It is a truth universally acknowledged that a fan of good TV in possession of a streaming service must be in want of a new Jane Austen adaptation.
Okay, I had to stretch for that, but love me for me because Sanditon has FINALLY crossed the pond, and I’m feeling a bit extra about it. I’ve been waiting for this day since the moment it was announced; fantasizing about a sassy new Austenian heroine matching wits with an Austenian dreamboat. Not to mention all the snobby scheming aristocrats and the delightfully ridiculous boobs we’d meet.
Oh sweet Goddess of literature, how I love Austen, and let me tell you, as someone who was expecting A LOT from this episode, I do say I am rather satisfied. The premier episode of Sanditon was everything I wanted it to be, plus some unexpected and not unwelcome bare bums!
First things first; THESE CREDITS, AMMIRIGHT?? Give yourself a pat on the well-garmented back, Sanditon, because these opening credits are creative, fun, and visually very cool.
After the show delighted our senses, it immediately introduced us to our intrepid heroine. Charlotte Heywood was out hunting when she witnessed a carriage (of destiny) overturn, so she snapped into action, ordering around her siblings like a total boss.
The carriage held Mary Parker (a lovely lady), and her husband Tom Parker (our first ridiculous boob! Yay!). Tom sprained his ankle, so naturally Charlotte took him back to the ol’ homestead, giving him an opportunity to speak of a geographical location as if it were his tender lover.
Who could pass up on opportunity to meet someone’s girlfriend-town? So off Charlotte went!
Charlotte IMMEDIATELY took notice of the alluring Regency Teen Beat cover framed in the hallway, and honestly, do we blame her? Mary was all, “ohhhh, like what you see? That’s Tom’s brother, and he will be integral to the plot, so take it all in, girl.”
Meet Lady Denham, Sanditon’s resident Mean Old Rich Lady (there is always a mean old rich lady). She’s wonderfully rude and I’m here for it.
Hello Clara, I don’t know what to make of you! What an adventure!
Sir Edward Denham and his sister Esther are relations of Lady Denham, and apparently want her to die so they can have her money. Just a super sweet family dynamic, basically.
They all went for a plesant stroll by the sea, and the topic of “sea bathing” came up (it’s just swimming, you guys), and Edward said the following: “The ocean bearing you up as you give yourself to it fearlessly. Hmmhg. The gentle play of the currents over your naked limbs.”
*shudders* Sir Edward Doucheington’s douche-ness is going to haunt my nightmares. Anyway, then Mean Old Rich Lady was all, “oh, you talkin’ to Edward? Yeah, don’t even, girl, because that boy will marry for money, and you ain’t it!” Hahaha, I love her.
Anyway, none of that matters because then the absolute love of my life appeared on my screen:
A THOUSAND TIMES YES! Meet Arthur Parker, Tom’s youngest brother, and an absolute DELIGHT. Over the course of this episode Arthur Parker became my #1 favourite, and I would die for him. Oh, and we met the Parker sister, Diana. All we know about her thus far is that she has a poor constitution and is rather overprotective of my boy Arthur, which, OF COURSE SHE IS, because he is precious. #ProtectArthurParkerAtAllCost
Um. What? This isn’t the only strangely sexual moment these two shared this episode, and I don’t want to talk about it.
Oh Arthur. You go embrace the sea! You deserve it! Sea bathing seemed like a lot of fun, and honestly, I would try out one of those sea bathing machines just for the quirky novelty of it (as long as we don’t think about the hypocritical misogyny of it too much).
On a walk, Charlotte ran into Esther who bestowed a girl-chat about how every single person is the worst, and how Sanditon is the stinky pits, and everything is terrible and the world should burn.
I’m in love.
Anyway, then THIS HAPPENED:
He was really rather short with her! Mary prattled on about how emotionally unavailable he is and Charlotte was like, “WHY ARE YOU EVEN TELLING ME WHY WOULD I CARE I DON’T CARE I’M NOT WATCHING HIM RIDE AWAY I’M STRETCHING MY NECK BECAUSE I DON’T CARE but like emotionally unavailable how? NEVERMIND I DON’T CARE!”
