Friday, October 9, 2020


OK, I admit it, I was hesitant at first to watch Sanditon. Why you ask? Well, that answer is twofold. Firstly, I hadn't read Jane Austen's partial manuscript in years and wanted to brush up on that and other of her unfinished writing. Secondly, well, the reviews from other Janeites was bad. I usually don't listen to the Janeites, I've often disagreed with these fanatics, and in fact been treated rather harshly by them, so I don't know why I was listening to them being shocked by sex in Austen, but there it is. Yet here's the thing I say to them; "Oh NO, sex in Austen! It's not like Willoughby knocked up a fifteen year old, oh wait..." So there. Game, set, and match. Andrew Davies for the win! It's not that I'm all for sexing up Austen, I'm for the reasonable depiction of the time period, and people had sex! This adaptation was like Austen mixed with Gaskell and Dickens but with the filming sensibilities of Gentleman Jack. Sanditon was fun and diverting, and so what if it was about a town instead of just one family, this just gave it more of a Cranford vibe. There was more flow of narrative, characters weaving in and out of each other's lives at this seaside town trying to make it versus set pieces. I felt like there was real struggle and strife. In fact I thought to myself, it had a bit of the real world horrors mixed with the frenzied fun of Austen's juvenalia. Sanditon is what the roundly praised by very much disliked by me adaptation of Austen's Love and Friendship was supposed to be. Also, while some characters, in particular our male lead, are supposed to evoke parallels to other Austen characters, ahem Darcy, it was the other more complex characters I really appreciated. In fact Esther Denham is now my new favorite Austen heroine. She's dirt poor, manipulated and manipulating, yet somehow you root for her and her redemptive arc gave me the HEA you'd expect for the leads, except they were expecting a second season and didn't get one. So oddly we have yet another unfinished Sanditon that somehow still manages to be satisfying.


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