Note: Unlike most multi-part period dramas, this review doesn't contain spoilers from the previous section. But I encourage you to read the first review.
The Pallisers continues with episodes 7 through 14 recounting the events in the next two books in the Pallisers series, Phineas Finn and The Eustace Diamonds. Phineas Finn is an up and coming politician from Ireland that gains popularity quickly, though at times he can be a little naive about his fellow politicians. Later in the episodes, Lizzie Eustace, a recent widow, was given her husband's diamonds as he laid dying, but there is a question as to whether the diamonds actually belong to the estate and whether Lizzie has the right to keep them. Lizzie is determined to keep her diamonds by scheming those around her... until it all goes wrong.
Susan Hampshire (also seen in The Barchester Chronicles) continues to be present in these episodes as Lady Glencora Palliser. A couple of new additions to the cast can be seen in other period dramas, however, and the viewer has a chance to see more familiar faces.
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Susan Hampshire||Lady Glencora Palliser||The Barchester Chronicles as Signora Neroni|
|Anna Massey||Lady Laura Standish/Lady Laura Kennedy||He Knew He Was Right as Aunt Stanbury|
|Mel Martin||Violet Effingham||Poldark (1996) as Demelza Poldark|
|Derek Jacobi||Lord Fawn||The King's Speech as the Archbishop of Canterbury|
While the Palliser family is still involved in each of the episodes in this part of the series, they aren't the central characters like they were in the first six episodes. Instead, most of the episodes focus on Phineas Finn's political career (only in the last four does Lizzie Eustace come in).
|Phineas Finn visiting Lady Laura|
|Phineas Finn talking with Lady Laura (in green) and|
Violet Effingham (in gold).
|Lizzie Eustace reenacting her book outside.|
|Madam Max (in black) with Lady Glencora Palliser (in mauve).|
I wasn't as impressed with the scenery in these episodes. There were some scenes that I know must not have been sets but were actually on location, but -- I don't know -- the scenery didn't impressed me as much as the first six episodes. Quite a few scenes take place in the parliament house (which is pretty dark, by the way) in Phineas Finn's story. There are also some grand estates that are in these episodes. Lady Laura's home after she married Robert Kennedy is very nice and big. And Lizzie Eustace stays in some nice places.
The costumes are still great! If I remember correctly, the men's costuming still had some plaid in them (which still did not look right, but plaid was popular back then so I guess it's okay). The ladies costumes change from the crinoline dresses of the 1850s/1860s to more of a bustle dress by the end of these episodes. Glencora is still probably the best dressed lady in the entire show, but Lizzie Eustace does have some nice dresses too. Dresses do become more and more decorated as the episodes progress and with so much lace!
I didn't care for this set of episodes as much as the previous set. A lot of it was pretty heavy on the law, which I found myself getting easily bored with. Outside of the law, the plot wasn't bad, though I think I would have preferred more of the Pallisers in the plot since I wasn't very fond of the Phineas Finn story line. The Lizzie Eustace story was interesting, though, and kept me interested in what was going to happen to the diamonds.
Again, there isn't much content to speak of. There might be a couple of suggestive dialogue/scenes (some possibly worth a skip, others not worth it), but these episodes are pretty much TV-PG (maybe slightly some more content than the previous set of episodes, but not by much).
The Pallisers is available on DVD. There are 26 episodes in and and each episode runs at about 50 minutes.