Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lark Rise to Candleford (Part 2 of 2)

Click here to read Part 1.

Season Two (2009) 

Final episode of Season 2
I think I probably like Season 2 better than the first one... or possibly about the same. I'm glad to see the Sir Timothy plot go, and it's nice to have Mrs. Arless gone besides for in the first episode. On the other hand, another character I don't care for makes an appearance and stays the whole time. I'll get to him later. However, this is the season where Minnie shows up. (I talked about her earlier.) So that definitely throws things up a few notches--Season 1 is a poor forlorn thing without her to lighten everything up. :)

I tend to like Dorcas better in this season, I think; as for Laura, my liking for her is always off and on and probably about the same as the first season--perhaps even a little less. Her taste in gentleman friends pretty much annoys me up to this point.

Main Characters from Season Two

James Dowland
Having grown up in Lark Rise as a boy, some of the time under Queenie's care, James left, made his fortune so to speak, and then comes back to Candleford to build a new hotel in his chain. Then he sticks around, of course, and seems to earn a lot of respect from everybody (originally they don't know he came from Lark Rise, ha, ha...) and even runs in a local political election (episode 3). And, as was entirely predictable from the beginning, there is A Thing going between him and Miss Lane. I... do not like him. I didn't like him from the beginning, but he did seem barely tolerable... then once episode 8 rolled around, and some after that, I was like... um. Now I really don't like you. But, I am attempting not to put spoilers in here... so if you've seen the show you probably know what I'm talking about. ;)

Fisher Bloom
This guy waltzes in in episodes 5-7 to build the clock that Mr. Dowland decides to present the town with. He's quite a pompous fellow, proud of living his life without ties, moving from place to place. And then of course he meets Laura, and he makes her all huffy but apparently she likes him and when he finally stops being rude to her they become a temporary couple. Well, she's hoping it won't be temporary. But when he finally leaves... let's just say my heart wasn't broken (although I did feel sorry for Laura, even if I thought she was odd to go for him in the first place).
This isn't everybody's opinion, I know. Some people think Fisher is a total romantic hero... but not I. I think he is an unkept, self-centered and rather arrogant fellow who could be called good-looking and has an interesting accent, but the last two don't make up for the earlier ones.
I was watching Return to Cranford recently, and suddenly realized that the same actor played Edward Bell in that. (The jerk brother of the sort-of heroine, you know. At least, the young lady who has the main romance in the story.) I despise Edward Bell and watching him actually made me think Fisher Bloom isn't so bad after all.

Nan Carter
This girl shows up in episode 9 and gets Alf Arless thinking of somebody else besides Laura (and meanwhile the latter may be just a tad jealous or regretful, or considering being so, anyways). I kind of like her okay at first, but then in the last episode (I think), she sort of changes and then annoys me a great deal, and I'm not sorry to see her have disappeared in Season 3.

I could mention Sydney here, but I think I'll wait for Season 3 since he's only in the last episode.

Favorite Episodes
5 - This one is just quite interesting in general. It's the one where Fisher Bloom shows up (and even though I don't particularly care for him it's still intriguing). Ruby Pratt and Miss Lane have quite a bit of discourse in this one, and in one particular scene where they are sitting on a bench outdoors it always amuses me to compare their very serious conversation with emotional undertones, to Pride and Prejudice (1995) where the same to actresses sit as Harriet Forster and Lydia Bennet, giggling and being generally boisterous and silly. Heehee.
6 - I enjoyed this one because it was very interesting. Miss Lane is sick and Laura and Thomas have to manage the post office all by themselves, and there's a bit of mystery thrown in, and Fisher is still in the plot.
12 - If you watched the end of episode 11, you'll be wanting to see what happens in this one as soon as possible. This is where a new character comes in--a little boy named Sydney, who, for reasons I cannot explain without spoiling things, stays with Miss Lane supposedly temporarily. But I'll talk more about him later.  Anyways--this episode concludes season 2, and ends happily with a wedding, which always pleases me.
I found episode 3 to keep my interest quite well but I don't know if I can call it a favorite.

