Monday, January 23, 2006

Everything Good On Is...

Last night’s “Bleak House” (part one of six) on PBS was very interesting. I regret to say I have not read the book (and probably will not for some years), so my review is a bit limited. But it was done skillfully and perhaps even engrossingly. It is written by Andrew Davies, the same man responsible for the scripting of 95’s magnificent “Pride and prejudice” miniseries and the ridiculous Pride & Prejudice appropriation “Bridget Jones” (I shudder to think on the relation).

The presentation may be a bit, erm, overstated… but I forgive it on that count.
And it is really quite enjoyable to see Inspector Lynley (that is, Nathaniel Parker) playing so well the Mr. Skimpole, a most Dickensian of characters.
Not to mention Charles Dance’s just barely understated turn as the eerie lawyer. His performance’s nuances, unfortunately, are lost in the whoosh noises and the like superimposed to heighten it. Alas.

Oh, yeah, and Scully the Alien Hunter does a pretty good job affecting a Brit accent for the lead role.
But these highlights shouldn’t detract from the rest of the cast. Just find time to watch it for many fine performances, however flashy the sound editing tries to get.

And tonight on the tube was American Experience’s “John and Abigail Adams.” Beautiful.
O.K, so they misinterpreted Adams’ central objectives in the Massachusetts constitution (for the full twenty seconds granted to it), and miscast and misdirected Thomas Jefferson.
But on the whole it was just a very well-told, very balanced picture of one of this country’s most important founding influences.
One of the things I like about it so much is that I can’t say whether it’s main focus was on the couple’s personal relationship or on the vast events so influenced by the Adams. Both are painted very well and fully.

And John Adams truly is a man worthy of remembrance and respect (despite the Alien and Sedition Acts, which I’ll try not to rave against for page after page).

The broadcast also took a good look at the Federalist vs. Republican dynamic, and the personal ramifications (and causes). And in everything where an actor , who did not physically resemble the man, was not expected to speak for Jefferson (which was done with a “gentleman’s drawl” to emphasize geographical distinctions), Thomas was represented quite fairly in triumph and fault.

Good show. (Please note labored British accent on that sentence.)

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