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Doctor Thorne, the physician of the town of Greshamsbury, lives a quiet life with his niece Mary. Mary, though her parentage is a mystery, is often in the company of the Greshams, the squire and his family. This all changes when the relationship between Mary and Frank, the heir of Greshamsbury gets romantic. Suddenly, questions of money and class rear their head and threaten to tear friends and family apart.

Doctor Thorne is a three-part British miniseries penned by Julian Fellowes, ofcourse best-known for Downton Abbey. The series is an adaptation of a novel by Anthony Trollope, of which previously - among others - He Knew He Was Right and The Way We Live Now were adapted.

First off, it was great fun to get a new 19th century adaptation after the last few years it has been more the fashion to produce 20th century period dramas. Doctor Thorne is a real old-fashioned costume drama, with carriages and great houses and lots of beautiful dresses! It looks amazing, very lush and colourful! There will be a lot to enjoy for lovers of historical costumes, though there are some things a bit anachronistic (especially the amount of flowers in the ladies' hair, read a funny article about it here).

I thought the casting was mostly spot-on. Tom Hollander was very good as the quiet and kind doctor Thorne. His 'nemesis', Lady Arabella Gresham, was masterfully played by Rebecca Front. I didn't know Alison Brie at all (though she's no newcomer), but I loved her in the role of the American heiress Miss Dunstable. She managed to be playful and different without resorting to the typical 'crass American' trope. The main couple of Mary and Frank were played by newcomers Stefanie Martini and Harry Richardson. They were both fine, but didn't really stand out. They make a cute couple, but the chemistry is lacking a bit, though this might not just be the actor's fault.

The main problem with Doctor Thorne seems to be the time. For such a sprawling Trollope novel, three episodes really does not give a lot of room for character development. Some characters in this miniseries clearly suffer from this, such as Beatrice and Augusta, the Gresham daughters and their husband-hunting endeavours. I'm listening to the novel at the moment and though this does lean towards too long and too detailed (rather typical for Victorian works...), there is so much more characterization of all the Greshamsbury people and much more background as to why people acted the way they did. I personally feel that this would have been a better and less rushed adaptation with 4 or 5 episodes.

All in all, Doctor Thorne is a sweet and lovely looking costume drama. It's definitely worth the watch, though I don't think it's going to be a classic.

Date: 2016-10-18 01:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lindahoyland.livejournal.com
I enjoyed watching it.

Date: 2016-10-19 09:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] birdienl.livejournal.com
Oh yes, me too!

Date: 2016-11-17 08:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] msantimacassar.livejournal.com
I could have sworn I commented on this review earlier, oops! I enjoyed this mini a lot too. It felt like an old school, fluffy sort of drama that satisfied a certain craving of mine. I haven't read the book, but I felt like the miniseries was well paced. It could have used maybe one more episode but it didn't feel too rushed for me. Perhaps if I had read the book like you I would feel differently!

I honestly really loved seeing costumes from this era but I agree the flowers were too much! The first scene I was like, "Ooh, these are pretty!" and then the next scene I was like, "OK, why are they wearing flower crowns in the middle of the day like this?" and eventually they just got boring. I really wish other period dramas did more with hairstyles like that but unfortunately they used the flowers way too much. The dresses also seemed kinda short to me.

Thank you for the link to that post! It was super amusing and also introduced me to a fun blog! :D

Date: 2016-11-18 11:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] birdienl.livejournal.com
When I wrote the review I was still quite early in the book, now I'm almost at the end and I feel the adaptation is better than I wrote before. Really, the book is overly long, so I think Fellowes did rather well overall. I'll probably rectify it when I write up the review of the book ;-)

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