Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: The Duchess of Duke Street - Series 2

Not long ago, you may have seen that I reviewed Series 1 of this series. My mom and I finally finished the series and we were both a little sad that it ended. We just got the know all of the characters: they've almost become family. But alas! it is finished! Here is my review of it.

Note: This review contains spoilers from Series 1. If you do not want to encounter Series 1 Spoilers, I suggest waiting to read this review until after you've seen Series 1. In the meantime, here is my review for Series 1!

The story of Louisa Trotter continues where Series 1 left off. The Bentinck hotel has gain considerable prominence, hosting many distinguished guests. When WWI begins, Louisa does what she can to help with the war effort by turning the Bentinck into a convalescing home for soldiers.

Characters/Episode Plotlines
Couple of more actors/actresses that you might recognize, even more from Series 1. Of course, apart of the main cast is Gemma Jones (Louisa Trotter), who was also in Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Jane Eyre (1997). This series also sees the return of Joanna David as Lady Haselmere, Charlie's wife; Joanna David is well known in the period drama world for being in Pride and Prejudice (1995), Sense and Sensibility (1971), The Way We Live Now, and He Knew He Was Right. For some minor characters: Julian Fellowes (the creator of Downton Abbey) was in an episode as a student playing a joke on his professor) and Liz Smith (Lark Rise to Candleford) was in two episodes as "Nanny".

Much of the series has to do with World War I and how it affects the Bentinck. The Bentinck goes through some changes, Spoiler even enduring a bombing. End of Spoiler After a while, one can get a little tired of the war stories, as there are six episodes out of the sixteen that are about the war, but once those episodes are done, you don't hear a great deal about the war. The 20s are briefly gotten into, but the series ends in 1926. There is a wider range of eras than in Series 1, which only dealt with the Edwardian era.

Louisa is still a very likable character, though she can be strict at times. Spoiler When her daughter, Lottie, arrives at the Bentinck, she tries to make sure that Lottie is brought up as a lady, though Lottie has other plans. End of Spoiler
Charlie talking to the Major after WWI.

Charlie in in the series until about half-way through it. We see a little glimpse into his married life with Margaret, which ends in tragedy. He works through the grief and he eventually joins the army to fight in World War I, Spoiler but he returns, Charlie has suffered wounds from the battlefield and eventually succumbs to them. End of Spoiler With the exit of Charlie comes the entrance of Lottie. Between the two, Charlie was much more likable! Lottie was too rebellious and she was very rude to Louisa. I couldn't really identify with her very much.

The scenery hasn't changed much from Series 1. Most of the scenes still take place inside the Bentinck, though there is an episode where you see a little garden area for the guests to sit in. There are some more outdoor scenes than in the first series. The show, as in Series 1, still looks like it was filmed in the 70s, which is to be expected since it was filmed in the 70s. But overall, the scenery isn't bad.

Mr. Leyton, Louisa's father, visits her at the Bentinck.
This series, since it takes place over 16 years compared to the first season's 9, sees a wider range of costumes. The series starts off with Edwardian fashions, but ends with 20s fashions. Once WWI started, Louisa's usually fancy outfits became plainer and after the war ended, her clothes didn't look as nice as they once did. Her clothes made her look older (though she probably was older, but her face really didn't how it). Lottie did have some nice 20s clothes, but I don't particularly like that she bobbed her hair (but then again it was popular at that time). Personally, I preferred the costumes from the first series.

Overall: 4/5
Still a very good show, but between the two series, I preferred Series 1 (though both series got the same rating here). This series features some topics that were not spoken of as openly in series 1, but the show still maintains a PG rating (at least PG to me). There is a scene in the fifth episode that you may wish to skip, so be careful about that. I was sad that the show ended, but it was probably best that it ended when it did. 

The Duchess of Duke Street: Series 2 is available on DVD on it's own or in the complete collection. Is has sixteen, 1 hour long episodes.

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