birdienl: (Winter2)

A bit late maybe, but I've been busy 'holidaying'! Still, here are my thoughts on the Christmas specials this year!

Doctor Who: The husbands of River Song
Read more... )

Call the Midwife
Read more... )

Downton Abbey: The finale
Read more... )
birdienl: (Winter2)
Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. sharing exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they've encountered during the week etc.)

1. Hello dear people! First of all, a wonderful Christmas to you and your loved ones and a happy New Year!

Read more... )
birdienl: (Jane Eyre)

It's 1925 and for our beloved characters at Downton Abbey, changes are afoot. With Tom having left for America, Mary decides to take his position as estate agent, a daring choice for an unmarried lady. Robert wants to cut costs and reduce the staff, which worries Thomas. Carson and Mrs Hughes are preparing for their wedding and both slightly nervous. And when the local hospital is threatened by a take-over from York, Violet, Cora and Isobel all get caught up in the argument, but they are not on the same side.
(This review is as spoiler-free as I could make it!)

Read more... )
birdienl: (Jane Eyre)
Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. sharing exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they've encountered during the week etc.)

1. Hello everyone, I hope you´re all doing well and enjoying autumn! My life is rather busy and stressfull at the moment (see 2), but here and there I've been finding time to enjoy the beauty of this season, if only during my commute to and from work! Here, have a picture of the view from my livingroom window, it's quite nice if I say so myself!
Read more... )
birdienl: (Christmas)

My thoughts on the Christmas Specials from our beloved British shows from this year:

Beware, there are spoilers here!

Downton Abbey: A Moorland Holiday:
Read more... )

Call the Midwife:
Read more... )

Doctor Who: Last Christmas:
Read more... )
birdienl: (Autumn)
Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows
book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. sharing
exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they've encountered during the week etc.)

1. I have a new phone, yay! After struggling with a slow, always full and often crashing Alcatel phone for ages, I now have a lovely, fast Samsung Galaxy Core on which I can download all the apps I want and still have lots of GBs of memory left! There's just one little downside to this: about half a year ago I was browsing through Etsy and came across some great, classic literature inspired phone cases. I then decided: when I get a new phone, I'm buying one of these cases. Unfortunately, these cases are only made for standard model phones like iPhones and Galaxy S. So now my great new phone is dressed in a boring black case, all I could find for this model (#firstworldproblems)
Read more... )
birdienl: (Summer)
         Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows
book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. sharing
exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they've encountered during the week etc.)

For a while now I've been looking for a 'format' to talk a little bit more about real life stuff or just small observati ons and shout-outs that I'd like to make which don't fill a whole post. I think this weekly blogging event is just what I need for that! I hope to make posts like this more often (though perhaps not weekly...)

1. Tomorrow I'm going to visit a traditional country market. There are going to be demo's and workshops of old farming techniques, cooking and crafts, rare animal breeds and lots of stand with interesting traditional products. The weather promises to be good and it all takes place in an open-air museum. I'm really looking forward to it!

More... )
birdienl: (Winter)

My thoughts on the Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and Doctor Who Christmas Specials for this year!

Beware, there are spoilers here!
Downton Abbey )Doctor Who )Call the Midwife )

birdienl: (Tea answer)

It's hard to believe it's already the fourth series of Downton Abbey I'm writing this review about. It seems like yesterday this series first started and now it's become a fixed event on the calendars of period drama fans around the world! After the shocking ending of last year's Christmas Special, series 4 starts with a house in mourning. Mary can barely get through the days, but the estate needs managing. Tom, by now at home in his role of estate manager, tries to coax Mary out of her stupor and interest her in the running of the estate. Edith is set to meet her friend and editor Michael Gregson in London for the first time in half a year. Where will their relationship go? Downstairs, lady's maid O'Brien has suddenly left and the replacement is a familiar face who might cause trouble at Downton. The younger members of staff are still mixed up in their love troubles, while Alfred tries to further his dream of becoming a chef.

I tried to keep this review spoiler free.

I want another nurse. This one talks too much. She's like a drunken vicar. )
birdienl: (History castle)

The house known to the world as Downton Abbey is in real life called Highclere Castle and is the home of the Carnarvon family. Lady Fiona, the current Countess of Carnarvon beliefs her predecessors are every bit as interesting as the characters of Downton Abbey and has brought them to the limelight in two books: Lady Almina and the real Downton Abbey, about the 5th Countess and her efforts during the First World War and now there is also Lady Catherine, the Earl and the real Downton Abbey about Catherine, the 6th Countess.

