Monday, 10 September 2012

More on Parade's End the B.B.C. dramatisation

My wife and I have been watching Parade's End on the B.B.C. She hasn't read the books so her opinion of it is not deflected by the halo effect. She thinks it's a hopeless muddle and not likely to send many to read the book. I am coming to agree. A major cause of my dissatisfaction is the altering of the character of Sylvia to make her more sympathetic. That just isn't in the books and it wouldn't surprise me if HBO who are partners in the effort had a hand in it. Lest you think that a reading of her egregious misandry is my own projection, this blog on the tetralogy by a woman
parade's end
concurs in her estimation of Tietjens demon wife.

Two more episodes to go. The production values are top-notch. Quite!


not Bridget said...

I first read Parade's End a year ago & have read it again--I'm loving the show. It is visually stunning and most of the performances are excellent--as is most of the writing.

Yes, Sylvia's character has been sweetened. In the book, I trace her change toward Christopher back to seeing him with Valentine at the Macmasters'--as predicted by Father Consett. In the show, the change came earlier & we saw more of Father Consett, Irish Patriot, than of the Father Consett who understood Sylvia.

My main quibble so far is the weakening of Valentine. Tietjens loved her because of her intelligence & her spirit. On the show, the love seems based more on her youth & beauty. Book Valentine was an interesting blend of innocence & experience but the pretty girl on the show remains a bit blank.

Still, there are two more hours. And I trust Sir Tom. His book on the series will come out soon--including the script, scenes that had to be cut & why he wrote what he did. I wonder if he, too, will blame the Evil Americans. The tetralogy sold better over here, you know!

I've encountered a fair number of people online who have not read the books but who enjoy the series & will continue watching to see the story unfold. They do not expect the story to be explained slowly in detail. Some of them now want to read the books.

Remind your wife that Downton Abbey returns soon!

ombhurbhuva said...

not Bridgit:
American commercial interests do tend to hew to a demographic line which would also account for the blandness of Valentine Wannop. I don’t think there was any mention of her tweeny service. She is not coming across as the heroine she is in the book, classicist, suffragette, athlete and excellent bourgeois cook. Will all those threads be pulled together in the next two episodes, all that text and texture, because we are still in the first book Some Do Not so far. It will be interesting to see whether the tetralogy that’s just reissued will sell in any quantity.

not Bridget said...

So--Americans prefer bland, blank little chicks who have never worked? Could you describe that "demographic line"? I thought American liked that "Upstairs/Downstairs" stuff.

Sorry--that's a bit rough. Valentine on TV seems to be a Very Nice Girl. But her time in service was not mentioned--especially sad because that time made her a Suffragette. And it also made her interesting--to Tietjens & to the reader.

Even to this American reader.

I also hope that Sir Tom can adjust the balance between Blander!Valentine and Kinder!Sylvia in the next two episodes. His upcoming book should explain some of his decisions.

Still, I do appreciate almost everything else about the series. Such as the first gathering at Macmaster's, where "In the room the women come and go, talking of Michelangelo."

ombhurbhuva said...

Both Val and Mrs. Wannop are heroes of labour. Maybe it’s the fault of the actress who looks so young and fresh. Val should be exhausted because she never stops. Ethel Macmaster chides her for running around in her gym slip, letting the side down. Good part there.

Two more to go. What will they do with The Last Post. It will be interesting to see how Sir Tom works that in or leaves it out.