Sometimes we discover something we then grow to love by mere accident. Often you know that you will like something and then it quickly becomes part of your „favourites“. But sometimes you just give something a shot, even if you think it’s not for you, but then it turns out it is not only not bad, but actually tremendously enjoyable. This happened to me with the new Poldark series on the BBC. I saw a preview on the BBC iPlayer and since it had Aidan Turner in it, who was also in The Hobbit, I thought I might have a look at the first episode.
It had me hooked right away. The sets, the setting, the costumes, the actors, the story, the writing, the music – it all blends so well together. The series is set in the 18th century and centres around Captain Ross Poldark, who has just returned home to Cornwall from the war front in America. He finds that home is gone, though, as his father has died, left him his debts to deal with and his sweetheart Elizabeth is engaged to be married to his cousin. It’s not looking good for Ross, but he decides to stay and build up a new home.
The genre is somewhere in between period soap opera (of the best kind), romance and family drama. In general that is nothing I would watch, but Poldark is different. The talent that has gone into making this series is so incredibly refreshing. For me this is a perfect example of an adaptation done right. It works in its own medium without fail. Poldark is based on Winston Graham’s series of novels of the same name and the 70s already saw a TV adaptation of the same material. I haven’t heard of either of them before, but the series still captivated me and I just couldn’t wait for the next episode to come out.
The visuals are a great part of the series’ appeal, but next to the superb writing by Debbie Horsfield the actors bring the dialogue to life in such a vivid manner, which makes for a very compelling viewing experience. Aidan Turner as Ross, the passionate, idealistic hero of the common people, manages to fill the screen with his boundless energy. Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza just feels so very real as character and it’s so easy to identify with her self-doubts, wishes and fears. Their relationship is such a pleasure to watch, as it looks so very genuine. All the other actors have been chosen brilliantly and the character dynamics come across so well.
Today we are treated to the final episode of series one. There will be more of Poldark in the future and I am absolutely looking forward to it. So even if you think period romances are not the genre for you, forget about the genre and just watch Poldark. You will soon find yourself in Ross’ world and will want to know what is going to happen next, because you never really know. Thank you to everyone involved for this well-crafted, lovingly created series – I’m sure it will be popular for a very long time and become a classic in time like its predecessor from the 70s.