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59 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

Murdering Pemberley

Author: EnglishBriarRose from England
27 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The vibrant, funny, ironic and feisty Miss Elizabeth Bennett has been Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy for six years, and, despite an army of servants, almost unlimited wealth and an adoring husband, has dwindled into a care-worn looking woman who appears to be permanently worrying about the gas bill! We discover the incredibly wealthy and well-connected Darcy had a disreputable (great?)grandfather who nearly ruined Pemberley then killed himself. Darcy's father was still having to sell land to save Pemberley - and this is the family the maniacally snobbish Lady Catherine de Burgh wished her daughter to marry into? Hardly, I would think!

Furthermore, I am no student of legal history, but when the local magistrate discovers the body of the murder victim has been washed, he talks of "tampering with evidence" - I really cannot believe that such a concept would have existed in the early 19th Century! Indeed, in an age of faith - or lip-service to faith - the proper and respectful treatment of the dead would almost certainly have taken precedence over any other consideration.

Wickham is taken into custody on suspicion of murder even before, in the language of the time, a Coroner's Jury has "sat on the body" - that is, before the relevant legal institution has determined that it was murder, and not accident or suicide. Again, I suggest, unlikely.

I find the plot unbelievable and the acting, with a few notable exceptions - principally Jenna Coleman as the wonderfully ghastly Lydia - frankly mediocre. Elizabeth Darcy confesses to her sister that she thinks Darcy regrets his marriage to her; as Anna Maxwell Martin plays her, he probably does, but then, I wouldn't marry Matthew Rhys' Darcy either!

Sorry, but this genre-bender doesn't work for me!

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52 out of 63 people found the following review useful:

The characters are the same only by the name

2/10
Author: ErinNavan from Montenegro
3 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First of all, I am a huge fan of "Pride and Prejudice", and before you say that this is a separate work of art, written by a different author and therefore a different thing, I would like just to add - if they didn't want to follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen, they should had written about new characters. However, they didn't.

Aside of that - story is stretched, unbelievable and unreal.

So... While I could get used to Matthew Rhys as Mr. Darcy and Matthew Goode (whom I really like) as Mr. Wickham, Anna Maxwell Martin doesn't have that "something" to be Elizabeth. Still, I could bear that - but each and every character (except for Mr. and Mrs. Bennett) had been so changed, that we wouldn't recognize them without their names.

Darcy is more narrow minded than in the beginning of P&P - although JA stated that marriage made him milder.

Elizabeth and Lady Catherine still can't stand each other - although JA made it clear that Lady Catherine overcame her share of prejudice and became a dear guest to new lady of Pemberley.

Wickham is all of sudden brave soldier, as if we forgot that he really had no qualities whatsoever, except his charm.

And, just when you thought you saw all, you realize that Lydia is a wise woman, devoted to her marriage, that deliberately closes her eyes to her husbands affairs. As if we don't know that she is spitting image of her mother - not deliberately blind, but truly blind. And while Jenna Coleman was the best casting part of the show, some things, like her recklessly throwing her coat behind her and generally wearing red, were just pushing over the borders of normal, even for Lydia.

Georgiana's falling on the floor in tears and despair in front of the servants is something that Georgiana would never do.

Mrs. Younge to be governess to Georgiana needed to be at least a decade, if not two, older and her being Mr. Wickhams sister is plain silly.

And, above all - The Fall of Col. Fitzwilliam is probably the saddest part of the show. Darcy, knowing him his all life, could not have been so blind about him.

And, just one more thing - the Darcys are one of the richest people in England of that time. It is: 1. Next to impossible that his grandfather nearly lost everything; 2. Impossible for him to lose reputation so easily and quickly, based on scandal with his brother-in-law; 3. Absolutely impossible to have that scandal ruin him financially that he would need to rely on Col. Fitzwilliam.

p.s.

There are no elements of horror. They talk about a ghost, but that is all.

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61 out of 82 people found the following review useful:

Anachronistic

3/10
Author: pawebster from England
31 December 2013

I am sorry to disagree with the many fans of this. The dialogue is terribly anachronistic and a million miles from the style of Jane Austen. "Let's not overreact" from Darcy, for example, and worst of all from Lady Catherine de Bourgh, the world's most supercilious and conservative woman of her age, who says to Lizzie, "We need to talk". Need I say more?

I'm not an expert on legal procedures through the ages, but I strongly suspect that the court scenes were anachronistic, too. Others can probably give better information on this.

Also, I noticed very little chemistry between the Darcys, despite what some have claimed.

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32 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Unbelievably naff,I'm afraid...........................

