Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Poldark - Series 2 (1977)

Remember when I reviewed Poldark: Series 1? Well, since then, my mom and I have finished Series 2, which is also the final series (I guess that's the point where the author stopped at that point). We were very eager to know what will happen next and we ended up finishing this series quickly as for Series 1.
Series 2 Box Art

Note: This review will contain spoilers from Poldark: Series 1. If you have not seen Poldark: Series 1 and do not wish to spoil it, do not read this review. If you're interested in Series 1, read my review for it.

Ross Poldark, after re-enlisting in the army, has returned from the army after becoming ill to his wife, Demelza, and finds that his Aunt Agatha's home was bought by his rival, George Warleggan, and his new wife Elizabeth, the widow of Ross's cousin Francis. Meanwhile, Demelza's brothers, Sam and Drake Carne, move to the Poldark's home of Nampara to find some work.

There aren't as many recognizable faces in Series 2 of Poldark as in Series 1 (not that there were many easily recognizable faces in Series 1), but there are a couple of familiar faces.

Actor/ActressCharacterAlso Seen In
Robin EllisCaptain Ross PoldarkSense and Sensibility (1971) as Edward Ferrars
Angharad ReesDemelza PoldarkDuchess of Duke Street as Lady Adam (One Episode)
Norma StreaderVerity Poldark BlameyPride and Prejudice (1995) as Lady Lucas
Julie Dawn Cole Rowella ChynowethWilly Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as Veruca Salt

There were also some cast changes and replacements in Series 2. Michael Cadman replaced Richard Morant as Dr. Dwight Enys in Series 2 (funny how Richard Morant became Robespierre in The Scarlet Pimpernel and that Series 2 of Poldark takes place during the French Revolution. Coincidence? ;-) ), and Alan Tilvern replaced Nicholas Selby as Nicholas Warleggan, the father of George Warleggan. Recurring character from Series 1 Verity Blamey (nee Poldark) returned for only one episode and was never seen again; I was disappointed that her character left since I liked her.

Ross and Demelza Poldark
Ross was much better in Series 1 (before Episode 15, of course). During this whole series, he was pretty much a jerk... No, correction: he would sometimes be okay, but then all of a sudden he would start acting like a jerk again. And I was so hoping that he would redeem himself during Series 2, but alas it never happened. He also could have been a lot nicer to Demelza. It seemed like him and Demelza had some sort of argument or were quarreling over one thing or another for almost the entire series. Demelza, on the other hand, still maintained her likability from the previous series. Sure, she did make a couple of mistakes here and there, but she was still likable.  Again, you had to feel sorry for Demelza because Ross tended to treat her unfairly or they were always fighting over something. There were a couple of times, I had to ask my mom, "So, are they okay with each other now?... Oh, I guess so?... Oh wait, they've found something else to fight over." (probably a bit of a hyperbole, but you get my point). It was too much of a roller coaster with them in this series. I like it better in Series 1 when they were working together more.

While the Warleggans were Ross's rivals last series, they weren't really main characters in that we saw them all the time (don't get me wrong, they were in there a lot, but the story wasn't from their point of view). Now the Warleggans have more of a focus on in this series, probably because Elizabeth, who was a main character in Series 1, is now married to George Warleggan. Very quickly I grew tired of George: he proved himself to be very insecure and he mistreated his step-son/godson, Geoffrey Charles (I felt sorry for the poor kid).

Sam and Drake Carne
Like Series 1, there were subplots that were happening as the main story line was happening. Demelza's brothers Sam and Drake Carne arrive and stay with Ross and Demelza for a little while Spoiler before Ross buys and gives Drake a blacksmith End of Spoiler. Drake also falls in love with Morwenna Chynoweth, Elizabeth Warleggan's cousin, and the two grow close to each other despite the apparent disdain on the Warleggan side. Their romance comes to a halt when Morwenna is tricked into marrying Rev. Osbourne Whitworth, a widower who is, to say the least, creepy (this series could have been a lot better if he wasn't in there). There is also a romance between Sam and Emma Tregirls, a girl whose reputation is questionable. Dr. Enys and Caroline Penvenen, who were minor characters last series, are more main characters in this series, but their story isn't much of a main focus. Personally, I liked the subplots from Series 1 better. It could be because there were more episodes in Series 1 and more time to devote to subplots, but either way Series 1 had better subplots.

