Sunday, September 28, 2008

Last Lost In Austen lacking

How very, very sad. Having enjoyed, for the most part, Lost In Austen, ITV's 'fan fiction' take on Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, the final episode was all too rushed and really, a little bit rubbish.

Unlike numerous comments I have encountered on other blogs, I was not disappointed by Darcy winding up with the eternally irritating Amanda Price (she never grew on me ... I tried. Honest). In fact, I thought it was the logical conclusion to what turned out to be a Mary Sue-Supreme, in Fan Fiction parlance. Amanda managed to ensnare the interest of just about every chap in Austen-land she came across, and Darcy was no exception.

I couldn't help but notice, during my perusal of other review sites, that rascally Wickham has become a firm fan favourite, ousting Darcy himself as Totty Numero Uno. While considering him pleasant enough , I was glad he didn't become the 'hero'. There was definitely something a little odd about him though - almost too knowing, too wily. Perhaps if there is a sequel (which I rather doubt; viewing figures weren't that great), I imagine Wickham might be unveiled as a fellow time-traveller, which would be VERY interesting - and I only wish it had been the case in this series.

In the final episode, Amanda returned to the hurly-burly of modern London, pursued by a perplexed Mr Darcy, convinced he was suffering some kind of psychotic, delusional episode. More could have been made out of this.

We also met Lizzy Bennet again - now a fully-fledged 21st century girl, complete with mobile phone and a passion for the Internet. I must say, I rather wish that Gemma Arterton would actually play Elizabeth in a more traditional transposition of Austen's novel. She'd be smashing in the role - a darn sight better than her Tess in Tess of the D'Urbervilles, currently showing on BBC1, in which she is fine enough, but her Elizabeth Bennet really is a missed opportunity.

The same in fact could be said of all the cast in Lost In Austen. There really wasn't a single false note among them, which is a rare occurence. Hugh Bonneville's Mr Bennet was fabulous. Alex Kingston made for an interesting, youthful take on Mrs Bennet. Morvern Christie was a sweet and endearing Jane, and the remaining Bennet sisters were nicely cast too. Guy Henry was a delightfully unctuous, wheedling Mr Collins, while Tom Mison made for a winning Bingley and Tom Riley was fine as Wickham. Elliot Cowan has his fair share of detractors as Mr Darcy, but actually, he did well ... nothing scintillating, but certainly pleasing enough (most especially in his wet shirt ... OK, that was hideously shallow).

It is a shame that ITV can't remake Pride & Prejudice with this same cast and nicely honed production values, (better than the actual Austen adaptations they screened last year). Then again, I mainly enjoyed Lost In Austen, even if it did get very, very silly, and the script creaked horribly in parts, during Episode Four. Amanda's desperation to steer the cast and plot in the same direction as Austen's novel eventually became a little too wearing, but some truly hilarious moments were had along the way.


Emma.J. said...

I loved it - but it was a bit of a "quick-fix" ending...

joannachia said...

hi! just happened to stumble across your blog and read your entry in Lost in Austen... you know what, i agree with every word you said!!(: About Wickham seeming almost a time-traveller as well, about how well cast EACH and every one of the characters were... and the rushed ending :( And about how improbable it was that every male lead in the production fall for Amanda!!! I do wish they would do a PROPER P&P with all the same actors, with Gemma Arterton as Lizzie ((: She'd be so great! And well, I can understand Amanda I guess, but I still didn't feel that great when she ended up with Darcy :( Needed some stretch of the imagination to think of Darcy reallyy being THAT in love with her. haha.

keep writing!:)

Anonymous said...

Well I loved the whole production. It's very entertaining. Everyone concerned did a great job. Elliot Cowan was as much Mr Darcy as Colin Firth or Laurence Olivier. I thought Amanda's boyfriend was well written and performed. What a comparison to the Georgian male. Loved Wickham being misjudged and not as much of a 'reptile' as previously written. I think Jane Austen would've enjoyed the different slant on her story as she obviously had a great sense of humour.