It’s probably because I’m a borderline shut-in without TV that I never heard of the series Poldark until this fall – just in time for the fifth and final season. That always happens to me. I discover awesome shows just as they’re ending.
Back in September, I was reading something – I don’t remember what – that mentioned the BBC series Poldark. And something about it piqued my interest. So I went onto IMDB.com and read up on it.
It’s based on a series of novels by an English author named Winston Graham that take place in late eighteenth century Cornwall. The main character is Ross Poldark, a young man who after fighting in the war against the American colonies, returns home to Cornwall only to learn his father has died and the young girl he loved, thinking Ross was killed in the war, is engaged to marry his cousin.
It sounded intriguing, so I downloaded the first season from iTunes. By the end of the first episode, I was hooked.
I’m a sucker for well-done period dramas. And Poldark is brilliantly written and the acting is superb. It’s also a feast for the eyes — the cliffs, the sea, the vast expanse of beauty that is the Corish landscape. It really is beautifully shot. It only took one or two episodes for me to want to travel to Cornwall and walk those cliffs.
In the last couple months I have watched all five seasons of Poldark so many times, I can’t even remember how many times I’ve watched them. It has to be at least ten, probably more. There were actually a few occasions when I got the final episode and started right back at the beginning again.
I’d try to find something else to watch or maybe a book to read. But after a a week or two I found myself thinking, “Hmm. Maybe I should watch Poldark again.”
It’s the characters. They are so vivid and complex, I can’t bear to be away from them for more than a few days.
I love character-driven stories. And Poldark is most definitely that. It’s the depth and breadth of the characters that makes them so compelling. They are all so rich – full of foibles, conflicts, aspirations, imperfections. It’s wonderful to watch their lives and journeys unfold.
Now, I don’t know if the guys will love Poldark as much as I do. I wouldn’t exactly call it a chick-series or anything. But it can occasionally delve into romance and love stories that might not be to a guy’s liking. Though nothing about those love stories could be described as campy or frivolous. The characters are far too complex for something so sappy and cheap.
Speaking of characters. Poldark has the perfect villain – George Warleggan, the man you love to hate. He’s like a young, passive/aggressive Ebenezer Scrooge. He’s such a loathsome man, actually — shifty, scheming, cruel. You watch him plot these schemes hoping he fails, but more often than not, he doesn’t. George rarely gets his comeuppance. But when he does, it’s a very satisfying experience. Especially because he’s such a effete little prat. In the fifth and final season, due to certain events, George briefly becomes a rather sympathetic character. For four seasons I had grown to loathe him so deeply, it irritated the crap out of me that I felt any pity for him at all, however briefly.
You just can’t help becoming enamored and invested in the characters of Poldark. They’re written and acted so well, it’s hard not to. Main characters, secondary characters, supporting characters — it doesn’t matter. They are all so well-done.
The series has everything, adventure, romance, strife, conflict, class struggles, history. Though, I did have to find a website that provided commonly used Cornish expressions and words so I could understand things like “I’ll give you such a scat in the chacks.”
If you haven’t seen Poldark, you should check it out. The series has ended, but it is available streaming. Plus, you just might find your library has the DVDs to loan. I know my library system has them. I checked just in case my Mom and Dad wanted to see it.
And if you watch it, I guarantee you too will want to travel to Cornwall and walk those cliffs.
Here’s a kind of campy trailer from BBC for Season 1 of Poldark. Ignore the goofy music used. The score of the show is so much better than this goofy music. But it at least gives you a little idea of what the series is like.
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