The story in Series 2 takes place during the French Revolution and a little bit afterwards, so there is some talk about the revolution. There are some scenes that take place in France that involve Ross trying to release Dr. Enys from a French prison (who does he think he is? The Scarlet Pimpernel? Would have been funny if he ran into Sir Percy... Anyways getting off track here.), but most of the scenes take place in Cornwall.

There are a lot less scenes in the mine in this series than the last; there were times where I had to wonder if the mine still there. There was one scene that took place at the mine that proved that, yes, the mine is still there, but other than that it was a bit of an afterthought. And a lot of the business surrounding the mine was also taken out. Scenes also take place back and forth from the Poldarks home to the Warleggans home, so you get to see a good part of each home.

The costumes are much more varied in this series. Towards the end of the series, we see more Regency fashions and less and less Georgian fashions.

The Regency fashions were a welcome and most them them were very nice and I had no reason to suppose them to be inaccurate. There was one of Demelza's dresses, however, that I hated! It was a yellowish(?) dress that had a pattern on it and this really weird ruffle along the neckline. Just didn't like it whatsoever! Other than that, she did look nice, but her hair was better in Series 1.

George and Elizabeth Warleggan. And the award for most
improved looks goes to... Elizabeth!
Elizabeth's appearance was, by far, much improved from Series 1. She looked much better in this series in general than in Series 1. Her hair looked a lot better and didn't look so much like a wig and her clothes flattered her a lot better. She also didn't look quite as spacey as she did in Series 1 (seriously, she didn't look like she was all there before).

My only complaint is that a lot of characters seemed to have their hair down a lot of the time, which isn't something that would have been done at the time. Other than that, the costuming was okay.

Overall: 3/5
Well, Series 1 was definitely better (which is usually the case in period drama TV series). There were a lot of good things in Series 1 that didn't make it over in Series 2 that would have helped it (and I also understand that it probably has to do with the way the original novels were written). What also didn't help was some of the subplots that were either a little bit tiresome or just creepy. I still enjoyed Series 2, but it didn't live up to Series 1.

The content in Series 2 is more mature than Series 1. While Series 1 for the most part stayed within what would today be called TV-PG (though probably by theater ratings between PG and a mild PG-13 rating), a good chunk of this series was TV-14 (probably a more severe PG-13 rating). There are some scenes scattered throughout that are of a mature nature (I recommend skipping nearly every scene with Osbourne in it). There is also some mature dialogue that, while it's not quite as graphic as many of today's TV shows, can make some uncomfortable. There is also some additional language present in Series 2 along with implications.

Poldark Series 2 is available on DVD. It has 13 episodes that are fifty minutes long.

Poldark Overall: 4/5
The series overall was very good and I was never bored with the storyline... weary occasionally, but not necessarily bored. Though I thought that it took bizarre twists towards the end, it was still entertaining to watch and I was a little sad when it ended. I kind of wish there was a third series, but there isn't (there's a Poldark movie that was made in the 90s, but from what I understand it was terrible; I guess they were going to have Robin Ellis and Angharad Rees reprise their roles as Ross and Demelza, but the studio changed their mind and hired a different actor and actress... Fans were not amused and even protested in Georgian garb!). But I would watch this series again. In fact, my mom and I started watching from Series 1 again to see if there are any details we missed (and yes, there were).

1 comment:

  1. If you like Poldark and wish to know more about the making of it, please check out Robin Ellis' memoir, Making Poldark. It was rereleased in 2012 in a greatly expanded form with new photos from Winston Graham's Poldark album and Robin's photos. It available via Amazon (and as an ebook).

    Robin has a blog ( about cooking, food, type 2 diabetes and life in rural France and is also on Facebook.


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