Dickensian (20 Episodes) - 4-DVD Set [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2.4 Import - United Kingdom ]
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United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2.4 DVD: it WILL NOT play on standard US DVD player. You need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Multi-DVD Set, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: All 20 episodes of the BBC drama set in the combined fictional worlds of Charles Dickens' novels. Taking place in Victorian London, the series follows some of Dickens' iconic characters including Inspector Bucket (Stephen Rea), who is investigating the murder of Jacob Marley (Peter Firth) and suspects Sikes (Mark Stanley) and Fagin (Anton Lesser). Meanwhile, Amelia Havisham (Tuppence Middleton) inherits her father's estate and searches for love and the Artful Dodger (Wilson Radjou-Pujalte) continues his thieving ways. ...Dickensian (20 Episodes) - 4-DVD Set
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5/5/18 Update: I submitted an earlier review after my wife and I had seen the first 10 of the 20 episodes in this series. We gave these episodes a low rating of 1 star out of 5, as we were rather disappointed. The characters, with the exception of Detective Bucket, did not seem sympathetic at all and there seemed to be no hope they ever would be. Since then, we’ve watched the remaining 10 episodes and the Bonus Features. On the whole, we still were disappointed with a lot of what we saw but must say that the last 3 episodes were rather good. Not to wreck the story for anyone else, but the real murderer of Jacob Marley is discovered and an appropriate treatment of the person is forthcoming. The sinister Meriweather Compeyson is unmasked and is frustrated in his attempt to steal the Havisham fortune. Scrooge gets his visit from Marley in one of the fleeting final scenes. The Barbary sisters are reconciled, although the elder one conceals the true fate of her younger sister’s illegitimate daughter. And the ending suggests that the illegitimate daughter of Honoria Barbary will probably become Estella, who later turns into the young female ward to Miss Amelia Havisham. As later revealed in Dickens’ novel, “Great Expectations,” Estella becomes the lifelong love interest of our hero, Pip.
Holding aside the novella, “A Christmas Carol,” “Great Expectations” is my favorite work of Charles Dickens and has been made into several movies and made-for-TV dramas. The best of these, in my opinion, is from 1999, and stars Ioan Gruffudd as Pip, Justine Waddell, as Estella, and Charlotte Rampling as Miss Havisham. Readers and viewers who haven’t seen the dvd must get it soon before it goes out of print again. Another fine production of the story goes back to 1946, with John Mills in the role of Pip. David Lean was director and co-screenwriter; Alec Guinness appeared in his first feature film, as Pip’s friend, Herbert Pocket.
Back on “Dickensian,” there was so much promise in this production it is a shame that something better wasn’t edited and released. Despite the meticulous sets, lavish buildings and streets, lighting of same, and great casting, too much time was devoted to minor annoying characters, like the Bumbles, Ms. Gamp, and others. Supporting characters, like Fagin, Detective Bucket, Bill Sykes, Arthur Havisham, Nancy, the Cratchits, Mr. Jaggers, Mathew Pocket, and Mr. Venus all did well but more focus should have been drawn to the main characters in the story: Miss Havisham, Mr. Compeyson, Scrooge (and his redemption), and to Arthur’s final fate. Probably the supporting character we appreciated most was Detective Bucket, played memorably by Stephen Rea. Not to give away the story but his handling of the Marley murder case was scientific, yet heart-warming in the end.
As said above, we gave the first 10 episodes a low, 1-star rating. Episodes 11-17 rate a 2.5. And the last 3 episodes, 18-20, get 4.5 stars. Bonus Features were quite good, including interviews with all the main players, and also rate a 4.5. So, overall, we give “Dickensian,” 3 stars. We can’t recommend the series to anyone but Dickens fans; nevertheless, even these may find numerous faults and other problems with how the production has been constructed. The relative lack of sympathetic characters and hope presented in the beginning never is fully redeemed at the end. The inconclusive ending begs for a sequel that will probably never come.
–Jim & Carolyn Wheeler, Tucson, Arizona