Readers, I just fell in love with a Jane Austen Knock-off (spin-off, whatever you want to call it) miniseries. I know, just go ahead and take away my Jane-Austen-reverer-book-blogger license. Go ahead. It was Sunday evening and I was dying of one of those absolutely disgusting chest colds that leaves you gasping for breath and weakly sipping hot tea. I was absolutely done with reading a book that I was making no progress on and the dog was yapping out the window. I decided to start the fairly new Death Comes to Pemberley Miniseries. I was suspicious. I've heard lots of people who were tepid at best about P.D. James's classic mystery, but I was desperate for some distraction and it had good actors, so Death Comes to Pemberley it was.
Now, to be fair to this series, I'm not sure how different it was from the book (and I've remedied that and have it on hold from the library), but because of the not-great reviews of the book, I was absolutely stunned by how well-done the movie was. The characters seemed like they had developed, but not in a forced way. I was especially impressed by Mrs. Bennet. She was her usual attention-grabbing obnoxious self without being over-done (a tragedy done to Mrs. Bennet many times over in both knock-off books and films). My favorite characters were, really, Darcy and Lizzie. Their relationship seemed to have grown from this romantic thing that has been swooned over for ages into a grown-up, married couple with kids relationship that I found quite charming. But they really were still Darcy and Lizzie.
Here's a brief synopsis of this 3-part series: The Darcys are planning a ball for the neighborhood when, suddenly, a hysterical Lydia Bennet arrives shrieking that shots were heard in the woods after Wickham and Denny ran into the woods. Darcy starts a search and they discover Wickham with a dead Denny crying in distress. Following are tense court scenes, cute shots of the Darcy's son, Fitzwilliam, who is perpetually getting into trouble, scenes below-stairs among the horrified servants, and up-stairs scenes between the Darcys, Georgiana, who is justifiably upset by seeing Wickham again, and the whole Bennet family, who turns up at a rather inopportune moment.
I have to say, if you haven't read the book, then the multitude of references will go completely over your head. This is not a movie for somebody who hasn't read and seen Pride and Prejudice 5,000 times.
But anyway, it was a good miniseries and I watched all 3 hours in one go. It was pretty fabulous, although exhausting. The one thing that did throw me off was the actors. I have this weird combination of faces for all of the P&;P characters that's a mix of the Colin Firth P&P, the Keira Knightley P&P, and my own imagined faces from the book. For the first episode, I was driven completely nuts by these new faces, but my episode 2, they seemed completely normal, nay, made more sense in this setting than my odd mish-mash of faces.
I hope the book won't turn out to be a dud. I do have my doubts, but I'm awaiting it with bated breath. I'm also curious how my perception of it will change because of having seen this series. But, even if you absolutely loathed the book, please check out the miniseries. I love it.