving family, and the Buxtons, a family returned to Cranford after many years. Mrs. Bell is a nasty overbearing bitch from hell played by Lesley Sharp, who was terrifying on the Doctor Who episode "Midnight". Mr. Buxton is a short tempered, ill humored man played by Jonathan Pryce. Apparently overbearing parents are two for the price of one in Cranford this season. There is also the concern of Septimus... who for once shows up, being even more of a shit that I thought possible, I wanted to enter my television and throttle him, with an effeminate Italian in tow. The only surmise I can make is that this man is Septimus' lover, though it's never stated, and perhaps, the real reason for his stay abroad. The only saving graces of this episode was a parrot and Miss Galindo. By removing Doctor Harrison, who's departure is not explained, other than the fact they probably can't afford the actor anymore, they removed a sort of central figure the women could flutter around. Miss Matty, who, while central in the first season, had a counterpoint with Doctor Harrison. There is no counterpoint and it seems to be flailing a bit. Of course this could all change once I rewatch, rewatching really helps to hone your opinions. Or Tim Curry's arrival next week could also change everything. Overall I would say, mild disappointment and a sense of unmet expectations, but I still hope. But I should say, that my first reaction to Cranford two years ago was about the same, I can't seem to reconcile the inconsequentially and broad humor with the desire to kill off major characters every episode, lest we forget Walter... I would almost say Cranford is bipolar. But I didn't know that going in originally and this time I was prepared... but I was still let down.


One word; WOW!

I'm sorry to hear that this was such a disappointment. I was thinking about starting the series, but a also hate it when they recast so much :-/

It's still worth it, being better than the majority of television out there, The first series is really worth it. I'm just a little sad... hopefully Dr Who later this week and part two with Tim Curry will cure my woes.

Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home