Stephen Sorrell, a decorated war hero, raises his son Kit alone after Kit's mother deserts husband and child in the boy's infancy. Sorrell loses a promising job offer and is forced to take work as a menial. Both his dignity and his health are damaged as he suffers under the exhausting labor and harsh treatment he receives as a hotel porter. But Sorrell thrives in the knowledge that his son will benefit from his labors. Sorrell has allowed the boy to believe his mother dead, but when the mother shows up, wanting to re-enter the young man's life, Sorrell must make hard decisions. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
An epic story that starts wonderfully - then finds itself deflating at the slow but steady pace of an old helium balloon
An undeniable fault of the miniseries format is the great temptation to go on and on without specific direction. Standard television provides the restriction of putting forth important events each episode, and cinema must contain a reasonable beginning, middle and end. Consequently, a miniseries often feels like a film with absolutely no benefit of judicial editing.
The story set-up is certainly arresting. The character of Stephen Sorrell (Richard Pasco) is a focused one, quickly drawing you in with his drive and love for his son, Kit (Paul Critchley). Critchley has little to do in this role, but fortunately shares a good resemblance to his character's older counterpart, played by Peter Chelsom. You can hardly help but be interested by Sorrell's early endeavors, frustrating though they may be.
As on-edge as the early events of this story are, I found myself longing for their return by around about the end of the forth episode. Because, honestly, the 'Sorrell' bits are of far more dramatic interest than the 'Son' bits. That's not strictly the fault of Peter Chelsom. He does his best, though I never thought of him as more than a passable actor (He left acting for a much more successful career as director in the 90s). No, the fault is really in the writing, whether it be the source material or the adaptation, I can't say. Either way, interest certainly fades. As for Richard Pasco, regardless of his diminishing screen time throughout the series, he is far and above the best reason to watch "Sorrell and Son". His stunning performance, along with several grand supporting turns by John Shrapnel and others make this an entertaining watch at the least.
For all the early promise, however, the story seems to degenerate into something along the lines of 'stuff happening'. It's a pleasant sort of stuff, but really not too clever. Still, give the first three episodes a watch, and see how you like it from there. You just might get more out of the final three episodes than I did.
RATING: 7.0 out of 10
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