4/10
Author: ianlouisiana from United Kingdom
5 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Regardless of its heritage,"Death comes to Pemberley"is badly written,carelessly cast and direly acted.Cliché follows cliché as the performers drop into their BBC Jane Austen mode with no attempt to get beneath their characters;offering only a rehash of the seemingly endless P&P reruns. The one performer with a bit of spirit is Mr T.Eve whose Magistrate is a straight steal from his Supt Boyd in "Waking the dead". The script is full of those embarrassing little mistakes that one would have thought might have been eliminated at a read through if anybody cared enough. Usually it's merely irritating,but with a major prestige production presumably selling abroad it is disgraceful that nobody further up the food chain didn't recognise sloppy writing - or,even worse,didn't think the audience would. "We need to talk"....well,somebody should have. Furthermore only the aforementioned Mr Eve looked as though he might possibly have lived in the early nineteenth century,the rest looking as though they were attending a rather expensive fancy dress party. "Death comes to Pemberley" looks like the product of a broadcaster so desperate to regain its reputation as a maker of quality drama that it has forgotten that the core audience for quality drama is still fairly literate despite the same broadcaster's ceaseless attempts to dumb them down.

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26 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Dreadful

2/10
Author: Gibbers Siemon from United States
29 October 2014

Ridiculous casting and story lines. Actress Ms. Martin looks sour, perpetually preoccupied, too old (remember, Lizzy was perhaps 21 when she married Darcy and therefore no more than mid- twenties in this new chapter) and she displays absolutely no playful energy or wit in the daily events. Rhys as Darcy is jarring and I'm on my guard lest he leap from my TV to challenge me to a fight. Whatever softening and life-enjoying qualities Lizzy was to have brought into Darcy's life is gone. He's back to angry, barking, arrogance. I actually like Wickham's actor (Goode) so nothing to challenge, there. Fitzwilliam's character has become oddly mysterious and mercenary; he acts like a pirate rather than an honorable officer in the King's army. No charm, even if he was a bit "empty" in the original. It's all just weird! Ms. James has not done well with these additions. I agree with other reviewers that the characters and dialog are way off-base with the Austen sensibilities so clearly and consistently written in her books.

Great idea, dreadful execution from Ms. James to these productions.

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21 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Sadly Disappointing

2/10
Author: D C from United States
3 November 2014

I was quite excited to watch this new series. However, after watching the show, one word comes to mind - disappointment. I have to be honest, I could not get over the fact that Elizabeth Darcy (nee Bennet) looked to be closer to fifty than to mid-twenties. I have no issues with aging actors - as I too am closer to fifty than to mid-twenties - but the role should have been cast to a more age-appropriate actor. Given that Elizabeth plays such a central role in the show, I found it painful to watch. Where was the youthful, fun-loving, playful, witty Elizabeth of Jane Austen's beloved Pride & Prejudice? Certainly not in this show...

I also found the story (as written) to lack depth. I did not walk away anxious for the next episode (or for a follow-on series). That special something that draws the viewer into the story was just not present.

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15 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

So many mistakes but still...

6/10
Author: Cleo Smith
31 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I know what you think if you have watched these episodes and I agree with you. In fact, I think I can enumerate every essential error this series has.

Character-wise it was most definitely not true to the book. Mr. Darcy would never treat Elizabeth in such a manner, he is a changed man after all. He is portrayed very harsh here and even though he is more animated(thanks to Elizabeth) he doesn't show real emotion, even reserved. Elizabeth was also wrongly illustrated. There was no liveliness about her, no spirit. She looked so tired all the time, which simply could not be possible since her way of living is utterly luxurious and as a notion it does not agree with her character. She is also a person with good judgment and self-awareness and she would not doubt her life the way she did in this film. She also wouldn't have taken things so seriously and would have tried to lighten the situation more. I will take this chance and complain about her wardrobe as well. I understand that the creators wanted to show that she didn't change her ways even though now she is incredibly wealthy. Still, three very similar and plain dresses is taking the matter too far. Even Lydia's clothes were better than hers.

Plot-wise, it had lots and lots of holes. I don't think the Darcys would lose their credit, their good name, their position in society and their friends just because Darcy's brother in law was convicted for murder. I am not that familiar with the customs of the early 19th century, but I think they have stretched things a little bit there. I also don't believe that they had a great grandfather who lost so much money, that they had to pay his debts for three generations in order to maintain their fortune. Such a story would be more likely to discredit them in society than Wickham. And relatives such as Lady Catherine would not be so proud to have them in their family. The plot is also problematic because it has relied a great deal on characters which were wrongly portrayed(especially colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgianna) so it loses a lot of credit from that(at least for me, as I have read the book and I am acquainted with said characters). I can also not forgive them for trying to show us a better version of Wickham. War hero, free spirited and broad-minded. Yes I am sure he and Lydia are a couple of liberal misunderstood people who want to live their lives to the fullest. YOLO etc. Utter nonsense.

