Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Season 43 - The Paradise Series 1 (2013)

Two series about the advent of department stories debuted within six months of each other and if I had to pick one I would not have picked Mr Selfridge, Jeremy Piven and Andrew Davies must accept my apologizes, because I would have picked The Paradise. Created by the team behind Lark Rise to Candleford with many of the same actors, this was another loose adaptation of a classic that captured my heart and swiftly became one of my most favorite series ever. There was just such heart and romance and, unlike Mr Selfridge, there was more than a little of the Upstairs, Downstairs dynamic. Here we really got stuck into the lives of those working at The Paradise as well as those running and funding the roadshow. We saw the haves versus the have nots and how a major department store economically impacted it's small business competitors, a concern that is even more relevant today. When Denise Lovett arrives on the scene she becomes the focal point of all that is happening. She straddles both worlds, he uncle having a business that is struggling because of The Paradise, while she herself takes a job at The Paradise, and is soon seen by the owner, John Moray, as a girl after his own heart. She's smart and a self-starter and soon steals his heart. Of course there's a love triangle and many complications. This wouldn't be a show worthy of Masterpiece if there wasn't. But what I really liked most about this series is it wasn't afraid to go dark. As in, there's a murder! Arthur Darvill of Doctor Who fame gets involved in The Paradise when his storefront is bought by the expanding store. His style doesn't mesh well with the glamour Moray sells and, well, one thing leads to another, and his body is found in the river. The culprit is of course revealed, which goes into the ties that bind us as a community and as a company and as a people together. Just writing this makes me sad all over again that such a lovely show was cancelled too soon. But I'd rather have it cancelled too soon than have it overstay it's welcome, which is sadly what happened to Lark Rise to Candleford.


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