Saturday, 19 March 2016

Television review: Poldark series 1


In the late 18th century, Ross Poldark returns to his family and home in Cornwall after having served in the army. Upon his return, he finds his father dead, the mine he owned closed and his beloved Elizabeth engaged to his cousin Francis. Ross starts on rebuilding his families estate, but has to fight against the greedy Warleggan bankers. He rescues the young woman Demelza and offers her a place as his kitched maid.

Anyone even a little interested in period drama can hardly have missed the buzz that this tv-series created when it aired on the BBC last year. It was hailed as everything from 'the next Downton Abbey' to 'the next Pride and Prejudice' and scored high ratings. So ofcourse I was curious!


To give my very short opinion: it was quite good. I totally loved the first few episodes, but my appreciation waned a bit after that. In all the media a lot of attention was given to Aidan Turner (of The Hobbit fame) playing Ross Poldark and how his smoldering could rival Mr. Darcy's. It is indeed true that Aidan/Ross is very attractive... and also loyal and passionate and fighting injustice. Definitely a character to admire? Yes, most of the time, but he also really annoyed me, especially in the later episodes with his hot headedness and rash decisions. So no, I'm afraid Ross Poldark is no contestant for Mr. Darcy on my personal list of favourite period drama heroes... Who is earning a top spot in my book is Demelza as played by Eleanor Tomlinson. This is one amazing heroine: brave, strong, kind, not afraid to learn and change. I loved Demelza's development over the course of the series. In fact, I loved all of the main female characters in Poldark and the growing friendships between Demelza, Verity and Elizabeth were among the best scenes.

The storyline of the first series of Poldark is filled with family drama and class struggles. Some people might say it leans towards soap opera, but I don't agree. Most of the stories were poignant and felt realistic for the time and place. I was most interested in the stories involving Ross's employees and their struggle to make a living while all the mines were closing. Many stories however, did feel a bit rushed. The 8-part series covers a time of I guess 4 or 5 years, so some relationships did not get enough time to develop in my opinion. Especially the relationship between Verity and Captain Blamey progressed waaay too fast in the first episodes. There is also romance ofcourse, though for some reason I had expected more from the promo material. I did really love the romance between Ross and Demelza, especially in the first half of the series. Ross's love declaration in episode 4 is just amazing! 

The scenery of the show is amazing, the dramatic Cornwall coastline is almost a character in itself, such a big role does it play in the series. The costumes are lovely; Poldark takes place in a time period which is not very frequently adapted, so it was interesting to see and learn about the clothing style of the period (If you want to read more about how accurate the costumes are, this is a very interesting website). Demelza's dresses were all so beautiful and really showed her changing status very well.

For anyone who loves a beautifully made 'big' period drama with lots of romance and family drama, I can recommend Poldark. I definitely know I will be tuning into series 2!

Content: Implications of adultery and premarital sex, passionate kissing is shown, but nothing graphic, a prostitute features in several episodes (shown in 'after' scenes). A few violent scenes with people being shown to be shot at or beaten up. A man accidentally kills a woman. Some scattered British profanities.

This is my first review for the Period Drama Challenge at Old-Fashioned Charm!



Old-Fashioned Charm

8 comments:

  1. I admit to being very curious about this particular series. I tried the one from the 80s and found myself mightily offended by Poldark himself. Maybe I would be less so in the remake. Although I am a little bit reticent since I'm not an Aidan Turner fan. After all the Hobbit hype, I kind of got turned off of him, a bit, which is sort of sad since he's not a bad actor. The same thing happened with Orlando Bloom after LotR. I obviously have an issue. ;)

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    1. I was a bit surprised at Poldark's character, before watching it I had read so many glowing reviews mainly about how amazing Ross Poldark was. Apparently some people like their heroes grumpy and hotheaded ;-)

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  2. I'm also curious about this, but it hasn't crossed my path yet, but I will definitely try it out when it does. I rather like Aidan Turner, so looking forward to it!

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    1. It's crossing your path now ;-)

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  3. How stunning are the locations in this television show? Just another place I want to check out now when I go to the UK one of these days :P Wonderful review! I have yet to jot my thoughts about the show down somewhere on my blog but I'm looking forward to the second series and reading Demelza :)

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    1. Thanks, Li! Looking forward to reading your thoughts!
      I also really want to see the second series, though I've read a bit about what happens in the books and am slightly afraid at all the shit the poor characters are going to have to endure...

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  4. Really enjoyed the series but agree with you that the Verity/Blamey thing was really rushed! The books are good too :) Looking forward to the second series, although Ross gets less likeable as the books go on, so I hope they make him nicer!

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    1. Ugh, yes, I read some things about Ross's behaviour in the later books. Not looking forward to that...

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