On this week’s episode of Marvelous Geeks, Gissane Sophia returns after an unplanned hiatus (blame technology and app updates) to talk all things ITV/PBS’s Sanditon with the ever so talented artist and fellow historical romance enthusiast Jenna Guidi. We get into some of our favorite parts of the series, promise to return for full episode reviews if there’s a renewal, and talk all things TV series and trust issues.
Before anyone decides to dismiss the article because I’ve chosen to center it around a quote from Frozen II, allow me to start with a little story time. I remember sitting in the darkened theatre in November sobbing after hearing those very words because it was such a simple, yet evocative way to say that failure is giving up. I also remember thinking “wow, I need to write about this eventually.” And naturally time slipped by me then the world kind of, sort of essentially started falling apart. Here we are, seven months later, and I suppose there’s a reason I didn’t write something then.
We’re back with another one of these social distancing articles, darling readers except this time, we’re specifying the word comforting to give you recommendations of some of the sweetest films ever made. I’ll be frank, I’ve left out some of the comfort films I actually turn to because they aren’t exactly “happy.” (Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor Ragnarok, and basically all Marvel films.) This is a list compilation of classics, sweet romance dramas, some sci-fi, and an even an action film. It’s a list of movies I adore deeply and have rewatched multiple times when needing an escape from reality. I hope you’ll find joy in them, too.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“Do you suppose it’s possible for us to belong to someone before we’ve met them? If so, I belong to you or you to me, or me simply to the spirit I found among you in Guernsey. […] And hope that if books do have the power to bring people together, this one may work its magic.”
“Yes, yes I do suppose – and that’s certainly the case with a film as remarkably captivating as this one. If you know anything about me, I hope it’s how much I adore a story of triumph and adventure cobbled with a romance that’s to be treasured for all eternity. I’m a complete sap, that’s a given, but The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is the first period-drama film I’ve ardently adored since Jane Austen adaptations. And that seems oddly fitting because the film’s very own hero/writer is a fan of the beloved Miss Austen, too. Win win. The film takes us on the kind of enamoring adventure of finding oneself through another’s story, and isn’t that how we all find inspiration every now and then? The stories we hear, the people we meet, and the journeys we embark on. The film adaptation of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow’s novel of the same title is an exquisite masterpiece filled with a stunning cast and pleasant twists to the story’s original format. The riveting cinematography, astounding performances, and thought-provoking themes have given us something truly great to hold onto.” I’ve written about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in the past and I’ve even recorded a podcast episode of it, too. That’s how much I adored the film when it first released and I can say that I still adore it just as much if not more today. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve watched the film and every time it ends, I’m filled with the same type of magic that I felt the first time. It is in my Top 10 films of all time and I won’t rest until everyone I know has seen its magic, too.
I bet this isn’t the first of these articles you darling readers will see and it certainly won’t be the last. We’re here to give you some of our current favorites, older favorites, and shows that’ll essentially keep you busy. We all make a list throughout the years, but never get through it right? Well, now’s the time! I’ve broken it down into two simple categories: dramas and comedies and some dark comedies, too. If there are any specific genre recommendations, feel free to reach out to us.
When I wrote the review for the sixth episode, I had said that it was taking everything in me not to dedicate an entire article to the dance alone and here I am, unable to resist the temptation to write further. This is my life, these are my choices. The dance changes everything. It’s the prelude to a beautifully moving connection that heals as quickly as it inspires. The progression of Barrett’s score encompasses the weight of Charlotte and Sidney’s emotions with such momentum it’s enamoring. Disclaimer, I’m no musician, in the same way that medical terminology and I don’t mesh together, describing music properly doesn’t come easy to me. I can only touch on the emotions it evokes in the best way I know how. In simpler terms, it’s one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever heard. The melody starts off slow, as does their dance and the choreography behind it, which showcases what it really means when two people securely come together. Slow and steady then explosive and liberating. The dance touches on emotions words could not properly describe by allowing the music and choreography to exhibit the innermost parts of their souls. Yup, we went there. We’re going to talk about souls.
You’ve seen it everywhere at this point. TV Line has even compiled a list of cancelled TV shows fans want brought back and it was #1. So what is this Sanditon show social media has been fighting for and buzzing about since October? It’s Emmy award winner Andrew Davies’ (BBC Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey) adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel of the same title that brings gorgeous complexity to regency era in a seaside resort with perfectly compelling characters. It’s the compelling story of humanity and how we operate amidst judgements and mistreatment. It’s the love stories between polar opposites that found laughter with each other and kindred spirits who’ve healed each other of all darkness within. It’s colorfully complex characters arguing over money, regattas, and pineapples? It’s the period drama you won’t want to miss because unlike ones that have come before it, it’s deliciously enticing and even in the midst of the quiet serenity, there’s gorgeous storytelling happening. There are a plethora of reasons why Sanditon is a show I’d recommend to anyone, but here are the top 10.
