Friday, October 30, 2009

Two TV Treats

On the face of it Jane Austen’s Emma and Alan Ball’s True Blood are worlds apart but both are highly watchable and brilliantly acted and produced. It was a foregone conclusion that I would watch the latest production of Emma - just finished on BBC1- and this was the best I have seen. The eponymous heroine played by Romola Garai looked strangely familiar and I discovered some years earlier she had been the horrid little girl who caused all the trouble in the film Atonement.


I always wait anxiously for the scene on Box hill when Emma makes fun of Miss Bates and earns Mr Knightley’s disapproval.

‘Badly done Emma! Badly done!’

This is quite painful for me as it takes me back to when, aged 19, I had a row with my sister, lost my temper and earned the same reaction from MTL and when we split I believed it was because I too had ‘badly done.’ I recognise Emma’s mortification only too well.


Romola is totally believable in the part and it was fascinating to see the range of expressions flit across her face. Jonny Lee Miller is convincing as Mr Knightley; he is not tall but had a towering presence and the romance was just as pleasing as the one in Pride and Prejudice – if a little more subtle.


Less predictable was my appreciation of True Blood with some graphic sex scenes and – of all things vampires but – rather like The Sopranos, one is drawn in at the first scene and perfect casting makes the series unmissable for me. The heroine Anna Paquin has a lovely gap- toothed innocence – faintly familiar as she played the little girl in Jane Campion’s film The Piano. Some time ago I was asked who I would like to play me if my book ever was made into a film and Anna Paquin would be my dream choice.


The vampire hero – Stephen Moyer is new to me and I can’t take my eyes off him when he is on screen. Every member of the cast makes this a memorable production but a particular joy is Rutina Wesley – a black actress with attitude. I look forward to seeing more of her. The series continues on Wednesday 10pm on Channel 4.


Emma is finished but is bound to be out on DVD before long. It’s a pleasure to see new actors raising the plate and Brad Pitt and George Clooney should look to their laurels.


See photos below

25 comments:

R. Sherman said...

I've never been much of a vampire fan, other that Stoker's classic, of course. When it comes to the blood-drinking undead, I'm definitely "old school."

Have a good weekend dear, and try to avoid the steamy sex scenes on the telly.

Cheers.

Leah said...

I loved True Blood this past season--and even Sarge liked it! He's not usually one for the vampires but we both were sucked in (haha) after the first couple of episodes. I'm an Eric girl myself, although I like Bill too.

there are many many surprises, so I won't be a spoiler...

Pat said...

Randall: of course I close my eyes during the S.S.S.

Leah: I had to look up who Eric was
and I think I have only seen him sitting with long hair in the naughty bar. I will try to stay faithful to Bill but if Soukie has strayed who knows? Nice to know you like it also.
PS I couldn't watch it with MTL. Too embarrassing:)

Leah said...

Oh, Pat, that is so funny! I also felt a little embarrassed watching it with Sarge--I actually had to hide my face at one point, and I swear I'm no prude--there were certain scenes...I guess you haven't gotten to the Eric story arc yet, so I will say no more. Anyway, I predict you will grow to find Eric fascinating...

Pat said...

Leah: good - the winter looks a little brighter now. I'll look forward to what's in store. Fortunately I'm an owl to his lark. Although I'm getting more larky by the day.

fourdinners said...

Used to enjoy cowering behind the sofa in the old Hammer Horror days of Christopher Lee (now Sir and about time too!!!) as The Count and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing.

Now I do enjoy a good vampire flick. Not exactly a great story line but Hugh Jackman's 'Van Helsing' was so over the top it was brilliant!

Particularly enjoyed Gary Oldman's take on the Count in the Dracula film of several years ago...

Jimmy Bastard said...

Pat, I have to admit that although I am not renowned for watching anything other than sport on the TV, I do follow your tips on what is hot on the box. I'm also pleasantly surprised that you are a fan of the Sopranos.

You never stop surprising me hen.

Pat said...

FourD: I haven't seen either of those as I have come to appreciate vampires late in life but Gary Oldman is always worth watching.

Jimmy: there is an awful lot of dross on the box so if something moves me I tend to write about it.
Wasn't the opening sequence in the Sopranos great - the hairy hands - the cigar, the pig and the music.

Cinnamon said...

I am so sorry to have missed Emma as I love the book- but I will look ou tfor it on DVD, now that it comes recommended by you :)

Scarlet Blue said...

