Wednesday, March 23, 2016

TV Series Review- Lark Rise to Candleford

How to write a review? This series filled my sister and I with such joy and we would wait eagerly for each season to come into the library so we could watch it. At times though it would aggravate us to no end. That's why they're called period DRAMAS. ;)
Synopsis from IMDB: An adaptation of Flora Thompson's autobiographical novel "Lark Rise To Candleford", set in 19 century Oxfordshire, in which a young girl moves to the local market town to begin an apprenticeship as a postmistress.
Lousy synopsis but how to summarize four seasons of a TV series?
So first off I haven't read the books this series is based off of so I can't compare there. I do own them (picked them up at a used book store!) so I hope to someday soon.

Spoilers follow! And just so you know this will be rather a disjointed review as my mind jumps around.

Let's talk characters.

Laura Timmins is the main character but honestly, and I've heard others say this before she doesn't always float my boat. I like her but sometimes she really aggravates me. Mostly when it has to do with her love life. I think she lets guys kiss her too easily... in my opinion. Her 1st season boyfriend, Phillip, was okay but not great. His and Alfie's rivalry was humorous though but then it got to be too much. Fisher in season 2 was good but honestly the best part about him was his accent... Just saying that was an adorable accent. However, when Fisher returned in season three I wasn't as taken with him and I kind of realized then how immature he could be. That of course brings us to Daniel Parish. When he first came of course we were intrigued and then hated him and then finally came to like and accept him. As others have said though, you didn't realize how attached you had become to Daniel until Fisher comes and tries to win Laura back. Those were a traumatizing couple episodes. Overall though I'm glad Laura ended up with Daniel as I think he was the best guy for her. At the beginning I did want her to end up with Alfie (who I'll get to in a bit) and was so mad at her for not liking him (and then mad later on when she was interested in him and he had moved on from her!). In retrospect though I think that she wouldn't have been completely happy with Alfie as she did have a lot more education than him and I think it might have caused some tension later on.

Dorcas Lane (The actress is Julia Swahala who I know for playing Lydia in Pride and Prejudice) is the best! No not my favorite character (that comes later) but close! Yes she's meddling and interfering and all but you can't help but love her! I was so frustrated every time she lost a love. Lord Timothy.... bah! That didn't count. And while we're on that topic I think she acted fairly well with that whole thing; most of it was Sir Timothy's doing, but she wasn't blameless. James Dowland... well that was complicated. I was rooting for them at the beginning but then you find out more about his character and then I was against it! I thought maybe in the future there was potential but that's not the path that ended up happening and I'm glad for that in the end. It was nice though that Dorcas got Sydney of that whole mess. :) Now Gabriel Cochran I wholeheartedly approved of! My sister and I were already excited about him when we saw him on the cover and realized the actor that played him was the one that played our favorite Dr. Woodcourt in Bleak House. Naturally we rooted throughout the final series for them to get together and of course they did.

My favorite character though has to be Alfie Arless. He's a man. While his mother was off drunk or in prison he basically raises his siblings. He worked so hard for everything and you couldn't help but root for him. It was also rather sweet how he tried to help Emma (Laura's mother) while Robert (Laura's father) was away working. Him and Minnie were pretty stinking cute too. And is anyways else wondering what happened to Nan? Obviously though the real match for Alfie was me. ;)

This is Minnie. :) 
Minnie... well Minnie was Minnie. At first I was like yikes but as time went on Minnie did mature. I was talking to my sister about how I felt that while thought her and Alfie were adorable together Alfie was so much more mature and responsible than her and he had gone through so much more that made him a man. However, when thinking again about that Minnie had gone through a lot herself with her father (step-father?) but she just always kept that cheerful attitude and put that behind her. I think Alfie needed that. So while sometimes she does annoy me a little for her immaturities I think that it is really a way for her to forget her past and keep going.

My sister's and my favorite quote! 
The Pratt sisters. You can't talk about one without the other. My sister and I were talking about how much we wanted to rewatch the first season because the Pratt sisters are so different then as compared to how they conclude. They are characters that really grow. In the first season most of the time I wanted to throttle them. Pearl especially. As time went on though they became softer. Ruby going off to Pontefract was kind of a sudden change for them and even though in the long run it didn't work out I think it helped to facilitate bigger change. My sister and I both agree that Pearl's softening came more when Daniel started boarding with her after Ruby left. I think it really brightened Pearl and caused her to be kinder. Ruby is played by the actress who plays Mrs. Forster in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice. I never would have noticed but I was looking her up and found that out.

Queenie (I know the actress from Call the Midwife in the later seasons) and Twister Turrill. First off, who else was profoundly disturbed on finding that they weren't' married yet. Sure they get married but.... ugh! I like Queenie for the most part. She's is so sweet and motherly and is always looking after everyone and giving sage advice. I don't like her superstitious mumbo jumbo though and frankly I would never have married Twister Turrill because I cannot put up with him! Apparently she can though. I do like Twister but he is SO annoying most of the time. But he's a dear.

