There is nothing like Masterpiece Theatre on Sunday night to usher in the work week. The vacuum that Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge left a few months ago was filled last night by Poldark and The Crimson Field.
Based on the books by Winston Graham and a reboot of the original 1970’s miniseries, Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) has just returned from fighting for the British in the American Revolution. The reception that he received was unexpected. His father is dead, his home is in ruins and his sweetheart, Elizabeth (Heida Reed) is engaged to Ross’s cousin Francis (Kyle Soller). The economy is in a depression and Ross has to find a new way to revitalize his land and the lives of his tenants. When Ross rescues Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) from a beating, he expects to see a young boy under the rags. He finds a woman who is escaping a brutal home life. Offering Demelza the position of kitchen maid, Ross does not know that his life might just turn around in more ways that one.
I have not seen the original miniseries, but it’s fabled lore continues 40 years after it’s initial airing. Ross Poldark might not be Mr. Darcy or Mr. Rochester, but he comes pretty close to that stature. I know I am going to enjoy the series.
The Crimson Field is the story of three young women who have volunteered as nurses at a hospital in Northern France during World War I. Kitty (Oona Chaplin), Rosalie (Marianne Oldham) and Flora (Alice St. Clair) have no idea what they are getting into when they signed up to volunteer. They will quickly learn the brutality of war and the hard decisions that must be made. Lt. Col Roland Brett (Downton Abbey’s Kevin Doyle) is the head of the camp who goes against a superior’s orders to send a young soldier home who is suffering from what we now know is PTSD. Matron Grace Carter (Hermoine Norris) is tough on the new recruits, but she has her own story to tell.
I didn’t enjoy this program as much as I did Poldark. I couldn’t keep up as well with the characters. But for history buffs and people like me who are suffering from Downton withdrawal, it’s not all that bad.