Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Which is Better? Death Comes to Pemberley

Alright, I wanted to wait until I finished the book to do a proper comparison between the BBC miniseries and the book by P.D James. However, what I didn't anticipate was the length of time it would take me to get through the book! My review of the book is here, so if you haven't done so already, click the link to read! Please also post any comments you have about the book, and if you agree or disagree with my review!

Now, onto the Which is Better? So, like I said before, I stumbled onto the miniseries when I was looking for something to watch on Netflixs. BAE wasn't home and "Death Comes to Pemberley" seems to be a "Just Jordan" viewing instead of an "US" viewing. We like much of the same things and we get upset when the other starts something that one of us had an interest in seeing. SO! "Death Comes to Pemberley" was definitely a Jordan only viewing. It also caught my attention because Matthew Rhys's face, one of the stars of The Americans, was plastered across the wallpaper of Netflix when I was browsing. I just got more excited as I watched because a lot of people were in this series!

I will come out and say it: the miniseries is way better than the book. Now let's all pack up and go home! Just kidding, but I am very glad that I saw the miniseries first before reading the book because I was given context on characters and was able to visualize them more when I was reading P.D James' book. I feel like the director and the screenwriters for the show did a great job of bringing beloved characters to life and correctly characterizing them based off of Austen's book (for the most part). I also thought they did a great job of showing the relationship between characters, which I think was lacking in James' book.

What I also liked about the miniseries was that they filled in some of the blanks with how characters interacted with each other. It's strange to say that because usually the book has the details that the movie or show chose to emit because there isn't enough time. Strangely the miniseries added color and context on the characters, such as Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliams. In the book, Colonel Fitzwilliams just kind of appears with the backstory that his elder brother passed and now he is the heir to the... Hartlep castle (right? Is that the family name?) and Darcy is sizing him up to marry Georgiana. Elizabeth mentions maybe that Georgiana may like Alastar, but Darcy just shrugs her off and before the reader's know it, they are knee deep in the woods trying to find Denny and Wickam.

In the show, however, the actor does a good job of showing motive underneath his decisive actions and the show also does a good job of showing disagreement between Darcy, Elizabeth, Wickham and Georgiana. In the book, there is nothing to show Georgiana's feelings (other than wanting to help and desire to not be seen as a child) or Darcy's desire to ensure that Georgiana is taken care of. The miniseries has a few scenes between Colonel Fitzwilliams and Darcy, Elizabeth and Darcy, Elizabeth, Darcy and Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliams to show the conflict and the resolution.

Also! The miniseries clarifies who Mrs. Young is! Or at least, assumes? I'm not sure, but the book, other than the fact that Mrs. Young shows the art of scamming to a young George Wickham and then later is willing to help him, Mrs. Young has no connection to Wickham! Or was there, and I misread the book? Anyway, the miniseries clearly draw a line from Wickham to Young and makes the connection that they are family. The book? Not so much.

Overall, if you have the time or the inclination, watch the miniseries. It's only 3 episodes and if you like the Edwardian era or historical era movies or shows, you would enjoy it. If you are an Austen purist, you may not want to watch it, but if you don't mind sequels, by all means, take a few hours! I would pass on the book though unless you are like me, and you are interested in comparing the two, but the show adds much more depth than the book, which is strange because usually it's the opposite.

Oh! One final thing. In the book there is this long monologue by Darcy. It's campy and so out of character that I found myself rolling my eyes. Thankfully in the series there is a conclusion, but both Darcy and Elizabeth are standing there (instead of Elizabeth sitting there like a dullard in the book listening to Darcy drone on) and the series actually changed a bit of the ending, which personally, I like more.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D James

I first stumbled across the TV mini-series of "Death Comes to Pemberley" first before I read the book. I was excited because I recognized some of the actors from various shows (shout out to Matthew Rhys from The Americans and Matthew Goode from The Good Wife) and I wanted to see them in other things. I watched 1 episode and asked my British friends if they had seen it.

Man, oh man. Sequels to books written by other authors is a hot button topic, and I had NO idea. My one friend flat out told me that she refused to acknowledge the sequel and all sequels to Jane Austen books. Her reasoning, which I understand, is that if there was meant to be a sequel, then a sequel would have been written. She compared it to fanfiction, which I can see why she did. My other British friend read the book, hated the book and didn't watch the show. However, she stated that maybe she should watch the miniseries because it would have been better than the book. My final friend loved the show, but didn't read the book. A lot of strong opinions, and so I decided to finish the TV series, read the book, and do a couple posts about it! 

Now, here is my stance on sequels written by other authors. I don't really care. I acquired a book titled, "Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife" by Linda Berdoll and I thought it was a great read. Maybe they don't bother me because of my experience with the first sequel I read! I think Pride and Prejudice is iconic because people want to know what happened to those characters. It's such a romantic story and we want to read after they get married. 

Now let's get to the book. I'm going to do a "which is better?" post between the book and the TV series, but I will say this: I am glad that I watched the series first even though I am a bit curious to see if I would have reacted the same way if I didn't watch the series first. 

It took me a couple of weeks to get through. Those who follows my blog know that it does not take me long to get through books, but this one... took me a bit. It's... disappointing. There is a mystery surrounding whether Mr. Wickham killed Captain Denny, and there is this trial and conclusion to the trial... and that's it. There is a conclusion to what happens to the Wickhams and then Darcy goes back to Pemberley. There is this bit about Darcy's ancestors and relationship issues with the Wickhams and... it just putters out. There really isn't any life within the book and the characters just fall flat. I'm disappointed in P.D James because I read some of her other books, and I enjoyed them! I think part of the fun of sequels reimagining characters and putting them in new situations or crazy situations... and this wasn't it. 

The only characters I thought were imagined well was Lydia and Jane, who, are supporting characters, at best. I thought the rest of the characters were 1 dimensional and I felt like it was the Darcy show, instead of the Darcys show. I liked Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, but it was mostly about Elizabeth Bennet's journey, not his. There is a weak twist that I saw coming because I watched the series before I read the book, and the series embellished certain story points, which is a good thing because there wasn't a connection between certain characters in the book. 

So, I think the danger of reading different sequels of Pride and Prejudice is the depiction of side characters. I was always curious about Colonel Fitzwilliam and how he fit into the whole Pride and Prejudice world. I really liked what happened with him and Georgiana in "Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife" but in this book.. he just falls flat. He's there, supporting Darcy and the whole shebang, and then just... leaves. There is never a confrontation between him and Darcy over Georgiana nor is there a serious discussion about Georgiana's future between Darcy and Elizabeth. 

Finally, the conclusion to the trial and the epilogue of the book ties up in a nice, neat bow without ever addressing any issues of who Wickham is and his ability to provide for Lydia.