I’m always astounded when the movie industry butchers cherished novels. Let’s face it: books are better than their corresponding film and television adaptions. Consequently, it’s extraordinary when a story on screen even compares to an adapted novel in any way. The 1995 miniseries “Pride and Prejudice” defeats these odds with striking similarities to Jane Austen’s romance novel from 1813. Just like the book, the series “Pride and Prejudice” comments on class prejudice during the 19th century, a prejudice which discouraged interclass marriage and ultimately kept young lovers apart. I won’t say which couple in the series I most refer to, but let’s just say there are multiple characters who suffer from this sort of separation.
“Pride and Prejudice” is set in England, specifically at Longbourn, with the name of the Bennet family estate in Hertfordshire. The Bennet’s home is extraordinary because of the family’s five daughters, all of whom are single and ready to mingle (except for Mary, played by Lucy Briers, but she’s the family oddball). The girls’ mother, Mrs. Bennet (Alison Steadman), who is a hysterical woman with a far-fetched personality, demands that they wed rich. The girls also hope to marry advantageously, despite their lower economic status. When Mr. Bingley (Crispin Bonham-Carter) takes residence at the nearby Netherfield, Elizabeth Bennett (Jennifer Ehle) meets a seemingly reserved, proud and seriously attractive man, Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth). The pair don’t really get along. In other words, Elizabeth entirely despises Darcy. Over an amount of time, however, the two become increasingly closer and voila, their feelings begin to blossom.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to the series than Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship. Jane (Susannah Harker), the eldest Bennet daughter, quickly falls in love with Darcy’s closest acquaintance. This isn’t even to mention when the second youngest daughter, Kitty (Polly Maberly), mindlessly marries a con man. You’ll have to watch the series to find out more, but it’s some extremely heated stuff.
To Binge or Not to Binge?
This isn’t to say that I watched the entire series way too quickly, but I definitely watched all six episodes in just a couple of sittings. It’s impossible to leave the series at one episode. In fact, I would find it grueling to merely enjoy one and not all of them. Everyone, especially Jane Austen enthusiasts, should follow my lead and binge watch “Pride and Prejudice.”
For starters, the show features the talented British actor, Colin Firth. I don’t know about you, but he is one of my top celebrity crushes. His acting in other prominent films should be enough to convince you that “Pride and Prejudice” is worth the watch. It’s the chemistry between his character and his costar Jennifer Ehle, though, which really makes this series so great. They both play their roles tremendously well — I find it difficult to find anything wrong with their characterization and performances. As someone who has read Austen’s book, I am extremely pleased with the casting.
“Pride and Prejudice” also bears a romantic aura (probably because it’s based on a romance novel), which is comparable to modern chick flicks. I’m an avid fan of all lovey-dovey stuff, and this series is at the top of the category. If you’re looking to get stomach butterflies and feel utmost warmth in your heart, this is the show for you. However, as the show is set in 19th century England, there are no sexual moments (unless you include a kiss or two). Nevertheless, there is an iconic scene where Elizabeth awkwardly stumbles upon a sopping wet Darcy coming out from a swim. What happens afterward will be left entirely to your imagination, unless you decide to take a stab at this delightful series.
I know it’s hard to get involved in a show which only has six episodes. Luckily, there are three film adaptations which you can turn to immediately after you binge this British miniseries, one of which is a zombified version that you might find intriguing. I suggest you go out and experience Jane Austen’s fantastic world.
Best Episode: Season 1, Episode 3
I rank this episode as the best because of a lively interaction between two of my favorite characters. A certain somebody professes his love to another certain somebody, who is absolutely appalled and rigorously rejects him or her. Words are thrown back and forth, but it’s a monumental moment between characters.
Similar Shows: “Jane Eyre” and “Sense and Sensibility” are two other noteworthy adaptations of British novels. “The Handmaiden’s Tale” and “Downtown Abbey” are also similar to this show.
Trigger Warnings: “Pride and Prejudice” is rated TV-PG, and appropriately lacks any noteworthy triggers.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“Pride and Prejudice”
Available to stream on Hulu
6 episodes, Approximately 5.5 hours