Deeeeeeeeelightful! 20 seconds on screen together and I’m already aboard this ship.
HahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaWHAT? Did…. did Charlotte just witness Mean Old Rich Lady’s Poor Relation jerking off Sir Doucheasaurus? Hahahahahahahahahaha I love it! They then had to engage in a painfully awkward tea with MORL while Clara played piano, furiously furrowing her brows at the girl who just caught her canoodling in an open wood.
Then it was THE BALL!
Speaking of people who just don’t give a hoot (except that they do), we were then introduced to yet another character:
Ms. Lambe (a mysterious heiress, tee hee hee so wonderfully intriguing) was NOT pumped to be at this ball or in Sanditon, AND she has some connection with Sidney. *happy sigh*
Sir Edward Dickbagington was all, “yo Charlotte, you’re too nice and good and pretty and nice and good to tell people that you saw me with my D out in an open woodland location,” but then Clara was all, “he made me!” There’s so much more to these two characters, and I NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW (no, don’t tell me).
Hmpf. Sidney led our girl into a weird trap where he asked for her thoughts and then got super angry about them. Sure, she was maybe insulting his brothers in a joking manner, but HE ASKED HER TO. *deep breath*. This was not a great look, but he has 7 more episodes to make up for it.
And thus concludes the first episode of what’s sure to become some delicious escapism over the next few weeks. The world needs more Austen, and I have faith that Andrew Davis (the man who helped bring us the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, Little Dorrit, and ITV’s Northanger Abbey) can do this story justice.
I mean, we’re already ticking all the Austenian boxes:
- Rude dreamboat ripe for some humility that can only be bestowed by a sassy ingenue
- The aforementioned sassy ingenue
- Mean Old Rich Lady
- Creepy douche who thinks he’s a stud
- Bored, judgemental sister who thinks she’s better than everyone
- A couple of ridiculous, lovable boobs
- A mysterious heiress, likely to bring misunderstanding
- A fancy ball
It was everything I wanted, plus some very non-Austenian elements that are (so far) not unwelcome.
- The sets! The costumes! The music! The sea! Everything is absolute magic.
- Rose Williams and Theo James are perfectly cast, and I can’t wait to watch their chemistry unfold.
- Did anyone else read the book? It was started by Jane Austen and finished by ‘Another Lady’ (Marie Dobbs). It’s quite different from the romp we are seeing unfold on our screens now, ammiright???
- It is VERY helpful that everyone loves talking about their backstory and personal motivations so much!
- “My brother is a very unexpected man.” YES HE IS AND HE IS MY FAVOURITE. Give him a break, he is very bilious! (I had to look that up, and it just means nauseated, and from now on for the rest of my life, nauseated shall be referred to as bilious). #TeamArthurForever
- It’s impossible to pick a second-favourite because everyone is intriguing and magnificently over-the-top; BUT the stand-out for me (besides my boy Arthur #ArthurParkerForPrez), is Esther Denham played by Charlotte Spencer. What is your DEAL, girl?? Why are you so grumpy, and why am I already in love with you??
- Can I buy that last song from the ball, because MY GOD, it was so damn catchy and fun.
- You guys, there are *whispers* sex things in this Jane Austen adaptation! I don’t even know what to think, but I know I don’t hate it.
- You may have heard that Twitter was all aflutter about the return of Sanditon, calling for a season 2 that was not announced by ITV. Never fear, for season 2 is still possible granted North American ratings are positive. So make sure to watch the show live on Masterpiece on PBS, or subscribe to PBS Passport and you can watch all 8 episodes at once (though if you do that, please no spoilers in the comments, as I’ll be recapping week-to-week).
- Episode 2 also aired last night, but my recap of it won’t be up for a few days because APPARENTLY photo-recapping a Jane Austen adaptation is not a good enough excuse to skip work. *eye roll*
- On a scale of 1 to “get me a time machine and set it to the Regency era pronto”, how pumped are you about Sanditon?
OKAY THANKS BYE BE CAREFUL WHEN RIDING IN A HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE!