Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Lark Rise to Candleford - Series 2

After seeing Lark Rise to Candleford - Series 1, I fell in love with the series! It became a weekly treat when I would sit down with my mom and sister and watch an episode. When Series 1 concluded, was I ever so glad that there was another series! Though Series 1 is still my favorite, I did really like Series 2. There are spoilers below, so I recommend watching all of Series 1 if you don't want to be spoiled. If you would like to read about Series 1, I did a review a while back about it: here's the link.

Synopsis
Box Art
Series 2 begins with the Christmas Special after the events in Episode 10 of Series 1 take place. The second episode takes place in the following year of Series 1. A new hotel called The Golden Lion opens up across the street from the post office and stirs up talk around Candleford. Everyone is curious as to the new owner, and all they can find out is that it's owned by a Mr. JD. It turns out that Mr. JD is a man named James Dowland, who grew up in Lark Rise, has made a fortune, and has returned to Candleford to open up a new hotel to his chain of hotels. At first, sparks fly between Mr. Dowland and Dorcas (Julia Sawalha), but it soon evolves into friendship and something more.

Characters
A couple of characters have left the series since Series 1: Zillah died at the end of Series 1; Sir Timothy and Lady Adelaide left for London; and Caroline Arless leaves at the end of the Christmas episode. This, of course, leaves characters to be replaced.

Dorcas hires a new maid to replace Zillah named Minnie. Minnie came to the post office after running away from her abusive stepfather and now works for Dorcas. Of course, Minnie has no experience with being a maid, and is quite incompetent at first, but she does improve (while still making mistakes occasionally). At the beginning of Series 2, she can be a little annoying, but from the middle to the end of Series 2, she does become endearing. I still miss Zillah, but Minnie is okay.

Sir Timothy and Lady Adelaide leave for London at the end of Series 1. When they leave, James Dowland comes into Candleford. At first, Mr. Dowland is arrogant, but eventually he becomes more tolerable, and you might even have hope for him and Dorcas. However, his past does come back to haunt him, leading to a very interesting episode.

Emma Timmins (Claudie Blakely), Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawalha),
and Queenie Turrill (Linda Bassett) at The Golden Lion.
Other characters that left were Matthew of the forge (where he went, I don't know), Phillip (since Laura broke up with him), and Mr. Paxton (who owns the Wagon and Horses, the Lark Rise pub). In the middle of the series, Fisher Bloom enters into town to work on a clock tower, and Laura begins to date him. I personally do not like Fisher: he seemed too full of himself and he wanted to change Laura.

I have noticed that since the Christmas episode, Ruby Pratt's character has developed more. In the first series, she was almost exactly like Pearl: snobbish,  rude to Lark Rise folks, cold, etc. But in Series 2, she starts to differ from her sister. She might still be a little snobbish, but it's to a much lesser extent. Her and Minnie actually develop a friendship later in the series. Pearl still remains a little cold, but there is even an episode where she develops a little more. However, both women, just like they did for Lady Adelaide, try to flatter Mr. Dowland because he is a single, wealthy businessman. Of course, they still hold his Lark Rise origins against him.

Episode Plots
Laura (Olivia Hallinan) on her Christmas delivery route.
The episode plots are still very interesting, same as it was in Series 1. The Christmas episode that started off Series 2 was quite interesting. There was an atmosphere of Christmas, but there was also a ghost story. It was suspenseful, but it did not get too creepy or scary, in case you were wondering (I personally do not like ghost, but this did not bother me). There was more of a theme in the Christmas episode about coming together whether as family or neighbors.

The episode plots start to bring in other storyline. Laura is still the main character, but you start to notice that there are more episodes that don't always focus on Laura. For example, one focuses on Dorcas challenging Mr. Dowland for a church council position; another focuses on Mr. Dowland's past. So, there is more going on in the story line than whatever Laura is doing: because of that, you only hear adult Laura narrate at the beginning and end of each episode.

A small downside to this new series: there seems to be a small increase in double entrendres throughout the episodes. They are not blatant, but they are there. They are something that are not really that essential to the main plot line. There are only a few, but there are more in Series 2 than in Series 1.

Some of the episodes tend to contain more scandal than in Series 1: for example, Mr. Dowland's past. They are not graphic, but they are either mentioned or implied. Not too big of a deal, but just a heads up.