Least-Favorite Episodes
1 - The series actually starts out with a Christmas special; I got to it right during Christmastime, too, so I was greatly looking forward to it. It turned out a lot different than I thought it would, though. In some parts it was nice and Christmassy, but the other parts of it seemed more suited to Halloween. It felt unusual for Lark Rise and just... weird. Really weird. Creepiness. Up until the end I expected things to be if not rationally explained at least not confirmed as a fact, but... haha. But there is snow and nice Christmas trees, and as my sister pointed out, Miss Lane has a very pretty robe.
4 - Ugggghhhhh. This is without a doubt one of my least-favorite episodes in the entirety of the series. I usually like the episodes that have Margaret Ellison in them, but in this one some things happened that I thought very out of character and I was quite angry. Plus the 'guest' for this episode annoys me to no end. I sometimes get annoyed at modern themes like atheism and evolution getting stuck in this show. And I am quite annoyed at Miss Lane for reading Darwin and thinking herself open-minded in so doing. *rolls eyes* Anyways. This one, for me, was just a lot of ugh-ish-ness, but at least Thomas and Margaret end up engaged at the end.
8 - Enter risque plot to do with James Dowland. Eh-heh. This episode was interesting I suppose, but not in a pleasant sort of way. I'd watch it for the sequence, though, if I was having a Lark Rise-a-thon.
10 - Enter more risque plots, only to do with Pearl Pratt, of all people! Some of it makes me laugh but in general I don't appreciate it and the rest of the story isn't that interesting.

Recognizable actors
Oliver Dimsdale as George Ellison
I've only seen this fellow in one other movie, which was He Knew He Was Right, as Louis Trevelyan, the main character. Didn't like his character. He was Margaret's brother whom she hadn't seen for years because of a disagreement between him and their father. 

Samantha Bond as Celestia Brice Coulson
This is a period drama actress with whom I am well acquainted. I've seen her in Mansfield Park (1983) as Maria Bertram, a Poirot (Agatha Christie) episode, Emma (1996, A&E) as Mrs. Weston, and for anybody who might be interested she's also in Downton Abbey
Celestia is a woman who waltzes in out of, evidently, James Dowland's past... but he gets rid of her as quickly as he can. :P The episode she's in (8) is... cough... not my favorite.

And as I mentioned earlier, Matthew McNulty, who played Fisher Bloom, was in Return to Cranford as Edward Bell.

Season Three (2010)

Season Three is my favorite. I never was quite sure why, but I think I've ascertained that a large part of the reason is probably that Miss Lane does not have any romantic interests in this season. (The men always tend to annoy me.) Also, Mrs. Arless is nonexistent, Minnie becomes even more likable and her plot more interesting, and there is the addition of Sydney, another character I like. Thomas Brown and Margaret are married which is sometimes fun but sometimes irritating, and my favorite beau of Laura's is introduced. ("Favorite" does not necessarily mean I like him very much, just that I like him better than her others. But we'll get to him.) 

Main Characters introduced in Season 3

"It is one of your 'one weaknesses'!"
(Or Sidney, as it was spelled in Season 2's subtitles...)
This is a little boy who is under the care of Miss Lane and lives at the Post Office during seasons 3 and 4. (He actually comes in during the last episode of Season 2, but this is mainly where he starts. Besides, the actor changes after that one episode.) He actually doesn't annoy me, and little boys in television shows often do. :P He's not the rough-and-tumble sort at all. He's more of a smart, nerdy kind of kid but it doesn't have all the plot of feeling left out and people not liking him that generally comes with this, so that's nice. And he's always polite. Rather grave and silent at the beginning... but that's okay with me. 

Daniel Parish 
Ah, Daniel. The journalist who waltzes into Candleford one day (the first episode, in point of fact), tracking down Emma Timmins for a story he's doing.  I never can decide whether I like him or not. I kind of half-like him except that he seems pompous at the beginning, and then I don't like him (because a certain Happening in the first episode), and then gradually I find myself liking him again. At the end of Season 3 (the last couple episodes), I do like him. Suddenly I feel like, hey, what he's saying sounds like me. Plus... I find him rather handsome sometimes. Haha. Not that I am the swoony sort, as you probably hopefully know. :D
But anyways, sometimes he annoys me. In Season 4 he's annoying in a couple episodes... so yes, my opinion of him varies a great deal. But as I said, he's definitely my favorite of Laura's suitors (the most suited to her, indubitably) and I find their romance interesting. Some people think she should have ended up with Fisher... but I'm always like, no way. Nope. Daniel is better. Duh. I mean, he gives up a big, important journalism position and instead starts a newspaper in Candleford on his own, which would be more work and obviously a lot less money and future. Fisher, on the other hand, was like, eh, well, I was going to marry you, but I don't want to be tied down to you so I'm gonna skip town. Bye-bye. 
Anyways. Moving on.