If some things at Highclere were the same, many more were not )
birdienl: (Extensive reading)
Downton Abbey had it's fair share of parodies and spoofs already, but you know a series is really popular when it gets a spoof in a satirical program in a different country! Here are a few clips from the Dutch satirical program Koefnoen about Downton Abbey. They are in English, so you get to enjoy the fun as well!

X-posted to [ profile] downton_abbey
birdienl: (Hunger Games - Katniss)

- 1-20: Downton Abbey series 3 for [ profile] inspired20in20
- 21-31: The Hunger Games, unfinished claim for [ profile] adapted20in20
- 32-39: assorted Period Drama, unfinished claim for [ profile] inspired20in20

Ten hours crawling through heather and nothing to show for it. Perhaps it's a parable for life. )
birdienl: (History castle)
- 1-20: Regency Era icons for [ profile] history20in20
- 21-46: Various icons made for [ profile] downton_stills, [ profile] ouat_stills, [ profile] the_histories, [ profile] greatbritain_ic, [ profile] comeholdmyheart and [ profile] seasons_contest
(21-28: Downton Abbey, 29-30: Pride and Prejudice '95, 31: Persuasion '95, 32: The Paradise, 33-34: The Other Boleyn Girl, 35-36: Red Riding Hood, 37-38: Enchanted, 39-44: Once upon a Time, 45-46: stock)

One man's ways may be as good as another's, but we all like our own best )
birdienl: (Once upon a time -D/M right)
Which TV shows did you start watching in 2012?
Next to a lot of 'one-of' miniseries I started watching Call the Midwife and The Paradise, both of which will have a second series in 2013 and these I will certainly be watching. 

source fircyca @ tumblr

Which TV shows did you let go of in 2012?
I watched the first 1,5 season of the Australian 90's show Snowy River in 2011, but I didn't follow up on the next seasons in 2012. There were just so many other (newer and shinier *grin*) things to watch!

Which TV shows did you mean to get into but didn't in 2012? Why?
To first answer the 'Why?': so many shows, so little time... I wanted to watch The Hour before the second series started, but I've still not done this and also Wartime FarmThe Bletchley Circle and World Without End have already been broadcasted and are on my 'to-watch' list. I also thought about adding a comedy series to my 'tv-diet', but I haven't done that yet....

source tornamiadir @ tumblr

Which TV shows do you intend on checking out in 2013?
Whatever period drama the British make! No, just kidding... partly. I'm quite intrigued by the trailers for both Ripley Street and Mr. Selfridge and I still have an opening for a comedy series!

Which TV show impressed you least in 2012?
For miniseries, I was least impressed with Birdsong, which was 3 hours of sheer sadness and mediocre acting (not all the actors though, but enough to annoy me). For recurring series... I don't know. Downton Abbey series 3 was not perfect, but much better than the second series. Grey's Anatomy, already in it's 9th season, continues to surprise me with character development and interesting plots (though sometimes they make the mistake of killing of beloved characters). Maybe I'd have to say The Good Wife, which, still a very strong series, disappointed me with the slow-moving storylines of the main characters.

Which TV show do you think you might let go of in 2013 unless things significantly improve? And which TV shows do you think you'll never let go of no matter how crappy they get? Why?
Well, after the Christmas special I'm sorely tempted to give up Downton Abbey next series. Though I think I'll change my mind after a few months and when the promotional material of the fourth series becomes available. I'll never leave Grey's Anatomy! After the end of season 8 I wanted to for a while, but then upon viewing the first season 9 episodes, I realized it's still a series with great potential and characters I care about. 

Which TV show did you enjoy the most in 2012?
Pfft, such a difficult question! I was very invested from the start in Once Upon a Time and loved it more and more as the season went on. But, to use the motto 'It's the small things that count', I was highly impressed by the little-known mini-series The Young James Herriot, about the student years in the '30s of the later famous vet James Herriot, and Nick Nickleby, a modern adaptation of the novel Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens.

source mbthecool @ tumblr
birdienl: (Default)

This year I had quite a busy, but exciting schedule of Christmas tv, not one, not two, but three Christmas Specials to watch!
I thought this warranted a small post with my thoughts about them! As you will understand, there are spoilers about under the cut(s)

Doctor Who

I just love the Doctor Who Christmas specials taking place in Victorian England, they are the best! I liked the continuity of seeing the Doctor forlorn after he 'lost' the Ponds and not happy and jumping around. I loved the introduction of the new companion, her interactions with the Doctor and her acting in general. I believe Jenna-Louise Coleman is going to be so great! The monster/mystery part suffered a bit from the introduction of the companion. While it could've been a wonderfully effective idea to make snow scary (really, what simple commonplace things can't Doctor Who make scary?) and while Richard E. Grant was very chilling, I thought the story somewhat confusing and the ending unsatisfactory. Was the snow meant to be an alien lifeform? Or was the monster meant to be a bodyless lifeform which inhabited the snow? Lastly, nice to see Tom Ward sporting a beard, it suits him, he should play in period drama more often!