Scenery
As it was before,  the scenery is still beautiful and remains pretty much the same as Series 1. There are no more scenes in or around the manor house (since Sir Timothy and Lady Adelaide left), but there are plenty of scenes inside of The Golden Lion. The Golden Lion is a very nice hotel that is owned by Mr. Dowland. It is very nicely decorated and spacious. It's even nice enough for Ruby and Pearl Pratt to eat lunch there.

The post office exterior gets a make over (thanks to Mr. Dowland's remarks to Dorcas). It does look nice. They painted the walls and fixed up the sign and facade. The inside pretty much remains the same.

Costuming
Dorcas (Julia Sawalha), Ruby and Pearl Pratt
examining The Golden Lion.

Slight changes were made to the costuming. Ruby and Pearl Pratt are suddenly wearing more colors. It could have something to do with their characters developing into better people than the snobs they were before. They still dress alike for most of the episodes, but there is more variation to the color of their clothes. In Series 1, they tended to wear black with an accent color, but in Series 2, they wear more colors that while still tame are more varying than black.

Laura's dresses (and hairstyle) also changed. In Series 1, her dresses were "turtle" necked (not sure if historically they were called that), and her hair pulled neatly back into a bun. Now, due to Fisher's comments, she occasionally dons a lower neckline (not too low, but lower than her usual), and her hair is loose. It seems a little odd for Laura to be so easily swayed by a boy to change her appearance compared with Series 1.

The rest of the cast pretty much has the same type of clothing: Dorcas still looks professional, but with a couple of new outfits; Lark Rise women still wear their poorer clothes; and Miss Ellison, being the daughter of the parson, still wears very modest clothing.

Overall: 4/5
Lark Rise to Candleford is probably my new favorite TV show. Series 1, I think, will always be my favorite series in Lark Rise to Candleford, but I still like Series 2. The episodes are still very interesting and entertaining, and the acting is very well done. It ends with a great transition into Series 3 (which I might review at a later time; I'm in the middle of watching it). It's really great to watch on a relaxing evening.

Lark Rise to Candleford - Series 2 has twelve episodes on four disks. The Christmas episode is 75 minutes long, while the other episodes are about an hour long. It is currently available on DVD.

7 comments:

  1. I did not like Season 2 of "Lark Rise" very much at all. The Christmas episode gave me the creeps like crazy-- *shudders*. Laura's character is also very annoying, and considering the previous and following seasons, I have to wonder how many boyfriends Miss Lane or Laura could possibly have! I prefer the commitment that I see in many of the other period dramas (such as Jane Austen). The marriage problems between Laura's parents were getting old too.

    For all that, I must say the costumes are the greatest-- I love 1890s styles! :-)

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  2. I personally preferred Laura's character in the first season; I saw a major change in her character in the middle of season 2 when Fisher came, and I didn't like how she changed. I still say that she should have stayed with Phillip from season 1 because he seemed to be a good guy. I still liked season 2, but I still think season 1 was better.

    I also agree that the costumes are really nice.

    Thank you for your comment. :)

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  3. I haven't seen it, or I'm sure I'd have an opinion. (-:

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, I just recently found out about Larkrise, and I love it.
    Not so much the theme/plots, but the scenery and the costumes make it so delightful!
    It is definitely one of those "feel good" movies.
    Thanks for sharing....
    ~Rosie

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  5. I just love this serie, is my favourite. I saw this a very couple of times.

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  6. Started to follow Larkrise on the Drama channel and became hooked and have now started watching them on the internet. Season one is my absolute favourite, especially as I adore Dawn French. Fantastic acting and costumes. I am now nearly at the end of season 2 and still very much hooked. Shame they didn't go on to make more.

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  7. I really really like this series! So much so that I role play Minnie on Twitter @minniemudeRP. If any of you would like join me in reliving the saga, you are more than welcome to!

    Have a blessed day!

    P.S.--I also would like to extend an invitation for you to join me in role playing the Road To Avonlea tv series (I'm not sure if you're familiar with this one?) If you are interested, my site is www.roadtoavonlearp.blogspot.com and the Twitter hub is @RoadToAvonleaRP

    HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

    ReplyDelete

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