Robert (I know the actor from North and South when he plays Nicholas Higgins) and Emma (I know from playing Charlotte Lucas in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice) Timmins are Laura's parents but they also have four other children that are younger. My sister and I agree that those two are definitely the cutest couple in the whole show. I love them!!!!!!!!!!! :) They're so sweet and stubborn, independent and proud. Their arguments and trials are struggled through brilliantly. I can't get enough of them! I was so sad when Robert was away the whole of season four working. I'm going to guess that they couldn't get the actor back for the season. :( Also a note for Laura's siblings here... they are such cute kids and Edmond really grows up. It's super sweet how he tries to look after Laura when their parents are away and Fisher comes back.

Thomas Brown is a mailman at the postoffice. He's kind of hyper religious which is made fun of which I don't like. Yes it is humorous but it is annoying that the religious person in the show is made to look ridiculous. I love Thomas though. He goes through a lot of character development in the show and I'm so excited Margaret and him ended up together. At first I was kind of so-so on Margaret but as the show went I really came to love her. AND SHE WAS PREGNANT AT THE END!!!! :))))

I think that's all of the main characters listed. There is such a wide variety of characters in this show. As I went through listing them I tried to include other period dramas I'd seen these people in. There were also other random characters that just appeared once that were familiar.

This show is pretty drama filled and pretty romantic but like an Austen novel it's filled with so much more. It's about life. It's about growing up. It's about taking responsibility. I love the show for that. Obviously though it's not up to the level of an Austen novel.
A few things I didn't like about the show were as I mentioned above... the superstition, making fun of the religious Thomas Brown and really the theology is fairly off in the whole show which is my major complaint. Thankfully my sister has a solid theological background (yay mom and dad!) so there was very little I had to be like "this is not right" that she didn't already know.

Objectionable material? Nothing bad is ever shown but there are a few things talked about. As I mentioned above Twister and Queenie have been living together for years and we all thought they were married but they weren't until the second season. That was just dumb. One of Dorcas's wooers, James Dowland, turned out to be rather an immoral man when it came to the ladies, having had a child out of wedlock and also being in a immoral romantic relationship with a widowed woman while also trying to woo Dorcas. Not cool! It is just talked about though and most likely will go over children's heads. There is also an episode dealing with an unmarried pregnant teenager but it's handled quite tactfully. Also as mentioned above Sir Timothy was married but still quite in love with Dorcas Lane but nothing ever happens there that we know of except they embrace once, which is seen by his wife and because of that Sir Timothy and Lady Adelaide leave for London. I think there's also a few veiled innuendos that went over my sister's head I'm sure. I think those are the main things.  I'd say there's nothing worse in in than is in Pride and Prejudice. As I said it's quite appropriate for the whole family.

This is a fun show and my sister and I enjoyed watching it together but in my opinion when you're watching it with younger children you have to keep your eye out for the superstition and erroneous theology to correct it.
So watch it and enjoy! :)

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  1. Great review :D I watched Lark-rise from when the first episode was shown on TV and it was terrible having to wait between seasons!! Always disappointed me how some of the couples finished up though. I thought Alf should have stayed with Nan (you're right, where did she go?) I didn't think Minnie was quite smart enough for him, and I felt Dorcas kind of settled for the guy she ended up with. Seemed like she loved Sir Tim/that teacher/Mr. JD all more than she did Gabriel. I liked Daniel with Laura though!

    1. I can't imagine watching it while it was on TV. I am far to impatient. I'd say Dorcas kind of settled but not totally. I think Gabriel was the best guy of all of her guys so I think he was the right guy to settle on.


    I loved this review. Like a lot. And I agree with practically everything you said; you put it all so well :) ALFIE AND MINNIE MAKE ME REALLY REALLY HAPPY. I, too, initially wanted him to be with Laura, but eventually I jumped full-on the Alfie/Minnie bandwagon. (What should their ship name be? And Daniel/Laura's? Annie? Laniel? I'm bad at coming up with ship names xD) And yesyesyes to everything you said about Fisher and Daniel.

    The Pratt sisters really are tremendous dynamic characters. Hearts them <3

    I KNOW! I was so happy when Margaret got pregnant, and then *snicker* when the Pratt sisters were trying to break the news to Thomas and he was like, "But…how??" Hehe ;-P


    Really, really awesome review :D

    1. I remember when we were watching it I jokingly said Alfie and Minnie's ship nape should be Malfie. ;)
      They are quite dynamic. I think they might be the most interesting characters of the show actually. :)
      Thomas is so hilariously obvious sometimes. :)
      Thanks! :)


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