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1.15.2013

A Post: BBC's Bleak House (2005)



Alrighty. This may seem pathetic, but it's my life, so whatever. This past weekend I had the wonderful experience of having the entire place to myself (meaning J was out of town). And as much as we all love our loving partners, we also love when they go away and leave us to frolic amongst the sofas and bedsheets. Or I do, anyway. So after finishing a book, baking some bread, and doing some laundry, I decided that I needed a Netflix account, and quick. I managed to find plenty of shows to add to my queue, but felt like a little Charles Dickens was exactly what I needed in my life at that moment.

Without hesitation, I turned it on, watched two episodes and considered whether I could handle the incredibly slow pacing until the very end. I realized, however, that I had no freaking clue what was going on or who all these million of characters where in relation to whom. SO. I had to finish. I had to know what this stupid trial was all about that had random people just showing up and developing relationships. I had to know why Gillian Anderson was praised so much when it appeared that she only knew how to make one face every episode!?!? I had to know who all these characters were and what would happen and so two days were devoted to Bleak House and not much else.

I'll admit that I haven't read Bleak House because I swore Dickens off in college. I know, the horror! But I just didn't enjoy reading his work and felt that there were too many books for me to force myself to slog through another. However, after watching the series, and reading reviews, this is supposed to be his best work, and now I'm thinking I may or may not give it a chance at some point.

The series is great! Great cast (aside from Gillian Anderson's one face albeit really pretty one) and some creepy characters that I didn't want to have to see ever again. The picture was beautiful and mostly realistic for the period. It seems like it did the book justice; although, I can't say for sure since I haven't read the book.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone that's read the book or watched the series. If not, perhaps see if it's up your alley.. still streaming on Netflix!

24 comments:

  1. Netflix is so great. I have to admit that I haven't really gotten into the period pieces yet (not even Downton Abbey...yet), but this sounds interesting.

    Gosh, now I'm feeling bad about not reading Bleak House yet! Although I do have A Tale of Two Cities on my shelf...

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    1. Lindsey, I don't necessarily love period pieces but I enjoyed Downton Abbey and the recent remake of Upstairs, Downstairs (so glamourous).

      Bleak House was very complex so it was nice to see it on a screen as opposed to reading it. I have a love but mostly hate relationship with Dickens so I thought that was the best route to take.

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  2. I got the DVD boxset of this for Christmas and if it is that good perhaps I'll devote my weekend alone this weekend to watching it too. You can't go wrong with watching a bit of Dickens sometimes!

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    1. Ellie,
      Let me know what you think when you do!

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  3. Hmm, maybe I'll have to give it a shot. I'm always looking for more stuff on Netflix to watch. I'll probably have to watch this without the husband though - I'm not sure that it's his thing.

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    1. Jennifer,
      I really enjoyed it even though it is pretty slow going. Let me know what you think if you do!

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  4. I really love this mini-series, and I'm glad to hear it's on Netflix! I'll have to re-watch it soon. And I read Bleak House last spring and didn't really love it. It just drags on for so longgggg. I just remember feeling like all I wanted was for Dickens to just get to the point already. Haha! But I'm still glad I read it - if that makes sense? Anyway, I'll be excited to hear your thoughts if you end up reading it.

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    1. I can so see it dragging on and on. I think I liked it as much as I did because I knew I wouldn't be able to follow along as easily. In the beginning of the series I was pretty lost despite seeing characters again and again. So everything you said makes complete sense!

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  5. Oooh I do love me some Netflix and I haven't watched this yet. Hmmmm... :)

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    1. Jennifer, It's enjoyable if you can handle the slow pacing and the whole bit about it being a work of Dickens. HA! Let me know if you do!

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  6. I loved this series but I am a big fan of BBC period dramas. They also did Emma (2009) and Great Expectations (2011) which I would recommend too.

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    1. Jessica, Yeah, I want to find more! I'll have to check those out! Thanks for the recs.

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  7. Ooooh I've never seen this before! (Nor have I read Bleak House, although I haven't sworn off Dickens so perhaps I'll give it a shot...).

    A co-worker of mine recently recommended Upstairs, Downstairs (which from the comments above, you seem to have already watched) and Call the Midwife as other period pieces for those of us between episodes of Downton. I haven't watched either (yet) as I am still catching up on Season 2 of Sherlock.

    Basically, BBC shows. All the time.

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    1. Kerry,
      Yeah, I'd be interested to see what you think if you read it or watch it. I really liked the 2005 BBC version.

      Upstairs, Downstairs is my favorite. So glamorous and so full of drama! It's like Downton on steriods. I was so sad when I found out it was only going to be run for 2 seasons. Let me know if you do end up watching it! I'd love to discuss with someone.

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  8. I really enjoyed this one too! I actually watched it after reading Bleak House last year and it helped me get a better grasp of all the crazy characters. I'm so with you on having a weekend alone too. The Huz does not share my love of BBC dramas.

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    1. I could totally see it helping to provide clarity. After watching I was thinking about how difficult it would to keep up with all the characters. Let me know if you enjoy it!

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  9. I tried but failed at reading Bleak House because it was so long and so complex that it did not fit the moment, but I can't wait to give it a try soon. I haven't watched this adaptation either, but I certainly will as soon as I read the book.

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    1. Yes, I can't imagine actually finishing Bleak House; although, I'm more interested now than I was prior to watching it. I hate that these characters (the one from the show) would be in my head while reading.

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  10. My mom gave me the DVDs of this last year but I confess I've never made time to watch it... too busy with Downton Abbey and the new version of Emma and such. But now I'm interested! Bleak House is about the one Dickens I have read (for a college class), and while the book is super long and crazy to get through with all those characters, I did end up liking it.

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    1. Anne,
      I imagine I would end up enjoying it but I fear the length. I've recently realized have an aversion to longer novels. I need to get over it. Let me know if you watch it! I need to watch Emma now too!

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  11. Hello Beth - I think Bleak House has to be one of my favourite of Dickens - the utter pointlessness of the pursuit and the myriad cast of characters are entirely absorbing. I did see the series but can't really remember it - may look it up again and see - sitting at home enjoying the snow today - SUPPOSED - to be marking but too tempting not to indulge in some costume drama under a blanket on the sofa when it's so cold outside. Judy.

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    1. Judy,
      Yes, the work really shows how talented he was and how he could really build a very complex cast of characters to make the story flow. Although, like Tolstoy, the character count sometimes makes things really confusing, it ultimately pays off in the end. Let me know if you do re-watch it!

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  12. I'm so with you, love a weekend on my own once in a while! Thanks for recommending Bleak House, I'm seriously addicted to Netflix but it can be quite difficult to figure out what to watch as not everything is of good quality, really. Will check with out :-)

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    1. Isn't it the best?! Of course I miss him too but hey conflicting feelings aren't so terrible. You get a whole cast of em with this title. Let me know if you do!

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