In the end though, even if I saw and understood all that I was left feeling somewhat fulfilled. Because there were some parts along the way, where I would catch a glimpse of the original characters. They would somehow manifest themselves in the little things (like the way Elizabeth banters with Lady Catherine de Bourgh or Mr Darcy). And in my heart I would recognize these beloved characters. They greeted me like old friends. And even though it was for a very short while, the faint picture of how they went on, left a smile on my face and filled me with gratitude for the creators, who tried and ever so slightly succeeded in such a demanding task. But Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books so I guess I'm a bit biased. I would recommend watching it as a way to spend a light evening.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Fanfiction Comes to Pemberly

Author: KurotsutaMurasaki from United States
11 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let me just preface this by saying that I am a fan of both Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Rhys. Anna is a beautiful, wonderful actress. I've found her enjoyable in Bleak House (2005) and The Bletchley Circle. Matthew is a talented, insanely attractive Welshman with a beautiful, robust singing voice (as evidenced in the Mystery of Edwin Drood). They are both very skilled at what they do when they are in their element.

Regency England is NOT their element.

There are a lot of problems with Death Comes to Pemberly. Some I can't even put my finger on.

The biggest problem is that Anna and Matthew don't feel like Elizabeth and Darcy.

We'll start with Matthew - he's too high-strung for this part. As the conflicted John Jasper, he works. As the Upright and dignified (but still slightly awkward) Darcy - No. He's handsome, but in a very unconventional way, which does not at all fit with tall, dark and striking Darcy. He swings about quite a lot which, apart from being improper for the time period, is simply not a way one would describe Darcy as moving.

Watching Anna in this was not unlike watching her performance in the Bletchley Circle or Bleak House - the parts she plays in both of the aforementioned are women who have been through trials. That's what Anna Maxwell Martin does. But Elizabeth has spent most of her life in comfort without any greater trial than an insufferable mother and a sister running off and eloping. She shouldn't look this tired. The past six years of her life has been spent living in her dream home with her loving (filthy rich) husband.

And then there's the way SHE moves in the part. Setting aside the manner in which they have her speaking, there's her body language. The way she walks and holds herself is quite simply NOT ON for the Regency. At one point she faces a pillar and leans against it with one arm over her head and her other hand ON HER HIP. It's a very masculine post and not at all appropriate for a well bred woman of the era. At another point (when she is speaking with Lady Catherine no less) she is sitting at a table, leaning forward (once again) with her hand on her waist. I half expected her to cross her legs. To top this all off, when she walks away from Lady Catherine, she swings her hips.

Now let's consider Georgiana and the way she falls - sobbing - to HER KNEES in full view of the SERVANTS. This is another unladylike thing for a woman as demure and well-brought-up as Georgiana. Also it seemed like an overreaction considering the situation. Maybe she would react like that if she'd, say, just received news that her brother had died.

We see Lydia (who at least was well cast with Jenna Coleman) wearing QUITE a lot of scarlet. While I'm sure well all amuse ourselves imagining her pushing boundaries without a though for convention, wearing scarlet dresses in that time period is a bit much, even for her.

The story seems to waffle quite a bit as far as the "true character" of Wickham goes. Also, Lydia is way too self aware. Then of course we have magistrates talking about "tampering with evidence" and completely convoluted subplots concerning Darcy's Great-grandfather nearly losing Pemberly (?), Making Col. Fitzwilliam judgmental and of poor character (he's the frickin' nicest guy!) and Mrs. Young being Wickhams half-sister? What in the name of all that's holy?!

Basically, what this all boils down to is that this is an adaptation of... well fanfiction. Published fanfiction by a well respected author, but fanfic nonetheless. And fanfiction (especially of the Mystery genre) get's way to convoluted, way too fast.

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14 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Horribly Mis-Cast

4/10
Author: mrbell-1
11 January 2015

Had this pvr'd so didn't get to watch it until recently. The main characters were mis-cast. Rhys as Darcy just didn't work, but he would have made a great Wickham. Matthew Goode should have been cast as Darcy, and not as Wickham. And seriously, who would have thought to cast AMM as Lizzie? Her presence was paper-thin, and had difficulty carrying the role and the dialogue to make Lizzie spring to life and be the object of Darcy's adoration. And by the end of even the first episode, I was seriously tired of seeing her in the same, ugly blue dress. I was beginning to think it was the only one she owned until they came up with the same dress in episode two, but this time in green. And that little bolero jacket, and the pickle-barrel bonnet was just too much for me. For a woman of means, after 6 years of being married to a wealthy man and representing the estate, you would think she had more than two daytime dresses, that she wore everywhere. Did she get them at the church jumble sale or the bottom of the missionary barrel? And Rebecca Font as Mrs. Bennett? Really??? That was just too painful to watch.

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17 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Death may come to the viewer first

3/10
Author: (wchamp68@hotmail.com) from United States
2 November 2014

I had anticipated this series coming to American television, given the fine productions of Jane Austin's novels that have appeared over the years. While it is an imaginative storyline, it is one of the most boring "mysteries" ever presented on "Masterpiece Mysteries." The cast is outstanding, as are the costumes and settings. Those have become a given in recent years with such period pieces. However, the story takes forever to get organized, with people you really don't care for very much. I get the feeling that the producers had so much invested in the backgrounds, with the costumes and settings, that they felt it had to be a longer series. It didn't. This would have worked much, much better as an hour and a half, or maybe two hour, production. Instead, it became a tedious piece of television. The cast deserved better.

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