Stephen Moyer is rather raunchy. I've caught some of True Blood and it does look very good.
Sx

Pat said...

Cinnamon: I think I noticed a repeat of the last episode sometime this week. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Scarlet: Leah has whetted my appetite for more:)

angryparsnip said...

Pat. . .I will have to wait for BBC America or Masterpiece on PBS to get Emma. I can't wait to see it after you wrote about it. Or I'll just wait and rent it from Netflix...

The story about your boys way great from the last post.

Enjoy your Fall it is lovely over here.
cheers, parsnip

Pat said...

Parsnip: glad you are back. I missed you;)

Guyana-Gyal said...

After reading Bram Stoker, nobody comes close to being that good where vampires are concerned.

Eeek, now I'm scared to look behind me and it's daytime!

Vampires chase me in my nightmares. I tend to have very mad, wild, crazy dreams.

Now I want to see Emma just to see that 'badly done' scene. I think we've ALL 'badly done' at several points in our lives. I know I have. I still feel mortified thinking of some occasions. Humph. I wonder if I can blame others? That would be great.

Pat said...

GG: I fell guilty when the classic vampire stories are mentioned as I have always been uninterested in them. It took sexy Stephen Moyer to open my eyes. I ought to feel ashamed;)
You get brownie points - in my book for admitting the 'badly done'. And as for excuses the temptation was overwhelming to blame my sister.

sablonneuse said...

My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed Emma and even Bear watched it grudgingly. It's years since I read the book but it's made me want to delve into it again.

Pat said...

Sandy: so glad you saw it:)

Z said...

I find it a bit tricky to get into period dramas nowadays as the lack of respect for the nuances of the age jar so - for example, snogging in the street was just impossible 200 years ago. No respectable woman would have done it under any circumstances. And if it's said that one has to move with the times, why bother with anything at all? - for example, Jane Fairfax could have had a career, not be condemned to be a governess. If you respect the book in one sense, why not in another?

Having ranted, I should now say that, after some initial resistance, I enjoyed it too. I thought Mr Knightley was gorgeous and I thought the tender affection between Emma and her father was a beautiful addition to the plot. I loved the last episode so much (including Box HIll) that I watched the repeat too.

Haven't had time to watch True Blood yet, I've been recording it. Ro is watching it but finds it a bit too female-orientated for him, and a bit sleazy - maybe he's warning me of the sex scenes.

I have memories of sitting between my two sons in the cinema watching a female/female sex scene (Mulholland Drive, I think). None of us knew quite where to put ourselves.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I haven't seen this version of EMMA yet...but I look forward to it--hoping it will be on here sometime soon....
As to TRUE BLOOD...I am in the minority on that, I know....I just cannot get into it. Vampires---Not My Cup Of Tea.
Maybe I will rent the whole first season and see if I can get past the Vampireness! (lol)

Luna said...

Hi Pat.
I watch True Blood every week as well, aired on HBO here in Trinidad. The draw for me initially was Anna Paquin as I thought she was brilliant in The Piano, especially when she lost her temper. It was good to see her receive an Oscar for that performance. I've seen pretty much all of her films, but I agree, she really owns True Blood.
I have not seen Emma (the one on BBC1) but I did enjoy the film version with Gweneth Paltrow.
Are you a big Austen fan? If you are, there's a film my Mom and I both liked: The Jane Austen Book Club. You might enjoy it.

Pat said...

Z: I agree sometimes it is impossible to suspend one's disbelief but with this one I was hooked especially with the charm of most of the players. True Blood isn't everybody's cup of tea (pardon the pun)and I recommend you watch it alone first, as it is - part of it - very graphic but in a ridiculous way. I mean vampires don't exist do they? I'll be interested in how you find it. Again the charm of the leading actors is seductive.

Naomi: I'm sure you will enjoy Emma and I am surprised to be enjoying True Blood. Who knew?
Try to see a small part of True Blood before committing yourself if possible.

Luna: I would like to see The Piano again. Anna is great.
I also saw the film Emma but I much prefer this version.
Thank yu I'll look out for the Jane Auosten Book Club.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Hmmm, if I were to see Stephen Moyer in a vampire movie, I'd change my mind too!

Kath said...

I would love to see the new Emma! I hope it does come out on dvd quickly!

Kanani said...

I shall look forward to this! I too remember that line!

Pat said...

GG: he'd better look out I think:)

Kath: it will be very foolish of the powers that be if it doesn't.

Kanani: I think it's such a good line it resonates with any writer.