Sanditon – Review, News, and Update (Inserts Tears)

UPDATE: Sadly, in spite of my encouragement written below, ITV has decided to axe Sanditon for a second season, stating the series struggled in ratings.  It’s a shame, frankly, because ITV made a huge mistake with this fantastic potential of a Jane Austen adaptation.  Sadly, the writers gambled on a second season and therefore left the story open and unresolved, which is now their shame and defeat.  Unless another network picks it up, I’m afraid this will go down in history as the most disappointing period drama ever filmed.  (News released December 10, 2019)

(Republished from my blog Popcorn Entertainment Reviews) January 12, 2020, PBS Masterpiece will be showing Sanditon in the United States. It has already aired in the United Kingdom and a few other places.  Those who have watched the series are biting their fingernails, waiting for the reaction across the pond that may or may not determine an announcement whether there will be a season two.  Hold onto your hats, ladies, and gents, because the ocean breezes can be strong. So what’s all the fuss about this fictional seaside resort? Well, let me explain.

Sanditon is based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel. She died before finishing the tale. Screenwriter Andrew Davies decided to finish it, along with other writers who worked on the script and brought it to ITV in the United Kingdom earlier this year. The result of those eight episodes has stirred a storm like none other Jane Austen adaptation on screen thanks to the number of viewers that fall into two camps.

The Jane Austen purists were aghast at the storyline, as it contained nudity (bare male behinds running into the cold waters), too many sexual innuendos, free-flowing hairstyles, and men and women acting non-Regency style. (How dare he kiss her and not propose!) The ending added to the horror of it all, which I will discuss later.

In the other camp are throngs of women who have lost all senses and become absolute fanatics about the series. If you don’t believe me, you need to check out the Sanditon Facebook fan group.  I make no judgment about their often desperate and humorous posts. They only want one thing in life – a second season. Andrew Davies had the nerve to leave its viewers heartbroken in a very un-Jane Austen like ending with no happiness in sight.  How dare he? Well, the women of Sanditon fandom will hear none of it, and they have been on a mission to hound ITV, Red Planet Pictures, the stars, the producers, and whoever they can find to continue the story.  Will they?  Apparently, no announcement will be made until after it airs in the United States. Today the following was posted from the official Sanditon websites:

“We are so happy you enjoyed your trip to Sanditon! We are setting sail for the US and won’t have news to share with you on a second series until the show has aired there. In the meantime, thank you so much for all your support and love for Sidlotte!” (Official Sanditon Facebook Page)

Therefore, it is imperative that you, the viewers, become incandescently obsessed with this show or otherwise a deep depression will circle the earth because Charlotte and Sidney have no happy ending.

So, who are these characters? What is the story about?  Is it because dreamy Theo James, who plays Sidney Parker has actually given the infamous Mr. Darcy and run for his money?  I will let you be the judge of this man who at first has no redeeming qualities. However, in period clothing and with that face, what woman can resist him in spite of his faults? And he will flash his bottom as well, that is if PBS doesn’t edit that scene out. They better not, or there will be hell to pay!  {fans self}

Now that I have regained my senses…

Charlotte, the heroine of the story, in a chance encounter meets the Parkers who invite her to Sanditon. She’s innocent, outspoken, and absolute joy of a character, the eldest of more children than you can count. Her father allows her to accompany the Parkers to Sanditon but not without warning. “Be careful, Charlotte,” he says.  “Careful of what, papa?”  “Everything.”

Yes, there is much to be careful about, because the rest of the characters will leave a lasting impression. There are the grumpy aristocratic lady and her relations that can’t wait for her to die to get her money. Mr. Tom Parker, with tunnel vision, is the town’s entrepreneur who thinks only of himself, along with two hypochondriac siblings. There’s the mysterious Sidney, his other brother, whose slight twitch of a smile will make you swoon. He’s guardian to a rich heiress worth 100,000 pounds who can be a handful. Of course, what story doesn’t have its antagonist you love to hate? You will want to strangle Mrs. Campion, who by the way is married in real life to Theo James. Then poor Stringer, the victim of unrequited love. Many other characters will come onto the screen as well.