Favorite episodes
Well, it's rather more hard to divide these for this season because I like a larger portion of the episodes more than I do in some of the other seasons. Plots I found particularly interesting were 1, 11, and 12... I also enjoyed 2 and 5. And I pretty much liked any of them for the most part, besides...

Not-so-favorite episodes
2 - Well, part of this one is okay, and important to the story (to do with Daniel). But the other part is not okay. Queenie's superstitious nonsense is always weird, but really this one gets too witchcraft-y and I don't approve. Also, the plot is just a dud in general and once again makes Thomas look like an idiot and combining good opinions with rather odd ones... ugh.
4 - This one is interesting but a bit heavy to be one I like to re-watch much.
6 - This one is fine too, but it can get a bit annoying. 

Recognizable actors

As in Season 2, I just recognized a couple...
Hattie Morahan as Enid Farliegh
As soon as this character showed up, I said "It's ELINOR!" Hattie Morahan played Elinor Dashwood in the 2008 Sense and Sensibility, and I'd never seen the actress on anything else so it was rather exciting. ;) Her plot did surprise me a bit, but I don't want to spoil it so I'll keep mum. ;) Anyways, she's a seamstress who ends up helping Miss Pearl with a big project while Ruby is gone. Hmm, I never did talk about that part of Miss Ruby's story... oh well.
Anyways, this was episode 8.

Rosie Cavaliero as Mrs. Mullins
This actress played Mrs. Plornish in Little Dorrit. It's funny to see the Plornishes both on the show, but at different times. ;)  Mrs. Mullins is one of the characters in LRTC who randomly pops up and she's supposed to have always been around, we've just never seen her before, and we never see her again. (She's in episode 10.) 

Season Four (2011)

Season 4 is probably my second favorite... well, no, I'm not exactly sure. I'm kind of neutral about it. There are no episodes I particularly love, or that I particularly hate. The main problem with Season 4 is that it is only half as long as it should be--with 6 episodes. Then they just... stop. I mean, the ending doesn't exactly leave you hanging but it could easily continue further, and it seems like they're trying to tie it up fast. And why? I guess they stopped half-way through just so they could concentrate on Downton Abbey. (Nonono. Stick with Lark Rise, peeps.) I would have liked to see Laura's wedding, or at least have her engaged. (I like proposal scenes. Sniff.) But no. 

Main characters from Season 4

Gabriel Cochrane 
This is the only new main character in this season.  Swamped in debt, his business is taken away and in the depths of affliction (he recently lost his adored wife, who as it turns out... well, plot spoilers there) he lands in Candleford and works as the new blacksmith for Miss Lane. (It would seem the forge was not in operation during seasons 2 and 3, haha. There was another blacksmith in Season 1. Are we just supposed to assume he was still there? I can't remember if it was explained in Sesaon 4 or not...) And of course, he's the romantic interest for Miss Lane in this season--and the one she ends with. In this series it seems like her beaux always end up leaving town (which Gabriel was about to do, haha) so who knows what would have happened if the series had continued. :P
I don't really like him all that much... but he was better than James Dowland. ;) 
I call him Allan Woodcourt just about as often as Gabriel or Mr. Cochrane, because that was the character he (Richard Harrington) played in Bleak House.

And then Sydney and Daniel Parish are still here. 

Episode Preferences
Like I said, with this season I pretty much like all the episodes the same. Except for 3; I don't care for that one. It's... odd. (And it has creepy Mr. Guppy person. Er, that is, he played Mr. Guppy in Bleak House. In this he is a clergyman. Of a sort.) And I get a little bit tired of 5 if I see it too often. My favorite is probably 6, because it's the last episode of the series and though it shouldn't have ended, the ending is sweet and the episode is interesting. (I especially like the part where Minnie gets engaged. Awwww. Oh that's right! There is a proposal scene. How nice.) 

