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Jeruba's avatar

Suffering from Bleak House withdrawal. Any recommendations?

Asked by Jeruba (48719points) June 6th, 2009

I’ve watched all 15 episodes of the marvelous BBC series Bleak House in the past two weeks and am still walking around with a jumble of memorable faces, accents, and plot twists reverberating in my mind. Ah, there’s nothing like Dickens for melodrama! But I hope there is something else in its class that will sate the appetite that this savory concoction left me with. What favorites would you recommend?

Already seen: many versions of Vanity Fair, David Copperfield, Austen novels, Bronte novels, and other standard fare.

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15 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

The Forstye Saga, although chronologically later, will fill your need for intrigue, sex, money, upstairs and downstairs, Victorian manners, French maids, and convoluted plot.

22 hours long enough for you? 150 characters enough? 27 episodes satisfactory? http://www.amazon.com/Forsyte-Saga-Complete-Eric-Porter/dp/B00007149J

Jeruba's avatar

That might do. I was aware of it when it was on TV but never saw it. But is it good?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

_
“Dark Angel” with Peter O’Toole.

gailcalled's avatar

Marvelous. It was the series that triggered the Masterpiece Theatre concept. (And it’s only 26 episodes. Sorry.)

From the Amazon review. (Think of 2000 separate costumes, if nothing else.)

“The miniseries that started it all! In 1969, a internationally-acclaimed BBC show began airing on the fledgling public broadcasting network. The Forsyte Saga, in telling the remarkable story of a nouveau riche English family, introduced America to a new kind of TV. Millions of Americans devoted the next half year of their lives to following the frank treatment of all sins, foibles and peccadillos of the Forsytes and their circle. T

he passing decades can never the erase the memory of their extraordinary eveningswith the Forsytes: Kenneth More as Jo, the philosophical outsider; Eric Porter as Soames, the grasping man of property; Nyree Dawn Porter as Irene, “born to be loved and to love” and in later episodes, Susan Hampshire in an Emmy-winning performance as Fleur, Soame’s ‘restless’ daughter. The series was so popular that Masterpiece Theatre was created to meet the new demand for great literary adaptations. With 150 characters, 2000 separate costumes and over 100 sets, this sprawling yet intimate saga continues to move, provoke and entrance viewers today.”

filmfann's avatar

(shakes, crying and screaming, reliving the year I spent watching Poldark…Why would someone do that?)

RedPowerLady's avatar

I watched the BBC version of the book. We got it from Netflix. Both me and my husband truly enjoyed it. Not having read the novel we had no idea what to expect and we found it very entertaining.

After watching Bleak House and enjoying it we started watching another BBC series. This one is called Torchwood. Nowhere near the same but entertaining nonetheless, if you don’t mind watching mindless sci-fi flicks, haha.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m sold, @gailcalled. I was a huge Masterpiece Theatre fan for decades before I quit watching TV. But in 1969 and 1970 I didn’t have one. That would explain why I never got into the series.

I’ll take a look at your suggestion, too, @RedPowerLady. I have a soft spot in my heart for mindless sci-fi (as long as it is not too mindless!). But what I’m after here is really TV adaptations of British literary classics.

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba: Cancel all your social plans for the summer.

skfinkel's avatar

@Jeruba @gailcalled
What fun we had watching The Forsyte Saga—we were in graduate school at the time, and it was the one event a whole group of us would gather around someone’s TV to watch on a weekly basis. I still think about it every once in awhile. You will love it.

skfinkel's avatar

@Jeruba @gailcalled
What fun we had watching The Forsyte Saga—we were in graduate school at the time, and it was the one event a whole group of us would gather around someone’s TV to watch on a weekly basis. I still think about it every once in awhile. You will love it.

Also, Upstairs Downstairs. Another winner.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Jeruba But what I’m after here is really TV adaptations of British literary classics.
Oh I know, lol. I was just being funny :)

gailcalled's avatar

@skfinkel @Jeruba: I was just thinking about Hudson, Rose, Mrs. Bridges,Sarah, Hazel, Ralph Bellamy, Georgina, James and Lady Marjorie. Imagine having someone dress you and your hair every morning and then again every afternoon. The characters were memorable, weren’t they? Upstairs have been really boring, however, especially for the women.

Because Queen Victoria reigned for so long, everything seems to be Victorian (or running into Edwardian).

Jeruba's avatar

I followed Upstairs, Downstairs faithfully, slavishly. No one I knew then would ever phone me between 9:00 and 10:00 on Sunday nights (WGBH time). That last episode, with Rose taking her last look at the empty rooms…<sigh> you can’t go home again.

My mother named her orange cat Hudson. I went her one better. As DP manager of a small business computer installation, I named the fixed and removable disks of our IBM System/3 RICHRD, MARGIE, HUDSON, ROSE, and SARAH (6-character limit on disk names). RICHRD, of course, was the master drive, and HUDSON was the principal backup.

“Richard,” @gailcalled. Ralph Bellamy was somebody else!

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba; Yes,m’lady. You are quite right.

Jeruba's avatar

A month later: hooked on Forsyte, all right. Thanks, guys. New question here.

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