It’s 1848 and monarchies all over Europe are being deposed and replaced by a republic at a ferocious rate. Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) is on the throne for a decade. She and Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) have been married for eight years. She is heavily pregnant with the seventh of their eventual nine children. Outside of the palace walls, the Chartists are protesting for their political rights. In France, the King has been deposed and finds safety within Victoria’s court.
Inside the court, there is even more drama. Victoria’s older half-sister, Princess Feodeora (Kate Fleetwood) has decided to pay her little sister a visit. She may or may not be all there. Lord Palmerston (Laurence Fox) is trying to do his job as Foreign Secretary, but comes off as a little impertinent. If nothing else, Victoria is a survivor, but will she survive this latest round of challenges?
When a returning series comes back, the premiere episode has to start with a bang. Victoria started with more than a bang last night. Between the political revolution outside and the personal drama inside, it looks like it will be a very interesting season.
Queen Victoria has the rare distinction of being one of the few female rulers in human history. Last year, the television series Victoria (based on the book of the same name by Daisy Goodwin, who is also the series’ show runner ) hit our small screens.
Last night, the second series of Victoria premiered on PBS. The second series starts a month after the first series ended. Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) is a new mother and has been on resting since giving birth. Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) has stepped into his wife’s shoes while she recovers from bringing their daughter into the world. But Victoria is eager to get back to work and like many mothers, has to find the life/work balance that is sometimes akin to walking on a tightrope. While Victoria is trying to balance family life, her marriage and her job, Albert is trying to find his own identity outside of his marriage.
I really enjoyed last night’s episode. Not just because creator and writer Daisy Goodwin brings these real life people into our modern lives, but also because Victoria and Albert’s marriage seems so ordinary, despite their extraordinary status in society. Like any married couple, they love each other, but they disagree quite fiercely. I also very much appreciated that Victoria’s dilemma is quite modern. She is working in a man’s world, but at the same time, she is a wife and a new mother. Any woman trying to maintain the same delicate balance will tell you that it is not easy.
For many, when we think of Queen Victoria, we conjure up the image of Victoria in her later years. Still mourning the death of her husband, Victoria is wearing black and looking every inch like the regal Queen we imagine her to be.
On Friday, I had the pleasure of watching the first episode of the new series, Victoria.
Based on the book by Daisy Goodwin (which I am reading now, look for the review either tonight or tomorrow), Victoria wakes up in 1837, a short time after her 18th birthday. Her uncle, the king is dead and she is now Queen. Her first act as Queen is to step out of the tightly controlled life she has lived under her mother, the Duchess Of Kent (Catherine Fleming) and her mother’s adviser, Sir John Conroy (Paul Rhys). Leaning heavily on Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell) for advise and support, she develops what appears to be an infatuation.
I have been a fan of Daisy Goodwin’s books for a few years now. When I heard about not only the book, but the series, I became excited. Neither has let me down yet. What Daisy Goodwin has done both on-screen and on the page (she wrote the screenplay), is present an image of Victoria that few today would recognize. In the place of a morally strong older woman is a young girl who feels like any young girl, regardless of her station. She is young, impetuous, has a temper and likes to laugh. The thing that I liked the most that humanizes Victoria is that, to put it simply, she is human. She is young, she makes mistakes, but she also picks herself up and moves forward with her life.
I absolutely recommend it and I look forward to seeing the full series when it airs in the US in January.
Victoria premieres on January 15th, 2017, at 9pm on PBS.
There are a lot fanfiction writers out there. Very few are lucky enough to not only see their work in print, but also see it on screen.
PD James’s sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Death Comes to Pemberley aired the UK over the past few days. I was lucky enough to see it before my American IP address prevented me from seeing it.
The 1995 Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle minieries is not only the best filmed adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but the best of the filmed adaptations of any Austen novel. Any adaptations will always bring comparisons, but this adaptations stands on its own.
Ms. James’s novel starts 6 years after the original novel ends. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are happily married with a young son. On the eve of the annual Lady Anne Ball, Lydia arrives in hysterics that Captain Denny has been murdered and her husband is in the woods surrounding Pemberley. During investigation and trial, Georgiana must choose between duty and marry her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam or choose her heart and marry Mr. Alveston.
I enjoyed it. Ms. James keeps the language and humor of the original novel, utilizing many of the leading characters while keeping the reader engaged in the mystery.
Taking the reins from Colin Firth, Matthew Rhys is a more mature Darcy who is deeply in love with his wife and aware of the responsibility of his station. Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth is a lively and outgoing as she is in the original novel, but with the experience of marriage, motherhood, as well as sharing the responsibility of running the estate. Lydia (Jenna Coleman) and Wickham (Matthew Goode), as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (James Fleet and Rebecca Front) are as they are in original novel.
I enjoyed both the book and the miniseries and I look forward to seeing it when it airs on PBS next month.