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I don't understand why the one unfavorable comment concerning "As Time
Goes By" is posted up front.
The series is a sweet comedy, and never imagines itself to be otherwise. The plot is very simple - two lovers struggle as they reunite after 30 years. The episodes follow them as they learn to live with and love each other again, colored by bittersweet regrets of the years they missed. The series touches nicely on the wish we all have to either fall in love, or rediscover love, without burdening us with heavy symbolism. The cast are all excellent in their ability to hold character throughout the series. There is just the right balance of silliness brought on by English character and temperament, and the seriousness that accompanies the search for love.
The dialog is crisp and entertaining, underplayed and natural, never going for the cheap laugh available in some of the situations created. If you are looking for an uplifting and entertaining experience without having to wade through maudlin sentimentality, you will like this program.
What I hate about American comedy series is the perceived need for a punchline every 15 seconds. What I love about this series, is the gentle, ambling approach the script takes, as it follows its characters through their daily lives. And they are characters - wonderful ones - but never caricatures. Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer are just perfect in their portrayals, and they are ably supported by a talented cast. Every now and then there is a good, solid belly laugh to be had, but for the most part the humour is subtle and very clever. I feel very warm towards these characters. If they were real I think I should like to invite them to tea. Dench and Palmer appear to enjoy their roles, and when they exchange glances it seems to be not acting, but genuine regard that they show towards each other. May they live happily ever after...........
This show grows on you. It's not as purely funny as many top comedies
(e.g., Frasier, Friends, Mad About You, Seinfeld), it's not as
imaginative in plot or continuing story as others. There's no truly
over the top character whose wildness captures the public's
Yet the writing and acting work gently - slowly but not too slowly - to make this a very pleasant world to be in.
And so you DO look forward to visiting with these people, do care about their smallish problems, do chuckle at the gentle humor.
The characters just seem so very real that it does feel like you're dropping in on visiting people who are warm, real, caring, likable.
It's a very likable show.
"As Times Goes By" is brilliantly written, directed, and--especially-- acted. What a marvelous treat to see the fascinating Judi Dench week after week. She and Geoffrey Palmer have incredible chemistry together. There are many laugh-out-loud laughs, as well as serious moments too. The final scene in the second episode is perfection. The series would be have been well-advised to end about two seasons before it did, but even these episodes are head-and-shoulders above most of today's television. All in all, a remarkable achievement sustained, for the most part, over nine seasons. Bravo, all concerned! Brava, brava, Judi!
My mother and I have watched this on PBS every Sunday night for the
past several years. And we both absolutely love it. The
characterizations are perfect, the characters credible and amiable, the
dialog VERY well written, the entire series reliably funny and likable
and just plain delightful.
My mother and I always say at the end of each episode something like this: "They're such nice people ... wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have them for neighbors?" How many characters in either movie or TV can that be said of? I can't find a rating opportunity for this one. Darn. I would give it a 9 out of 10.
I've just watched the "reunion" show, the newest episode of the series,
made in early 2005. Judi Dench in an interview said that it was the
enthusiasm of the American audience that convinced the cast and
creators to continue the series.
And why? Why do we like, even love, this show so much? First, the deft, brilliant writing, the believable situations and character interactions. It's just that the laughs come from situations that all of us can recognize. He never will answer a ringing telephone, which drives her crazy; she just can't fill the dishwasher properly, in his opinion,and that drives him bananas. We recognize this in our own situations, our own relationships. And don't count out the romance, the idea that two people lose track of each other (it turns out, due to a misunderstanding!) and, after 38 years apart, fall in love all over again.
Don't misunderstand: this is a sex comedy, a sexy show! But it's not in your face, it's just presented as a delicious part of life.
Then of course it's the way British actors play comedy, always with style and panache, never going for cheap laughs, never overstated or self-indulgent. No smutty asides and improvisations, either, as "Method" trained American actors tend to do, on television, stage and film, when they try to play comedy. There's a wonderful sense of generosity in the playing, too: "We're doing this for YOU, the audience, not just for ourselves. Isn't it fun?"
The newest episodes introduced a new character and left the door open for further developments. I look forward to more!
Over the years, I have watched the odd episode of "As Time Goes By" ... but just recently I started watching this series on a regular basis, and can now understand why my husband would cut conversations short because he had to watch his favourite actress,Judi Dench, in "As Time Goes By." Now, I'm doing the same thing. Here in Canada, I have the chance to watch it every day. The antics of these two characters are wonderful to watch. I almost feel I'm a visitor in their home in England. I think my husband could have played the part of Lionel very well. In fact I've started calling him Lionel. These actors have good chemistry on the screen and it's hard to believe that they're just acting their parts. A great show!
A lovely show centered around a middle-aged couple who spent years apart
after a brief courtship and are reunited in mid-life.
It is Dench and Palmer (Jean & Lionel) who really make the show. Palmer's pleasant dry wit is particularly likeable, but it is without doubt a combined effort.
The supporting characters are all great and very engaging, particularly Lionel's free-wheeling dad, Rocky (whose catch-cry is "rock on") and his quirky house-maid, Mrs Bale who insists on serving meals at bizarre, but precise times like 12:23 and knows exactly what the weather in the English Channel is like at any given time!
How can anyone not like a show with characters like these?
When they next play the re-runs....do yourself a favour.
I first caught this program on Maryland Public TV in the afternoon
years ago. It reminded me so much of my own parents, and sometimes my
life. Jean & Lionel are a wonderful old, married pair facing the usual
tribulations of being old in years but young at heart. And though I've
watched all the episodes dozens and dozens of times, I still enjoy them
My only complaint is with the ill-fated season 8. Some episodes just don't make much sense. Lionel selling the Country House conflicts with his decisions in Season 5 to keep it as is and protect the village from "high flyers". Also the Alistair/Sandy romance conflicts with her stated non-attraction in the previous 7 seasons. The viewer thinks the writer lost touch with his own characters in that season.
But season 9 redeems our favorite family and finally gives everyone a happy ending. (Though I do wonder who was left to run Type For You when the girls left for their happy endings.) One hopes in the fictional world, Jean & Lionel have taken up the ways of their older counterparts (Rocy & Madge) and traveled the world. A visit to Sandy & Harry in Canada, perhaps a trip to Hawaii with Judy & Alistair. Even some Mongolian trekking with Mr. & Mrs. Hardcastle the Senior. Then back to the Holland Park homestead for Christmastide with the grandchildren, with a weekender in Hampshire for Mrs. Bale's Christmas Party.
While the world has lost the great Joan Simms (Madge), her spirit and enthusiasm for life are captured in this series. May everyone share Madge & Rocky's motto at 70-80 Plus... "Rock on!"
Charming, soft, slow-paced, believable, delightful. This is one sitcom which never jumps the shark. Dench and Palmer are excellent, of course, but so are the supporting players. (What a shock it must have been to each to have his/her agent call with good news/bad news: "You've got a continuing role in a sitcom, BUT you have to chew scenery with Dame Judi and Geoffrey Palmer.")
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