Downton Abbey

Almost a perfect special, I would have to say, even if it didn't take place at Christmas. If... you don't count the last two minutes obviously. I really loved the episode in general: a nice balance between Downton and Scotland scenes, a storyline for practically all of the characters, lots of fun, happy scenes, but also some more serious character development and pretty visuals of the Highlands and the Thirsk fair. I felt a bit sorry for Dr. Clarkson, I've always thought he and Isobel would be good together. I was glad to see Mrs. Hughes being the star of downstairs as usual, she really is the kindest and the wisest. But, about the ending.... I must admit I was spoiled, at my own accord. I'm sort of glad I knew, that way I could mentally prepare myself. I thought it a horrible way to end a festive special. And a horribly lazy way of storytelling as well. Really, Tom and Sybil's baby is born and Sybil dies and now with this baby Matthew dies?? It reeks of the last season of McLeods Daughters

(when Alex died just before Stevie gave birth)

, which I never forgave the writers for. I think this kind of writing is a sure sign a series is going downhill and I will seriously consider whether to watch series 4 (but probably give in in the end). I have read it around the www a lot of times today, but it would've been better to have ended Downton Abbey with this special, minus the last two minutes.

Call the Midwife

Beautiful, poignant and sad in equal measure, as all the episodes of this wonderful series so far have been. It was great to see Chummy and Peter married and being cute together! There was some really pretty cinematography, especially the scene alternating between the nuns of Nonnatus House singing in the chapel and the baby being born. While the story of Mrs. Jenkins was terribly sad, it was hopeful to see, that while there was still a lot of poverty in this part of London in the 50s, things had changed for the better and there were ways and means to help people like Mrs. Jenkins. The 'cases' of the special seemed to overshadow the stories of the midwifes a bit, none of them got a real development in this episode. Well, we've got series 2 to look forward to for that, I think!

birdienl: (Default)

It's already been a few weeks since series 3 of Downton Abbey ended and you've probably all read countless reviews and recaps of the series, but I still wanted to collect my thoughts and how better than by writing a review.

Spoilers for all of series 3 under here! )

Also, the new issue of Femnista is out! This issue is all about the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, ofcourse to celebrate the release of the The Hobbit movie later this month. So if you're at all interested in Tolkien, take a look!

I wrote an article about The Silmarillion myself, in particular about Ainulindalë, the creation story of Middle Earth.
birdienl: (History castle)
That we are intruiged by the life of domestic servants is obvious from the large amount of period drama starring servants. Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs ofcourse, but also Berkely Square and Servants. But is what these series show us about service always right? Historian Pamela Cox, herself the great-granddaughter of domestic servants, tries to find out the true story about servants in the three-part documentary Servants: True story of life below stairs.

At the height of the domestic service 'culture', around 1870, over 1,5 million people in Britain worked as servants. This was more than worked in industry or in farming! Despite these large numbers, servants seem to have been by-passed by most history books. Pamela Cox tries to recreate their story, using their own words. As she discovers and tells us about diaries, letters and rare photographs of servants and takes us to the view still existing examples of servants quarters, you get the feeling you come very close to these people and their lives in service. 

This series does not try to show us the mistakes in the portrayals of fictional servants in Downton or Upstairs, Downstairs. It simply  tracks the story of servants in Britain, from the beginning of a special service class to their decline and dissapearance after WWII. It is not as much a technical story about what they did, then a social story about how they saw their own position and how changes in society influenced them. 

Dr. Pamela Cox has a pleasing style of narrating and interviewing and the series teaches you a great amount of interesting information. I sometimes thought it steered a bit too far from the topic, going in-depth into changes in society. Also I would've liked to hear about the differences between the British domestic service system and servants in other European countries and America, but I guess that might be something for another series!

Absolutely recommended for fans of Downton Abbey and general history buffs, plus, all three episodes can be found in good quality on YouTube!

February 2017

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