Recognizable Actors

Well, in this season it's just one, besides for the main characters--Burn Gorman, who as I said, played Mr. Guppy in Bleak House. And he's even creepier on this one. *shudders* (The character's name is Reverend Marley, by the way.) Haha, I remember I was watching most of this season when it was playing on TV, and when I saw the "coming next" at the end I said out loud to myself "Oh noooo! It's Mistuh Guppyyyyyy!" (Yes. I am a nutcase. Thank you for noticing.)

Other Stuff


Kind of hit and miss. There are some I really like, and others are just all right. (Plus, of course, since everybody in Lark Rise is rather poor, their clothes are never very interesting.) Laura and Margaret Ellison/Brown probably wear some of my favorite outfits. I quite adore this one pictured-- it might have been from the batch Dorcas gave Laura when she first came to Candleford, that she said she wore when she was younger.

Ha, this is also rather hit and miss. The main theme is... well, catchy. But I can't say I really like it (though I don't dislike it either). Some of the music on here is very fun, especially when some random person on the show is playing it... as for the background themes, they vary. There are some that particularly annoy me after a while when they come up (especially in seasons 1 and 2, I think) and others that I always like. My favorite episode for music is season 3, episode 11, I think it is. It's the sort of sentimental-sounding fiddle music theme for one of the characters I guess--but I can't say who because if you haven't seen the whole thing you shouldn't know yet that that person will be there. ;)

Content Advisory
In a nutshell, I wouldn't recommend this show to Younger Folks. While most of the time it's discreet, it does deal with a lot of subjects that are... awkward, and designed for adult viewers. And sometimes it is a little more suggestive than even I like; but I am very picky about such things. There are some episodes, of course, that would be appropriate for younger viewers, but a lot that wouldn't, in my opinion. So I would just advise exploring it before letting your children or younger siblings watch it with you if you are a picky person too. :) I believe the show would be rated PG.

Conclusion (haha)
So, would I recommend this period drama? Is it worth it?
Yes, I do think so, if you want to get into a whole series. I didn't think so before I actually watched the whole thing, but now I am converted. The only things I would warn against are above.

Anyways, I really enjoyed it and will continue to in the future. :)

Soooo what about you? :D

Many, many thanks to Miss Laurie for use of her LRTC screencap stash! They did work as great motivation. :)


Miss Elizabeth Bennet said...

Yay! Part 2!

I grew to like James Dowland (I didn't like him the first couple of episodes he was in), but then once episode 8 hit, I didn't think so well of him. What really irked me about him was that he tried to cover it all up (which is one of the reasons I disliked Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre).

Don't even get me started on Fisher. It's his fault that I started to dislike Laura (I think her character shifted after she met him to something I didn't like).

I think I felt the same way about Nan. She was okay and then she became kind of a jerk in the last episode. I wasn't heartbroken that she wasn't in Series 3 either (though I would have like her absence explained).

Ooh! I remember when my mom, my sister, and I were watching the Christmas special, and my mom asked "Is this the Christmas episode or the Halloween episode?" and my sister said, "It's the Thanksgiving special in the middle!" But yeah, it was kind of a odd combination of Christmas and Halloween (unless they were trying to go for a Christmas ghost story that was popular in the Victorian era?). "The wind do blow!" ;-)

Gotta love Sydney! He's so lovably nerdy! :-D

Never could really like Daniel after what he did in Episode 1. I know he got a little better, but I just couldn't like him...

Ooh! I didn't recognize Mrs. Plournish! I've got to remember these things!

I don't think they stopped to focus on Downton (Downton is on ITV while Lark Rise was on BBC), but I think Brendan Coyle's departure can be attributed to Downton. I think I heard that one of the directors or producers left and no one else wanted to continue the series. I think...

Wow, I didn't notice Mr. Guppy either...

Really enjoyed your review! Great job! :-)

Kara said...

I'm amazed once again at all your details! :)

Firstly, I confess that I love Daniel (this may be helped by how handsome the actor is! ;) I do think he and Laura are wonderful together. I just never could get a liking to Fisher myself, but I know so many other people do. I just agree to disagree with them.

