TV Review: Poldark

Tinsel

Marissa Neeley is the USU Student Media Office Manager. 

 

Move over, homework.

See you later, sleep.

“Poldark” is here.

Season two of “Poldark” has just begun and can I say that one episode a week is not enough? A handsome lead, a unique and intriguing story, a historically-based setting with a filmed-on location, awesome actors, oh, and did I mention the British accents?  Yep, this show can satisfy your “Downton Abbey” withdrawals.

You may think my earlier comment on seeing sleep later is just a nice literary touch, but no, I’m bags-under-my-eyes serious. This is getting to the point that I might have to buy that $10 product from Mary Kay that helps cover up bags under the eyes.

I was bored during the summer for a little while there and I asked my good friend to recommend some books to read and TV shows that I should watch. “Poldark” was one of them. I was a little skeptical at first. I really lacked desire to watch TV, I still do. Besides, once you’ve watched “Downton Abbey,” everything else is just tasteless. But I found “Poldark” on my favorite blog and decided to give it a whirl.

And that’s how I started losing sleep.

If Ron Weasley was my friend, he would probably tell me that I need to “sort out my priorities,” but what is college life without having something to look forward to every Monday? The show does air on Sunday nights, but it’s more fun to watch it in the computer lab between classes on Mondays. Just to help you survive Monday. It’s crucial

“Poldark” is a remake of the 1970s version. (They have actually cast the original actor that played Ross Poldark from the 1970s version in this new version. He’s a minor character that comes in when someone needs to go on trial). The series is based off twelves books about Ross Poldark who comes home to Cornwall, England after serving in the Revolutionary War to find his father dead and his father’s estate in shambles. The girl he was in love with Elizabeth, is to marry his cousin Francis, and his father’s mines are derelict. Rough start for a war veteran.

Eventually, Ross picks up the pieces of his life — gets shareholders to reopen one of his father’s mines and arranges for a 13-year-old girl to be his kitchen maid and co-workers with Jud and Prudie, the laziest servants to ever live.

But wait — there’s more. Francis marries Elizabeth, Ross eventually marries his kitchen maid, and the tension gets better with Ross and Elizabeth trying to quell the feelings they had for each other pre-war, or is that what they are trying to do?

The pot is put on to boil with the conniving, mean and vindictive George Warleggan. He’s a rags to riches story. His grandfather was a blacksmith and George, with his uncle, has become  of the richest people in the county. They monopolize the banks, the mines, and everyone in Cornwall. The Warleggans are bent on destroying Ross.

Bottom line: Go watch season 1 so you can watch season 2.

Your experience with “Poldark”, is much like your experience with Downton–it’s a lot different (and better) than cop shows on CBS these days. Sometimes the shows that are produced today are very predictable. Okay, well, there were some things on Downton that were pretty predictable and some things that were downright surprising and unique. Producers often use predictable “surprises” to create tension in the show and keep viewer ratings up, but they ruin the feel of the story, characterization, climax, or all of the above when they do that. Downton’s predictable surprises were pulled off very skillfully and in a way that added to the characterization of the characters, made the setting more meaningful, and drove the plot forward instead of leaving it stagnant.

With “Poldark”, the twists and turns may be predictable–but some will catch you off guard like season 2, episode 5. The challenges the characters face–both from the setting and from George Warleggan–add to the story, connecting the viewer to it emotionally.

I like to watch Blue Bloods, and as I’ve watched, I’ve noticed that one episode rarely connects or ties back to another episode. If an episode does connect or tie back, then it’s usually because it’s a two-parter or the season finale or season premiere. Sometimes episodes “tell” rather than “show” which is interesting since they are acting the story out right in front of you. With shows like Blue Bloods it almost feels like each episode is its own vignette instead of a continuous story. With “Poldark”, and “Downton Abbey”, each episode builds off the previous episode, which lets you into the lives of the characters. You are more invested. It’s less choppy and more of a storyline.

Now, most women that write about “Poldark” write about Aidan Turner, who acts as Ross. (He played Kili in The Hobbit. I knew there was a reason Kili is my favorite dwarf!) Yes, this Irish actor is definitely one reason to watch the show, but I actually genuinely like it for more than his good looks. It boils down to the fact that it’s well done and a great story. It just sucks you in like hair next to a vacuum cleaner. “Poldark” is definitely worth binge watching during Fall Break, or before, whatever makes you happy.

You can watch “Poldark” on Amazon Prime, BBC.com, and simplyjune.org. “Downton Abbey” is on Netflix and simplyjune.org. You can find the books at your local public library. They might be on audio as well.

— marissa.neeley@aggiemail.usu.edu


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