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!