More of the Britishiest Brits: The BBC’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Skip today’s entry if you find any of the following boring: British period pieces full of tricorn hats, pantaloons, masked balls, comedies of manners, compelling characters, dry British humor, magical imagery, and battles. If you are down with any or all of those things, please, read on! 

 

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Awkward stances and moody lighting! 

The phrase “modern classic” gets tossed around a lot, and isn’t always accurate. In the case of the BBC’s adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell, it is possibly the only description that fits. I’ve already watched it twice, once with one eye on my knitting, and a second time just so I could soak up all the magnificent production and performances. There’s not a wasted moment of the show, and one season really just wasn’t enough, even though it perfectly captured the entire 600-page book.

Today’s post is all about the glorious adaptation, with some light, inconsequential spoilers.

If you aren’t already familiar with the story from reading the book, here is a quick summary:

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BBCTV’S Copper

In all, Copper was a good show. The production design was great, and if anything the show suffered from an overabundance of story rather than too little.

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BBCTV’s Copper

Flipping through the Netflix Instant Watch feeds, I kept coming upon the show Copper. I added it to my queue and if my mind worked like Windows Explorer the file name was  \\hotpeople_periodcostumes_possiblydepressing_watchwhiledrunk.mov.   Having watched the show, I feel validated about my naming convention, although it is certainly worth discussing in detail.

Copper is an ensemble piece following several interrelated stories in 1860s New York. One group, the Irish, is made up of cops headed by the titular Detective Kevin “Corky” Corcoran, a scrappy looker of a gent (Tom Weston-Jones) and veteran of the still-occurring Civil War. He immigrated as a boy, and spent a difficult childhood in the streets of Five Points. After seeing the way the Irish were treated, he joined the Army to provide for his wife and daughter, who begin the show missing. In the army, he served with Matthew Freeman (Ato Essandoh) under Major Robert Morehouse (Kyle Schmidt), who each serve as contact points for the other groups in the show.

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The Boys!

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Welcome! Please, Let Me Show You Around!

Welcome to the big ‘Getting to Know Me’ post. I’ve noticed a lot of new folks reading my rambles, so I thought I would introduce myself and explain what kinds of things you’ll find here. Below the cut are some samples of the over 200 posts I’ve written that should help introduce you to me and my writing a little better.

Hi there!

Welcome to the big ‘Getting to Know Me’ post. I’ve noticed a lot of new folks reading my rambles, so I thought I would introduce myself and explain what kinds of things you’ll find here. Below the cut are some samples of the over 200 posts I’ve written that should help introduce you to me and my writing a little better.

Continue reading “Welcome! Please, Let Me Show You Around!”

The Witch – Short Review and Comparison

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the movie. I just thought it was interesting how two completely different people can create such similar content, without ever meeting.

The Witch is definitely everything I expected, from all the reviews and thinkpieces I’ve read of it, with a few surprises.

Although it’s a horror film, it’s more concerned with building atmosphere and character than throwing out cheap scares. The imagery puts me in mind of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s nature pieces, like The Bear. The soundtrack is beautiful and at times incredibly offputting, as an atonal women’s chorus swells, or strange instruments pluck and rattle, setting your nerves on edge.

The period setting has been exhaustively researched, and director/writer Robert Eggers has perfectly recreated a setting that lends itself to horror particularly well.

It’s not a horror movie for everyone, and I wonder if it will catch fire the way that a lot of people seem to think it will – I can’t see a group of people renting it on Redbox and pounding beers while watching it, but I never would have imagined Downton Abbey would blow up the way it did, either. I have LOADS of praise for it, but I won’t say too much just now. But the last ten minutes – SO awesome.

Anyway, I did notice a lot of parallels with my own work. I’ll put them behind a cut to spare people spoilers from the movie, but if you’re not intending on seeing the movie anyway then you might enjoy knowing where there’s overlap – and where there isn’t.

Continue reading “The Witch – Short Review and Comparison”

Seeing ‘The Witch’ Tonight!

If you don’t know, The Witch is a horror movie taking place in 17th century America, about 50 years before the Salem Witch Trials. I am WAY excited about it. It’s been getting not just rave reviews but also lots of ‘Yes, this movie is hella scary’ reviews.

I can’t wait!

If you don’t know, The Witch is a horror movie taking place in 17th century America, about 50 years before the Salem Witch Trials. I am WAY excited about it. It’s been getting not just rave reviews but also lots of ‘Yes, this movie is hella scary’ reviews.

I am also looking forward to it because the setting, from what I can tell, is very similar to part of the setting of my first novel, The Secret Wilderness. Group hysteria, mad superstitions, iron-fisted patriarchy, and a group of miserable people scratching a living next to a grim, misty forest – well, in my book the lead character rebels against that shit and escapes, so it’s not a total downer. But my book is more about the resilience of the spirit and learning how to survive, and it pays off for the protagonist.  It does have horror, but the overall message is ‘Don’t give up because things will get better.’

Obviously I am not comparing the two, but I’m curious to see how the director makes use of the setting to tell the story. And I just love historical stuff! Either way, I’m way looking forward to seeing it. I will try to do a write up afterward!