It was only a few of days ago that the BBC got their act together and announced that Poldark Season 2 would return September, on Sunday nights in direct competition with ITV’s penciled in start date for Victoria. At the time, I noted that we would not have this issue over here, as both Victoria and Poldark were picked up to air over here by PBS’ Masterpiece Theater.
Victoria is already penciled in for an early January 2017 start date on most PBS stations, inhabiting the same slot that Downton Abbey did prior to it. (This makes sense, since it’s also functioning as the heir to Downton over on ITV, which inhabited their Sunday night fall slot.) Poldark, on the other hand, had been PBS’s summer show, with about the same lag time between ending in the UK and starting in the US. But with Poldark now pushed back from Spring to Fall in order to compete with ITV, would PBS hold the airing until winter as well, and run the two back to back?
Turns out, the answer is no. Instead, Poldark will begin airing in the US as soon as PBS could slot it in–Sunday, September 25th, starting with a two-hour premiere at 8pm. Since that “two hour premiere” is actually the first two episodes of the season edited to run back to back, that means that Poldark episodes will wind up airing only one week behind the UK in the US. And with the probability high that PBS will do the final episode as a “two hour finale” where the last two episodes are edited to run back to back as well, chances are the show will end on the same week.
There is a very large, very shirtless Aidan Turner shaped hole in my life currently. Poldark Season 2 wrapped filming in time to air on the BBC this past spring as Season 1 did a year ago. Why exactly the BBC decided to hold it until fall was a mystery at the time. But as the start date for filming Season 3 grows closer every day, the lack of Season 2 having even aired yet became more pronounced.
Now, finally, we have confirmation when Poldark will return to the BBC: Sunday, September 4th, 2016 at 9pm….. directly opposite where ITV has penciled in their Downton Abbey replacement Victoria.
That sound you heard was my Sunday night recapping schedules crashing headlong into each other. And I thought Game of Thrones followed by Mad Men was bad. Someone call Hermione Granger and get me a time turner.
With filming underway in Cornwall and a British public salivating at the idea of more Aidan Turner in various states of dress on cliff sides. BBC One has released the synopsis for the coming seasons, which is air over there in early spring of 2016, and here in the US in June.
First up, what year is it? For Poldark Season 2, we will rejoin their clan in 1790. According to everyone: “there is riot and revolution in the air.”
“Ross Poldark must once again fight for his freedom when George Warleggan tries desperately to steal his mine and have him hanged as a revolutionary. Can Demelza save Ross from himself?
You know, Warleggan is an ass, but I cannot actually picture him doing anything desperately. It might ruin his hair.
With ten episodes this coming season. bumped up from eight, filming begins in earnest today. Poldark fans have been spotting set up around the areas that stand in for the Wheal Leisure and Chavenage, with stands in for the great house of Trenwith. Check out a couple of images below from today’s filming.
Unlike Downton Abbey, where the men’s fashions are semi-afterthoughts to the fabulous looks of the women, Poldark is far more equal opportunity. Partly it’s the time period in which the show is set. The Georgian Era was still a time of male peacocking, with buckled shoes, and powdered wigs and brightly colored silks. The Federalist era is when much of this began to come to an end, as rebellions and revolutions brought with it a new sense of income equality, and the protestant movements began dictating severe looks for both men and women.
But Ross Poldark, despite his own egalitarian leanings, is still part of the upper classes. And when we meet him, he is sporting the trend of day: the tricorne hat.
What’s more fun that snarking on Poldark? The outfits! Much like PBS’ major hit, Downton Abbey, Poldark is to be enjoyed not just for the historical melodrama, but for the rich attention to detail, especially when it comes to what’s being served on the top of the head. This being the time period sometimes called the Federalist Era (or the mid Georgian period), hats were not always de rigueur. Hair ribbons are just as important a fashion statement.
The more recognizable hat of the era is the tricorne. We’ll have plenty of those tomorrow in the Men’s Group. Here we only have one lady who is so fashion forward as to go around wearing one.
Public Television has been hoping Poldark–which has been a runaway hit in the UK–will do the same here. Though the first season hasn’t been transcendent in the ratings, at the TCAs this weekend, the heads noted that Poldark‘s ratings have been better than hoped for, and that, due to the enormous number of books in the series, “it could run for years.” The problem for PBS though, is that it wants Poldark to be event TV like Downton Abbey. But where the popularity of Downton over there and over here sort of grew in tandem, so that ITV started making super sized début episodes and Christmas specials which PBS could then translate into event TV type openers and closers, Poldark is, so far, merely a standard BBC production, with no supersized openers or closers. PBS has already had to cut about 7 minutes out of each episode in order to make room for their own version of commercials, so cutting down the final two episodes and smushing them together to cobble together a two-hour special doesn’t seem that out of bounds.
Captain MacNeil: “Have a care for the law. Tis a cranky and twisty old thing. And you may flout it half a dozen times. But let it once come to grips with you, and you find it harder to be lose from than a great black squid.”
The putting together of the two episodes worked better than I expected. We have the fall of Demelza in her husband’s eyes, and before we can have a week off to feel terribly for her and worry that she might have really ruined her marriage, she’s already on her way to Trenwith House to selflessly nurse Francis, Elizabeth and the rapidly growing Geoffrey Charles back to health, after the useless Dr. Choake leaves them to drop dead. The collapse of the Carnemore Copper Company moves faster than it might have done if it was done as two episodes. Most importantly both one episodes plots, Keren and Verity, felt like they had more heft.
The Keren-Mark-Enys love triangle, in particular, was a storyline that I felt didn’t work as well when I watched the BBC episodes separately. I was never a fan of this plot as it was. The need to make Keren the bad woman, while playing Dwight Enys as a willing but moral chump to Mark’s dumb but loving chump felt like it came from an old school misogynistic bias and grated terribly. Of course, she died. Then it was up to Enys and Mark to realize they are both good enough people not to kill each other over it. Let’s move on.