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TV Review: South Riding

How disappointing! It seems like more and more Masterpiece programs on PBS aren't up to par. I didn't have high expectations for South Riding, which ended its three-part run last Sunday over here, but I would love to have been proven wrong.

But the story lacked a real compelling plot, and the characters were not the most likable people. That, and there were a few stories going on at once and it turned into a bit of a jumble. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to care about this character, or that character, and I wasn't sure I cared if I should care. Get it? It didn't have much to offer.

Anna Maxwell Martin plays our heroine, a young-ish lady who comes to town to run a local girls school a few years before WWII. She sets out to change things for the better, as they always do in these stories, and of course she's right. The two love interests she sort of acquires aren't exactly titillating. The one guy, who I prefer, loves her and she's oblivious. The other one, who I want to die for some reason, is wrong for her (his wife is a case head and yes, she's still alive) and he has a daughter that she teaches. Aside from having a wife, his personality is sadly wanting. Who wouldn't want this piece of sexiness? I have to say, though, the way these barely-there romances concluded was not what I expected. It was both ridiculous, funny (to me), and unsatisfying. Actually, nothing about this series was satisfying.

I like Anna Maxwell Martin. I saw her in Bleak House and North and South before this, and she does a good job in playing a strong-willed, independent, somewhat idiotic woman. But she's still not much of a heroine.

The guy who plays the man she loves (for some reason I fail to comprehend) was in Our Mutual Friend, as well as the most recent version of Sense and Sensibility. He was quite the psycho in OMF, but I'm beginning to think it's part of his method. Either that or he's psycho, because a lot of the same character traits were in this, too. It made me laugh when he started weeping and shaking like he did in OMF.

So, this is definitely not a favorite. It had some nice moments, and it wasn't horrid, therefore I'll label it as mediocre.

My grade: C+


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