Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: The Grand - Complete Collection

I had never heard of The Grand until my mom bought it one day on Amazon. Both of us did not know anything about the series other than it was about a hotel. As we watched the series, the basis of the story was pretty much Upstairs, Downstairs in that half the show is about the upper class and the other half is about the lower class.

Note: I would usually do separate reviews for the different seasons, but for this, I'm combining them into one review.
Complete Collection Box Art

After World War I, the Grand Hotel in Manchester is reopened by the Bannerman family who has owned the hotel for many years before. The plot lines of the episodes would be similar to Upstairs Downstairs in that part of the plotlines involve the patrons of the hotel and the Bannerman family and the other part involves the waitstaff of the hotel.

There was only one member of the regular cast that I recognized, and it was Susan Hampshire as Miss Harkness, a guest at the Grand.

Out of all the characters, I would say that there are only three that were likable. The three were John Bannerman, the owner of the hotel, Kate Morris, the servant girl, and Mr. Collins, the head porter. John Bannerman was the owner trying to make the hotel successful after being closed for so long; he loves his family, but sometimes can't express it as well as he should. Kate Morris, the servant girl, tries to do her job and follow the rules; she cares for her friend, Monica, and tries to keep her out of trouble (which didn't work out). Mr. Collins lives with the grief that his son was executed for abandoning his post in the military, but he copes with it and runs the hotel well.

Kate Morris and Stephen Bannerman, John and Sarah Bannerman's
The rest of the characters were horribly, horribly flawed. Miss Harkness has a very disreputable past and for the first half of the first series is proud of it and talks about it openly (Susan Hampshire, you could have done a lot better). She does seem to regret her choices, but ultimately goes back to her previous lifestyle. Marcus Bannerman, John Bannerman's brother, is just creepy and slimy. Sarah Bannerman, John's wife, begins to move away from her husband towards the creepy Marcus. Marcus's girlfriend (later fiancee and then wife) Ruth is mistreated by Marcus the whole first series, though he is slightly better to her face during the second series, but still neglects her. Need I go much further? And that was only part of the upstairs plotlines. And a bit more goes on with the servants that work downstairs. If you're looking for role models, don't look for them in The Grand.

There were also a lot of topics that wouldn't have been discussed so openly in company at the time. Realistically, during that time, there were certain subjects that would have been much more discreetly discussed if discussed at all. In The Grand, those subjects were talked about as if it was a modern day soap opera! It was quite unnecessary and inaccurate.

Miss Harkness and Kate Morris
The Grand Hotel itself is something to look at! It's has many lovely views and always looks clean. There aren't many scenes that take place outside, so a great deal of the scenes are inside the hotel.

Some of the costumes were well done. A good deal of the guests/owners costumes were very nice and looked pretty. The servants' outfits were the same uniform that they wore. However, it seemed like during the second season, however, that the costumer for The Grand was going out of their way to make Miss Harkness's dresses extremely immodest; it was extremely ridiculous and unnecessary.

The theme music was very nice. It's very flowing and can get stuck in your head easily. Other than that, there aren't many songs that stood out to me very much.

Overall: 0.5/5
I WOULD NOT recommend this, especially to families. There are a lot of scenes that are very mature and a lot of the topics discussed during the show were inappropriate and wouldn't have been talked about so openly during the time period. Honestly, The Grand was more like a modern day soap opera with everyone's dirty laundry out for everyone to see in period fashions. I can't even say that you can easily skip past the inappropriate scenes: some can take you by surprise. I usually don't like to quote other reviewers on my reviews since my reviews are mine, but one reviewer at IMDB put it accurately when they said, "The Grand is just too sordid for more than one viewing." So I won't be watching this again. Be warned about this series. Though the costuming is nice and the hotel itself is lovely to look at, there is some very mature content present throughout the entire series that ruins the entire experience. And, honestly, the plotlines weren't that great to begin with.

The Grand is available on DVD. It is made up of two seasons and 18 episodes that are about 55 minutes long.

1 comment:

  1. Oh The Grand, I watched a few episodes of this and gave it up pretty early in the series. It is definitely not for family viewing, it's just plain awful as a series!
    Another one to stay away from is the Cazalets series, it's similar and just not appropriate. I didn't really like the older Upstairs Downstairs either, the new ones were okay. Too bad you weren't able to preview The Grand before you mom bought the whole series! :(


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