Monday, June 22, 2015

Poldark starring Aidan Turner: I'd wait for him [Episode 1]


From Poldark's opening moments, where a group of English soldiers in the Revolutionary War are almost swallowed up by the green grandeur of the Virginia woods, their scarlet red coats just drops of color against the verdancy of the trees, the striking visuals —vivid, intense, dramatic—offer the only possible backdrop to the sweeping human drama of the show. Beautifully shot by Cinders Foreshaw, that opening scene was lush, majestic, like a painting, and the show's title credits are equally promising. Gilded clouds sweep across the blue sky, huge waves pound the rocky Cornwall shoreline, sending up a fury of smoke as they crash and thrash, that pastel sky turns grey and ominous. Here, they promise, is something to see. 



And Poldark himself? Aidan Turner (The Hobbit) is Ross Poldark, the British soldier who returns home to Cornwall after a three year absence fighting the Revolutionary War with little to show for it but a sexy scar. England has lost the war and Poldark's friends and family thought he was dead, killed in battle. He returns home to find his father dead, his estate in ruins, and his love, Elizabeth (Heida Reed) on the verge of marrying his cousin Francis (Kyle Soller). 



Turner's Poldark has been compared to both Heathcliff and Darcy, and by all the smoldering, pent-up passion buried in my soul, that he be. Oops. Sorry, got a little carried away there. As I expect to, each and every Sunday night for the next eight weeks. 

When we first see Poldark in that gorgeous opening scene, he's sitting around playing cards with his fellow enlisted men. "Why did you enlist?" one of the officers asks, disgusted at their gambling in the midst of war, and his response "To escape the gallows" full of wise assery, barely escaping insubordination, tells us he's full of entitlement, a bit of a jerk with little respect for authority. On the other hand we can't help but understand (and the Americans among us, respect) his disagreement with the fight, but still, Poldark, if you're in it, you're in it. In the next moment, the camp is attacked and he turns everything around. Taking charge, he grabs his gun, orders the other men up. "Do you want to live here or die here?" From smart ass to bad ass leader in a blink of an eye. 

That kind of authentic human behavior, when the stakes are higher than high, life or death, is what Debbie Horsfield so beautifully delivers in her screen adaptation of the books by Winston Graham. 


George Warlaggan (Jack Farthing) a young money-lender who knew Poldark in his youth, tells his uncle
"At school I rather admired him. He said what he thought. Did what he liked."
"And what's that got him?"
"It got him a following." 
It's definitely got me following him. Poldark also stars Warren Clarke as his uncle Charles. Clarke, after a very long and illustrious career, mainly in British television, died this past November at sixty-seven. Ruby Bentall is Poldark's sweet and aptly name cousin Verity (The Paradise), sweet and supportive and Robin Ellis, who starred as Poldark in the original 1975 series, appears as Reverend Halse.



Eleanor Tomlinson—Georgiana Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberley (which for some reason keeps putting me to sleep) is Demelza, the young woman, beaten and abused by her father, rescued and taken in by Poldark as a kitchen maid. At first glance, on the run, dressed in her brother's clothing, she looks like a boy, but wouldn't you know, underneath the tatters, she's gorgeous. Lots of lustrous red hair. Will she help Poldark get over Elizabeth? I'm betting she will. 




Poldark. Every Sunday night. 9 pm. Be there or if you're juggling True Detective, watch it during the week on the PBS/Masterpiece Theatre rebroadcast. It's only the beginning; I'm in it for the long run.


4 comments:

  1. Hopefully in for the long, long run! There's 12 novels to cover, so there may be many series ahead. If it continues being this good, fingers crossed!

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  2. Sim, Thanks for sharing this so I can be on the look out. The still shots look amazing.

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    Replies
    1. Paulita it's on Masterpiece every Sunday night but you can catch up at PBS online and on streaming devices like ROKU.

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