While Europe and the worldly streamers mourn the loss of Downton Abbey, we, Americans, are girding ourselves for the final blow. In the mean time, we search out morsels of The Gilded Age, Julian Fellowes’ American-answer to Downton Abbey. In the beginning there were talks of a new TV series completely independent of Downton. Then rumors were stirred, it will be, in fact a prequel, in the vein of ‘When Robert Met Cora.’ Last bit of news stated the series idea had been scraped *wails* and The Gilded Age will be a movie. That was back in June! The rumor mill has been silent for months in concern to any new developments.
Luckily there are other 1800s-inspired features coming to you via the big and small screen this year. Below is a list of features, television movies, mini-series, and television series coming out this year, you may or may not have heard of. Keep in mind, entertainment production is a peculiar thing and a movie might be shelved for months, even multiple years! So the last feature noted might not keep it’s promised date. Consider yourself sufficiently warned. Which ones are you currently watching or dying to see?
Sea Without a Shore
Back in March of this year, Sea Without a Shore came out in the United Kingdom. Livia Rangel, Fernada Lippi, Anna Mesquita take the leads. The movie receives one of those ratings that you will have to see it to make a judgment call. You’ll adore it or you’ll detest it. “A rhythmically captivating exploration of love and loss at the fin-de-siècle. An amorous relationship between two women abruptly cut short. Dissolving under the impact of the loss of her soul mate, the surviving lover is drawn into the depths of mid-winter forests, into spheres of the subconscious, initiated by unknown forces. There is no return.
This short French film came out in April. It stars Lea Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, and Clotilde Mollet. “A chambermaid from Paris relocates to a remote household in Provence in the late 19th century, engages in trysts and finds herself enraptured with a coach driver.” Diary of a Chambermaid, is another movie you’ll have to decide for yourself if you enjoy. Viewership is rather split on the idea. Hopefully, it will have subtitles available for those woefully monolinguistic . . .
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
The television series on BBC America premiered back in May. The series is based on the novel by Susanna Clarke of the same name. It stars Bertie Carvel, Eddie Marsan, and Marc Warren. Using my trusted source, Internet Movie Database (imdb.com), as the barometer of “worthy-to-see,” Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell have a rating just a few points lower than Outlander! “With magic long since lost to England, two men are destined to bring it back; the reclusive Mr. Norrell and daring novice Jonathan Strange. So begins a dangerous battle between two great minds.” It has “possibly” been renewed for a second season.
This family drama series also came out in May in the United Kingdom. It, too, is based off a book by a Miss Jacqueline Wilson “Set in Victorian-era London of 1887, Hetty and her foster brother Gideon are forced to return to the foundling hospital where she was abandoned by her mother as a baby. Hetty and her friends hate the iron-fist regime of Matron Bottomly and gang leader Sheila. Hetty yearns to escape and go in search of her mother.” It headlines child stars Isabel Clifton, Trixiebell Harrowell (I LOVE that name!), and Dasharn Anderson. The series is also rated highly, although unclear at this point if there will be a second season.
**Note: Anything 6 or better is worth the watch. A rating of 5 typically means the viewership either loved it or hated it, without much gray area. A 9 is very, very rare. Ironically, it tends to go towards some rather high violence and explicit sexual content cinema a la Game of Thrones.**
The Secret River
Based out of Australia, this mini-series focuses on “William Thornhill, in 1806 is sentenced to New South Wales for life where he is drawn into a terrifying conflict that will leave a bloody and indelible stain.” Starring Oliver Jackson-Cohen (that’s Roddy, Rosalie Selfridge’s painter lover, to all you Selfridge-viewers out there), Sarah Snook, and Lachy Hulme. The mini-series debuted in June down under and has received high marks. I am not going to lie, I would watch this mini-series just to see Oliver Jackson-Cohen again. For the Australian history, as well, since I know so little about it.
A few months ago, back in July, Mr. Holmes debuted in the United States! Headlining this Sherlockian feature is none other than the esteemable Ian McKellen as the titular Mr. Holmes, Laura Linney, and Hiroyuki Sanada (from the visually fascinating 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves). “An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman.” It has a high rating of 7.6/10 rating. This is the one movie I most want to see!
If you recall, I posted this novel by Michael Punke was being turned into a movie a few months ago. And it looks every bit as good as I would expect from a Leonardo DiCaprio film. Leo is not the only A-lister billed, Tom Hardy also shoulders enough screen time, along with Domhnall Gleeson. “In the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, sets out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.” The movie was scheduled to premiere in December, but some sources are saying the first week of January now, so I’m not entirely sure. As this movie has not been released no ratings are available. But Leonardo DiCaprio is in it, so it is bound to be an Oscar-worthy Western-adventure drama. No official movie poster exists yet, but this is the still-image often associated with The Revenant.
Untitled Daniel Warren Project/Ernest Shackleton
This movie was tentatively listed with a November 2015 date, but not much progress has been achieved. The synopsis starts out “When Ernest Shackleton was given the ship Endurance to reclaim the record for the furthest south expedition, his journey is cut short …” According to Internet Movie Database, this movie is currently in development, so it is anyone’s guess as to what is happening with this project. I am very interested in this feature, having read Endurance Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing last April. It was GRIPPING! I was riveted to my seat! The book made many a grown man cry! I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest at one point, because it is a true story. Every bit of it. And it is remarkable. I would love to see it played out in film again.