14 thoughts on “Dickensian: For Hardcore Dick Fans

  1. I am sick to death of mashup programs. From Once Upon a Time to Penny Dreadful, it was an idea once, and now its just theme and variations. I am a huge Dickens fan and a literary purist, so I don’t think I’d be interested in Dickensian. For heaven’s sake, show creators! How about actually creating something?

    And I’d put Miss Havisham’s ruined wedding farther back. Remember, she’s already a deserted, ruined, middle-age bride when Pip first meets her as a child of no more than 10. I’d say she was more likely ditched at the tail of the 18th century.

    At any rate, I’d prefer not having my Dickens messed with.

    1. Mashups really are the thing these days, no? I suppose if producers can hit on your specific genre *and* do it right, it’s great fun – I count Penny Dreadful as a win in the Victorian gothic horror mashup for me. But not every one of them is successful, that’s for sure. Dickensian has gotten very mixed reviews in the British press, but it wasn’t panned, prob. because the high production values & decent actors.

      1. I suggest you watch a few more episodes before you dismiss the Great Expectations storyline as ‘predictable’! I absolutely love this series.

        (Btw, the jilting would have been 1790s/early 1800s by the timeline of the novel.)

  2. I’m kind of intrigued but worried it would be too much to keep track of. I was surprised at Miss Havisham’s wedding dress. My first thought was “Empress Sisi!” (Elisabeth’s portrait was done in 1865).

  3. I enjoyed watching it as it aired, but it lacked… something. I felt at times there was too much modern thinking and morality interfering with the narrative. Dickens, as a man of the time, understood the morals and social games of the time in a way the modern adaption did not.

    1. The part I watched certainly lacked depth — I thought it might be because there were too many characters / storylines crammed in together. But if it simply continued on the same way through the whole 20 eps, ugh. What’s the point? Dickens is all about the characters, that’s his work’s one redeeming value. They’re so richly drawn. I didn’t get that from Dickensian, despite solid actors.

      1. The writer did well with a large cast of characters and in giving them back stories and such, but you’re right, there wasn’t real depth there.

  4. I would agree with everything that has been said above about this series. I love Dickens’ writing but this series does not do his work justice at all. Tony Jordan who wrote it is supposed to love Dickens but I felt he really did not grasp the characters or depth of Dickens works at all. As Charity observed there was too much modern thinking in evidence and no feel at all for the historical setting. Upper middle class women did not work behind shop counters. (I am reasonably certain because I have researched this matter for my own writing.) Mrs Cratchit might well have made pies to sell as a lot of working class women worked to help support families but I doubt very much she would have served behind the bar of a pub.
    The actions of the characters neither fitted the original character or the period. I watched with teeth grinding through much of it. There were some nice moments however and Stephen Rea’s Inspector Bucket was superb. He carried the show. I also rather liked the young Jaggers and I would have adapted the Artful Dodger myself if I could have but as for the rest, well , Bah Humbug seems appropriate.
    The superfluous Fanny Biggitywitch character really sums it up. An invention of Tony Jordon’s not Dickens who serves no function at all and appeared to stepped in from the set of East Enders borrowing a discarded costume on the way.

    1. Yep, there were little bits that were forced for the sake of the plot, but wouldn’t make sense in Dickens’ world or period. Kind of a waste of decent actors & fine costumes / sets!

  5. I always thought Bleak House was set around the 1830s — I remember they didn’t have railways yet, everyone traveled by coach only. And I agree with other posters about messing with Dickens. I get really tired of people borrowing dead authors’ creations. I really don’t want someone else’s interpretation of Miss Havisham’s back story or the doomed romance between that broke Lady Dedlock’s heart.

    If this were on TV in the states, I might watch it, but I doubt I’ll look very hard for it.

  6. As a “Christmas Carol” fan I took at look at episode 1 online. Scrooge felt all wrong (too vocal and nasty. We fans tend to rate Alister Sims as the best Scrooge and he’s a chillingly cool and calm sort, not snappish).,And I was immediately confused by the fact that Tiny Tim was at the table. There is 7 years between when Marley dies and we get the events of “A Christmas Carol.” There are six Cratchit kids (Martha, Peter, Belinda, a younger boy & girl and Tim). Martha at the start of CC is working at the milliners. If she’s 16 in CC (she’s an “apprentice” so she actually should be even that old), then she ought to be nine in this show. Peter younger than that (say six), and Belinda younger than that (say four). The youngest boy/girl Crotchets ought to be toddlers and TT an infant. Underfed and crippled might account for TT being very small for his age, but he still has to be a child seven years after Marley’s death, not a teenager.

    This bothered me a lot, and as I was feeling there was, as said, something lifeless about the whole thing, I gave up on it. The costumes were nicely done, but they didn’t grab my attention either. Nothing, really, grabbed my attention with the exception of Fagan. I thought that actor and his rendition of Fagan very intriguing and would have loved to have seen an ‘Oliver twist” with him playing the role..

    But the rest of the characters and how they were portrayed/acted left me shrugging my shoulders. It all seemed rather dull. Too bad. Or maybe not. I’m really not sure that Dickens characters should be mashed up like that. Maybe because each book contains such a huge ensemble of fascinating characters already. Ones that fit their stories, go together, and carry the plot along. Try to mix-and-match and they cancel each other out, losing their luster like a bunch of gem stones in hand rather than in the right settings.

  7. Just re-watched this and was reminded of the things I liked about it, but the costuming issue I want to raise, is that Miss Havisham’s wedding ensemble, complete with flowers in her hair, is clearly trying to recreate the famous portrait of Sissi wearing her diamond stars.

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