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Good Tv Drama & British Literary Tradition: Sherlock 2 and Treasure Island

Posted on the 09 January 2012 by Mariagrazia

GOOD TV DRAMA & BRITISH LITERARY TRADITION: SHERLOCK 2 AND TREASURE ISLAND

Collage from Enchanted Serenity of Period Films

It's not a secret I greatly appreciate British TV drama. Their productions are mostly very good, especially those revisiting the literary classics. Well, also modern drama is sometimes brilliant . I loved Spooks very much , for instance,  but I also liked the Moving On series,  The Hour, A Single Father. I started watching British TV or buying DVDs  for my interest in period drama, a genre in which they are masters,   especially when it comes to adaptations of  classics. And this is what they are amazing at : adapting their classics  respecting their literary tradition. Something we totally lack on our TV here in Italy. I've seen so many beautiful series in the last three years: Austen's novels adaptations were brilliant, but also Gaskell and Eliot, Dickens and Thomas Hardy among others. My best favorite quite recent classic series are The Buccaneers, Our Mutual FriendDaniel Deronda, North and South, Wives and Daughter,  MiddlemarchJane Eyre 2006, Bleak House,  Little DorritSense and Sensibility 2008Emma  2009 and the latest Great Expectations. As for original costume drama, not directly based on classic literature, I liked Downton Abbey, Lost in Austen, The Devil's Whore, Upstairs Downstairs. But coming to these days ...The new year has started with two great TV series inspired to extremely popular tales from British literary tradition: Sherlock Holmes and Treasure Island.
GOOD TV DRAMA & BRITISH LITERARY TRADITION: SHERLOCK 2 AND TREASURE ISLAND
New BBC Sherlock series 2  is proposing three of the most widely known among Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes adventures. They are newly revisited adaptations of A Scandal in Belgravia (what an excellent episode, Steve Moffat ! Brilliant, amusing, amazing), The Hound of Baskerville (tense, thrilling, quite disquieting rewriting by Mark Gatiss ), The Reichenbach Fall (The Final Problem is the BBC title for it, not yet broadcast but hugely expected since it is based on the novel in which Sherlock and his nemesis Moriarty found their death). Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman) investigating in contemporary London (or the northern moors) with extremely modern techniques (they even publicize their activity on a famous blog) have obtained a huge enthusiastic response both by the avarage TV viewers and by critics or purists. I think it is because authors and director fundamentally respect the Holmes of  the tradition and in revisiting his adventure they don't disregard what the original author wanted to convey. Their additions add interest and charm to an already interesting, charming character without disfiguring or spoiling him.  I can't wait for episode 3 in this series. Fingers crossed for a series 3!
GOOD TV DRAMA & BRITISH LITERARY TRADITION: SHERLOCK 2 AND TREASURE ISLAND
TREASURE ISLAND was a two - part drama on Sky 1 ( 1 and 2 January) and it was a terrific production with lots of familiar faces and stunning locations. Robert Louis Stevenson adventure novel was brought back to life with a fresh, bold approach which made this classic adventure tale tempting,  appealing both  to a contemporary young audience and to more traditional viewers. I particularly liked the interpretation of this  e tale as also Jim Hawkins's journey from childhood and naivety to maturity and self -awaraness, as his personal formation novel, as well as the addition of a female point of view on the events in the subplot linked to Jim 's mother and Long John Silver's wife coping together with the hardships of poverty and the misuse of power. I've never loved this novel as much as I did while watching it retold in this latest TV drama version. In the stellar cast, Eddie Izzard was Long John Silver, Elija Wood was Benn Gunn, Philip Glenister as Captain Smollet, Donald Sutherland as Captain Flint, Rupert Penry-Jones as Squire Trelawney, Toby Regbo was Jim Hawkins, Daniel Mays was Dr Livesey, Shirley Henderson was Jim's mother, Nina Sosanya as Long Silver's wife, David Harewood as Billy Bones and Keith Allen as Pew. Aren't these names promise enough of good quality drama? I really hope you can watch it, if you still haven't.
(See Treasure Island official site and on imdb)

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