Yes! As soon as I saw Hattie, I immediately thought of Elinor also! Her character is certainly unique in her episode. It was so hard for me to like her here because everytime I saw her, I thought of Elinor; her character here is NOTHING like Elinor was. So it was a bit jarring.

I also agree that season 4 was way too abrupt of an ending. I know they had to do it that way because of reasons, but they left several threads untied. Yet the final episode was very cute and overall I enjoyed every minute of it.

I absolutely love this series and think it will be quite some time before I ever tire of it. :)

Jessica said...

Once again, a very enjoyable post. ;-)
I actually like both Fisher and Daniel better than you do. But Daniel is the much better choice. Fisher can be rather obnoxious, but I put up with him most of the time. ha I was not sorry to see him replaced.

I hated that Mr. Guppy person! Calls himself a minister, does he? I think not.

Oh, and I did not care for Gabriel in season 4. I'm not sure why, but he just irritates me. ha

Just a few random thoughts. ;-)

Miss Dashwood said...

I proberly should not be reading this post, as it will in all likelihood spoil things but eh, why not. I must have my share in the conversation, after all.

Such a cute picture from the wedding! Yay!

Ergh, I REALLY don't like James Dowland. Well, except in the episode where he was trying to get to know Sydney. I did feel bad for him there. And I applauded his desire to be close to his son. But then he got too pushy and I was like nyih, I don't like you no more.

I do not think Fisher is at all a total romantic hero BUT I did like him far more than you did. :D He is a bit arrogant, yes, but I really did like him and I think he made the right choice in leaving, hard as it might have been. AND I DID NOT KNOW HE WAS EDWARD BELL. OH MY GOODNESS. I FEEL LIKE SUCH AN IDIOT, NOT RECOGNIZING ALL THESE PEOPLE.

Good grief, I KNEW Edward Bell was on the show at some point, tootuz you'd mentioned him, but I had no idea he was Fisher. Wowzers. He's much better-looking as Fisher than as Edward, heeheeheehee. Much, much, much. Edward's ugly and Fisher is.... erm.... NOT.


Ha, I kinda liked the fact that Nan made Laura a wee bit jealous. Laura deserved it. :D But yeah, she annoyed me after a time. You want a bad boy, do you? PLEASE MEET MY FRIEND WILLOUGHBY.

Urgh, the Christmas episode was horrid. But still funny. The wind do blowwwwwwwwwwww. :P

I HATED Miss Ellison's character change in episode four. ARGH. But I did like the engagement.

AHA! Oliver Dimsdale IS George Ellison! How fun! I was thinking he might be the dude from HKHWR, but I didn't know the character's name and couldn't remember the actor and was too lazy to look him up. :P He's the prototype for Mortimer Pendleton in OAN, though. :D

Ha, Samantha Bond seemed a familiar face to me, so I looked her up, and lo and behold she was Maria. I love recognizing peeps. :D

Sydney's so CUUUUUUUUUTE. I've only seen one episode with him, of course, but I can't wait to see more. I like nerdy little kids. Proberly because I was one. :P

Hmmm, Daniel in that picture looks kind of like a guy I know in real life. Heh. I shall have to wait and see if I like him or not... I shall not allow myself to be influenced by you, though. (oh, no, actually, Miss Woodhouse, I DO want to be influenced! :P)

"Eh, well, I was going to marry you, but I don't want to be tied down to you so I'm gonna skip town. Bye-bye." BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I laughed for like five minutes at that. :D

HA! Hattie Morahan looks so ODD in that outfit! So much older than Elinor, too. Hmm. Fun that she's a seamstress though. :D And now I'm curious about what happened to Ruby...

I find it hilarious that Mrs. Plornish's actress' name sounds Italian. :P

Awww, Minnie looks so CUTE in the promo picture for Season 4. Love her hat!

I'm looking forward to seeing Mr. Woodcourt. :D


Reverend Marley? As in Jacob Marley? Heehehee. I shall look forward to seeing Mr. Guppy in this. :D

Oooh, I like that dress of Laura's in the picture.

And now I want to go start season three but I don't have time before bed so I'll just go email you. :D

Melody said...