The series is well-acted, to say the least. Theo James and Rose Williams, who plays Charlotte, are fantastic in displaying their emotions. Andrew Davies and the writers have woven symbolism throughout the tale that you won’t pick up on until it’s all over and you lean back in your chair, grab a tissue, and sob. Then you’ll begin to ask yourself, what just happened? Why am I blubbering over this show? What has it done to me? Why can’t I sleep? Why do I need to buy a pineapple? Why do I have to run off and join the Sanditon Facebook Fan Group to find solace and comfort among others around the world?

Yes, Sanditon will do one of two things for viewers in the United States.  First, the purist Jane Austen camp will complain and refuse to accept this story with all the faults they can pick out. Others will lose their senses, get lost, swoon, go gaga over Theo James, and lose sleep until an announcement comes that season two will be filmed and released. After all, the story must go on! We need a ripe pineapple! Tom Parker’s debts have to be paid but not with Eliza Campion’s money. Sidney needs to come to his senses! Charlotte needs a happy ending!

Enjoy, Sanditon. Oh, and be careful.  Be very careful, of everything starting January 12, 2020.

 

Blame Jane: Romance Novels 2019–2020 (Publisher’s Weekly)

What’s so great about Regency romances anyway? Even with a forthcoming romance novel whose characters could promenade the same ballrooms as Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley, Anna Harrington, author of An Inconvenient Duke, doesn’t lower her voice when she says it: “I hate Jane Austen.”

Source: Blame Jane: Romance Novels 2019–2020

Jane Austen: Why do Millennials Love her so Much? Another Good Article

A long dead 19th century author who wrote about the rather limited lives of women, in a time when success was defined by who you married, might seem a strange crush for the modern millennial, yet on Instagram the hashtag ‘#janeausten’ brings up over half a million hits and counting.

                 Source: Jane Austen: Why do Millennials Love her so Much?

Meet the Historically Accurate Mr. Darcy | Smithsonian

Not Colin Firth – Not Matthew Macfayden or any other.  Here’s an interesting take on what Mr. Darcy would have really looked like. Read more below.

Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen’s swoon-worthy, 18th-century aristocratic hero, has a sizzle that transcends time.  A team of experts on fashion and social culture offer their take on Jane Austen’s brooding hero.

Source: Meet the Historically Accurate Mr. Darcy | Smart News | Smithsonian

“Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand [pounds] a year.”

Most Popular Authors in Historical Romance (Amazon January 1, 2019)

It’s a new day; it’s a new year.  So who is holding the top ten spot for historical romance authors?  Well, here’s the list, and interesting enough, there is a lot of crossover at the moment between true historical romance versus historical fiction.

By Diana Gabaldon’s own admission, her books are not historical romance.  Philippa Gregory is in the number two spot, and she’s definitely historical fiction. How do they get there? Well, when books are loaded for sale into Amazon, publishers and authors can choose two categories to list their books.  Most who write historical romance also choose historical fiction and sometimes other categories.

A few of the names are regulars in the top ten, such as Kathyrn Le Veque and Christi Caldwell, but an old favorite has made it this time around – Jane Austen.  I wonder what she would think about being in the top ten over two hundred years later?

Here are your top ten for January 1, 2019.

  1. Diana Gabaldon
  2. Philippa Gregory
  3. Fiona Valpy
  4. Sally Britton
  5. Dragonblade Publishing (Various Authors)
  6. Kathryn Le Veque
  7. Christi Caldwell
  8. Natasha Lester
  9. Jane Austen
  10. Scarlett Scott

Below is a sample of their most popular books.

 

 

The Regency Romance: How Jane Austen (Kinda) Created a New Subgenre

Interesting article worth the read about Regency romance novels and the earlier authors who blazed the trail for our modern-day romances based off of Jane Austen’s era.

Okay, I confess: I am not attending the Jane Austen Festival purely out of love for one of the greatest novelists in the history of the English language. I’m also driven by a deep and abiding love of the Regency romance.

Source: The Regency Romance: How Jane Austen (Kinda) Created a New Subgenre

‘Persuasion:’ Jane Austen’s Greatest Novel Turns 200

Prof. Robert Morrison edited Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” for Harvard University Press. On the classic’s 200th anniversary, he explains how Austen’s rhythmic words on loss, love and hope still resonate.

Source: ‘Persuasion:’ Jane Austen’s greatest novel turns 200

Jane Austen Insults: Pride and Prejudice One-Liners | Flavorwire

Historical romance insults from the best – Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

“You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.”

 

Source: Jane Austen Insults: Pride and Prejudice One-Liners | Flavorwire

The Dashwood Sisters – The Women of Jane Austen

The Dashwood Sisters.  Could there be anything more entertaining than these two women?  They are as different as night and day and both on a pursuit for husbands. Elinor bears everything with quiet decorum and sense. Marianne is outspoken and seeks the thrills of romantic fellowship with no sense at all.

Okay, I’ll confess.  Sense and Sensibility is my favorite of Austen’s works. It was her first novel written in 1795 at the age of 19 and was accepted by a publisher and put into print in 1811 (at her own expense, I might add for all you indies out there).  Though I’m not an Austen expert by any means, I’m thankful for the many resources available online about her life and works from people who are.  Unfortunately, I missed my trip to the London Library in 2011 to see one of her manuscripts on display.

I’m not quite sure what it is about this story. Perhaps it’s all that yearning for love and silent pining inside the hearts of women that draws me so strongly to their characters.  As women, we probably all have a bit of Elinor and Marianne in each of us.
Elinor, who loves the steady, kindhearted, humble man in the form of Edward Ferrars, is the sensible sister of the two.  She bears her love and disappointment with quiet restraint while dealing with her sister’s outward and passionate emotions regarding Willoughby.
Though I’ve never had a sister, the fact that they are so different as night and day is entertaining. Austen does a wonderful job with each of them telling the other about their own exasperation over the other’s personality.

“I do not attempt to deny,” said she, “that I think very highly of him—
that I greatly esteem, that I like him.”

Marianne here burst forth with indignation—
“Esteem him! Like him! Cold-hearted Elinor! Oh! worse than cold-hearted! Ashamed of being otherwise. Use those words again, and I will leave the room this moment.”

Then there is Marianne — brokenhearted Marianne whose life nearly ends because she cannot have the man she loves.  Marianne, of course, is undoubtedly the romantic at heart in this story compared to her sister Elinor who keeps everything hidden for the sake of propriety.  She’s lost all good sense when it comes to her infatuation with Willoughby.  Gregarious, passionate, and handsome Willoughby fits perfectly into her idealist qualifications of what a gentleman should be.

“Mama, the more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much! He must have all Edward’s virtues, and his person and manners must ornament his goodness with every possible charm.”

Though Marianne is happy for her sister’s budding relationship with Edward, she clearly expresses her thoughts of the deficits of his personality in her eyes.

“Oh! mama, how spiritless, how tame was Edward’s manner in reading to us last night! I felt for my sister most severely. Yet she bore it with so much composure, she seemed scarcely to notice it. I could hardly keep my seat. To hear those beautiful lines which have frequently almost driven me wild, pronounced with such impenetrable calmness, such dreadful indifference!” 

For me, Marianne represents all of the girlish and hopeful feelings we possess at 16 years of age regarding love.  Our hearts are filled with romantic notions of being swept off our feet by the most amiable of men, who can recite to us poetry with heartfelt enunciation that brings tears to our eyes. They rescue us when in distress, are attentive, offer flowers, cut locks of our hair to keep with them and promise to adore us for all eternity.

Elinor, on the other hand, is the more mature young woman who sees the wonder of what love can be but also recognizes the cruel hurt and devastation it can bring to a female’s heart.  She not only sees its terrible effects of a broken heart nearly bringing her dearest sister to death’s door, but she also bears the heartache of love lost to another.

As far as modern adaptations on screen, we have been blessed with two beautiful renditions of Sense and Sensibility in film and television.  The 1995 movie version with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson is a wonderful condensed version. My favorite, however, probably because it is much longer is the 2008 BBC version starring Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield.  The choice of characters for Edward and Col. Brandon excited me a bit more, as well as the cinematography.

Choose for yourself who are your favorites to play these parts?  Who do you imagine when you read Sense and Sensibility?

I give you a challenge to any of my readers if you wish to write about any of the men in this story who vie for the love of these women’s hearts, be my guest blogger.  Just shoot me an email and let me know what you think of Edward, Willoughby, and Brandon.

1995 Movie 2008 BBC TV
Emma Thompson
Hattie Morahan
Kate Winslet
Charity Wakefield

I had thought seriously about leaving the men off this post. But, who can resist? Here you go ladies!

1995 Movie 2008 BBC TV
Hugh Grant
Dan Stevens
Greg Wise
Dominic Connor
Alan Rickman
David Morrissey

Seriously, if you’d like to guest post about any of Austen’s works or characters, drop me an email.