07 January 2011

Downton Abbey - Sunday, January 9th.

I am so looking forward to Sunday evening. The first episode of Downton Abbey will air on PBS. This was shown in the UK last fall and was so popular that a second season has been ordered. This is a Edwardian-era period drama of the lives of the family and the servants of Downton Abbey and stars some of my favorite actors including Hugh Bonneville (Lord Robert, Earl of Grantham), Elizabeth McGovern (his American (!!) wife, Countess of Grantham). Maggie Smith (Dowager Countess of Grantham)*, Dan Stevens (heir, Matthew Crawley), and Jim Carter (Mr. Carson), As Laurel Ann at Austenprose noted this is interesting considering that just two years ago, the BBC proclaimed the end of period dramas -- well, um, perhaps not.

Enchanted Serenity of Period Films has an interesting post on Downton Abbey's supposed downsizing for us ignorant Americans. It's worth a read. The Daily Mail is such a rag sometimes... ugh. Although sometimes things are cut to fit PBS, there appear to be only minor adjustments for this series for our viewing pleasure. As mentioned, I am anxiously looking forward to this - there is something in the description that makes me think of Remains of the Day,  but we'll see if that's accurate to any degree. I can't wait to post my comments on what I think of the first part of the series.

* I would hate to be a Dowager - blech, it just seems to be a position that is designed to stir up trouble, but perhaps I shall be proven wrong (I hope not!).

04 January 2011

Sense & Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge (2011) - Initial thoughts on The Three Weissmanns

I just started reading The Three Weissmanns of Westport. I've only read three chapters so far and somehow it just strikes me as so incredibly sad, just like Sense and Sensibility. A damning portrayal of the weakness of men and the hatefulness of women, in the case of the Dashwoods, and "the old man as a fool" in the case of Joe "Josie" Weissmann and the conniving Felicity. It makes you wonder what kind of world we live in. But then again, it is the world we live in. Divorce doesn't make sense to those who don't want it, deceit is confusing to those who are basically honest, and loneliness is hard for those whose children have grown and find themselves to a large degree alone and not wanting to be dependent on someone else. Losing everything that you thought you had seems to be universal.

Sense & Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge (2011)

So I'm taking on the Sense & Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge for 2011 sponsored by Laurel Ann of Austenprose. 200 years since the publication of Sense & Sensibility in 1811, it's hard to believe that a story written that long ago is still relevant, but it is. Miss Austen is just timeless.

I'm going for Aficionada: 9 – 12 selections (or show off level) - I'm really looking forward to this challenge. Sense & Sensibility is not my favorite book by Miss Austen, but this will give me an opportunity to explore it more fully in many different ways. I'm thinking this will be a fun year! 

My selections in no particular order:

The Three Weismanns of Westport; Cathleen Schine
From Prada to Nada; 2011
Sense and Sensibility; 1995
Sense and Sensibility: The Screenplay and Diaries; Emma Thompson & Lindsay Doran

Elinor and Marianne; Emma Tennant
Sense and Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated); Nancy Butler & Sonny Liew
Eliza's Daughter; Joan Aiken
Suspense and Sensibility; Carrie Bebris
The Cookbook Collector; Allegra Goodman
Colonel Brandon's Diary; Amanda Grange
Willoughby's Return; Jane Odiwe
Sense and Sensibility; 2008