Miss Elizabeth Bennet,
Enjoyed your comment!
Yes... it was annoying how James Dowland tried to cover it all up, as you say. Although I think he's worse than Mr. Rochester... Mr. Rochester was, at least, ashamed of his past and although he hid it for the same selfish reasons that Mr. Dowland did (that is, because the lady he wants to win would pitch him forthwith) it seemed... different.
Yeah, I was wondering the same thing about perhaps it was a Victorian-era Christmas ghost story. But that isn't my cup of tea. :P Haha, the Thanksgiving special in the middle amused me. :D
Well, I still think it was somehow tied in with Downton Abbey, albeit indirectly. They thought perhaps that it was gaining popularity and Lark Rise would lose popularity... not with me though. :P
Glad you enjoyed the review!

Thank you! :)
Ah, good, someone else who likes Daniel and doesn't like Fisher. Haha. :)
I knowwww, Hattie's character wasn't a bit like Elinor Dashwood! But it was fun to see her play a different part. Definitely prefer Elinor. ;)
Thanks for your comment!

Thanks! :)
You know, I think I've determined that I dislike Fisher in general mostly because 1) the episode I've seen him in the most is the one where he shows up, and that's when he's the most obnoxious and 2) when I started getting into the series it was with Season 3, and... well, you know. :P I would probably like Daniel less if I'd mostly seen the episodes I don't like him in. Haha.
I didn't really care for Gabriel either... he was the least annoying of Dorcas's beaux but... I don't know. He needed a new hairdo. And he didn't smile enough. Haha!
Enjoyed your "random thoughts". :)

Well, m'dear, I tried to write the post without spoiling things. And I STILL can't believe you blamed me for giving away two major plot details when I did not do either one. *makes a teasing Martian face*
Eh... I didn't like James Dowland in that episode either. It was good that he was trying to get to know Sidney (haha), yes, but he was being really annoying about it. And rawthuh selfish, too. And just generally irritating in the episode. Especially when he's riding through Lark Rise and talks to Robert. I don't know but in that scene I just felt like pushing him over, hahaha.
Of course Fisher made the right choice in leaving. He just should have made it SOONER. Listen to Miss Lane, lad. She knows about what she talketh. :P Ha, yeah, I told you he was Edward Bell before you even knew who Fisher wassss...
I never find Fisher particularly handsome...but then I've seen him with The Hair. *cough* Plus I just tend to prefer the guys in suits. BAHAHAHA.
We have to remember to quote "the wind do blow" WWFT. ;)
Oh yes, Mortimer. I'd forgotten about that.
Hahaha, I always like nerdy little kids too... unless they are the annoying sort... but I don't think I was one. I was actually kind of a nerdy-little-kid-wannabe. HAHAHA. :P
Soooo now that you've seen Daniel does he still look like the guy you know in real life? I wanna know, Anne!
I'm glad the bit about skipping town amused you so. :D
Hahaha, pretty sure I was thinking the same thing about how Mrs. Plornish's name was Italian... ;D
Well, you will HAVE to wait for the proposal scene because it doesn't come for a long time. :P
Looking forward to doing 5 with you. :) I think I'll watch a little of the in-between episodes too, just to catch up...

Lara said...

Hey Melody -

I am a BIG fan of LRTC - I have 3 seasons in Blu ray - and I am waiting for the 4th season to come out in blu ray - thanks for the you tube link to the series too - however I can't find the 4th series on you tube -



Melody said...

Glad to find another fan! The 4th season is there, it's just a little more hidden. :) Here's the playlist link:
Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I loved The Wind Do Blow episode! I think it was the most evocative, beautifully filmed piece I've ever seen, WMD my husband agrees. The colours were so lovely. Sure it was a tad creepy, but the atmospheric feeling more than made up for it. We're watching on BBC iPlayer so trying not to read spoilers. Just up to where Fisher leaves. Adore Dorcas; how wise, coquettish and kind she is.

Miss Jane Bennet said...

HAHAHA. I am getting more and more intrigued by this show, you know. Especially since Daniel apparently gives up some Big And Prominent Position. I like it when heroes do that.
Anywayyyys, great review! I muchly enjoyed reading it. ;)

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