Sunday, April 3, 2016

Show of the Month: March: Poldark (2015 Remake)

Now I mentioned in the first edition of my “Show of the Month” series last month that I would be doing a review/rant on the new adaptation of Winston Graham’s Poldark series, starring Aiden Turner as Ross Poldark.  In all seriousness, I do watch more than one series in a month, and Merlin and Death in Paradise could have been contenders as well, but I LOVE Poldark, and as March is my birthday month, I thought I’d go for something I think will be special to me for years to come.

Poldark is based on a good dozen or more books by the great British author Winston Graham, back in the 1940s and 1950s, and the first adaption to television was made in the 1970s, and my mom definitely remembers her parents watching that, as they watched the good old period dramas of the 70s, like Upstairs, Downstairs as well.  I have not seen the older Poldark version, and while I adore Upstairs, Downstairs (I just got the whole extended series for my birthday, as it is no longer on Amazon Prime for free!), the 70s Poldark doesn’t seem as wonderful as the newer one.

The synopsis without giving away the turning points of the plot is as follows.  Ross Poldark, a young man from Cornwall who was sent to fight in the Revolutionary War to quell his gambling bets, returns home in 1782, to find his father has died months before, and his remaining servants languishing in the desolate house.  He sets to work reviving his home, hiring a couple of villagers and a girl he rescues (and her dog from a dogfight) from her father to work in the home and the fields.  Ross’s uncle is the heir of the Poldark family, so his own father received a small share in the land and family mining business, which he will now attempt to scavenge from ruin.

Among the first things Ross Poldark does upon his return is to find a welcome from his remaining family, on his uncle’s side, his uncle, great-aunt Agatha, and cousins, Francis and Verity.  This visit marks a decline on his part, because he learns his betrothed, Elizabeth is engaged to his cousin and Poldark family heir, Francis, because of Ross’s long and uncertain time spent at war.  Ross then pulls his energy into not gambling at cards, as before the war, but at bringing his farm and mines back to life. 

The first series is set with many grievances and joys.  Ross is a commendable character, as well as Verity, Demelza, Zachy Taylor, and many others.  The few “villains” are not truly evil, but just caught between honor and their personal greed.  Even the honorable characters go through testing times and make difficult, if poor choices.  This makes the series have a good taste of human fault and foible, which is only natural.

The music, by Anne Dudley, is fantastic, as is the costuming.  I’ve heard negativity, but only from someone I know who works as a historical role-player at an American colonial museum.  I personally don’t find the series lacking in historical accuracy, and it is certainly well-based on the books I have so far read by Mr. Graham, who as I understand, did intricate research of his own of the mining lives of Cornwall in the 1780s. 


I thoroughly recommend Poldark, and cannot wait for the next season to come out, hopefully this summer!  Poldark is not currently on Netflix, but can be found on Amazon Instant Video.

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