It’s Jane Austen
If there’s one thing you need to know about me it’s that I’m an absolute Jane Austen snob. The first time I ever read Pride and Prejudice, I wept because I knew I had found the author of my dreams and that we’d be on this adventure for life. (I even got to visit her Chawton house in England, and it was one of the most magical adventures in my entire life!) So for me, I’ll watch anything and everything Austen-inspired without question. But dare I say that Sanditon might actually be my favorite? (No one tell Emma.) And yes, I know Austen’s novel is unfinished and the series is essentially Davies’ version of fan fiction, but it’s brilliantly moving and with the proper conclusion, a story I feel Austen would be proud of. Sanditon is an exhibition of Austen’s deliciously enamoring side of storytelling that focuses on the darkest parts of characters and their tremendous growth through it all. Point being, if you love Jane Austen and haven’t already watched Sanditon, what on earth are you waiting for? Here’s a formal invitation to do so, come one, come all. You’re welcomed.
“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
Where do we even begin, darling readers? Welcome to the final Sanditon weekly rundown for the season. This is a tough one. I’ve got my tea ready and I hope you’ve got yours, too because we’ve got a lot to cover. This is a season that focused on sincerity and until its final episode, it delivered. It’s a show that wasn’t meant to end at the very moment it did, so here’s to hoping the viewership at PBS is enough to grant us a second season or even a crowd funded film. Firefly got it, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries got it, Timeless did it. It’s possible. Sanditon is an incredibly special show that turned the Jane Austen universe upside down in a way that worked wonders — regency era had a lot of fire and spark in the midst of the seemingly put together world of high tea and country sides. This is an episode that touches on past episodes so intricately, it’s gut-wrenching. For what it’s worth, we were forewarned about all this, as mentioned in previous episodes, the narrative has been leading to these very moments with the seeds it’s planted throughout. What goes around comes around, we’re always told to be careful what we wish for, but to be human is to make mistakes — to be human is to feel every emotion through and through until our time comes.
“Without a quality of affection, marriage can become a kind of slavery.”
This is a love story. Sanditon is the story of a small, resort town full of colorfully complex nincompoops. (Lady Denham’s words, not mine.) and it’s a story of agency, profoundly broken characters finding solace with one another when they’re given the chance to choose the kind of life they want to carve out. It’s a great adventure that touches on the trials of love reminding us all of how precious it actually is when we find it — romantic or platonic.
Welcome to Sanditon weekly, darlings — this one is going to be a bumpy ride so buckle up and maybe bring back the spiked tea. There’s a great deal to unpack with this episode, for it deals with perhaps some of the most human struggles to date. What does it mean to see ourselves through another’s perspective? Are we defined by the decisions we’ve made in the past or are we defined by the labels that are given to us? Or do we define ourselves with the choices we make every single day? It’s a never-ending struggle because even when you are certain of who you are and you’re proud of who you’ve become, outside opinions cannot always be ignored. Sometimes they should be, other times, they should be taken into consideration. However, I’ve yet to hear of a single human who’s mastered the art of not allowing another’s opinion to get to them, if they have, I’d like to meet them. And as we’ve gathered by now, the people in Sanditon don’t shy away from their opinions.
The season’s penultimate episode is a strong compilation of imperfections and the art of being a confidant. Sometimes, all a person really needs is just one other to believe in them, one person to see them as they truly are, for it is that very belief that inspires us daily. We aren’t meant to be alone — the connections we make throughout our lives intricately shape us into the people we become. The untitled episode — let’s deem it “Love and Friendship”, (An homage to another Austen novel, see what I did there?) leaves us with a lot to ponder on; human connections, and the various perceptions we have of ourselves.
Welcome to Sanditon weekly, darling readers — the tropey-est, most exhilarating episode yet, we’re two away from the season finale and things are getting deliciously captivating. It picks up right where we left off last week with Charlotte on her way to London in hopes of finding Georgiana, except what she finds instead is Sidney on the same mission. And who doesn’t love an unplanned trope filled mission? All that was missing the necessity to share a bed because they were stranded somewhere with no other option, but I get it, I get it. It isn’t very Austen-esque. Lady Denham is now bed ridden and once she reveals that she’s already got her will ready to go, Edward and Clara make it their goal to find it. It’s the episode where we finally meet Lady Susan, a character who’s able to steal the entire show in the less than five minutes of screen time she has. To be that legendary, I wish I could relate.
It’s an episode that solidifies the fact that in spite of the tough exterior, Sidney Parker really is a good man — a sincerely warm being with a great amount of compassion flowing through his veins. At his core, he’s a giving man, as Tom explains in detail, he wasn’t always a conundrum. As we learn towards the end of the episode, Sidney was once engaged to be married, but because she left him for an older, wealthier man, it broke his spirit entirely. And after all the debts he acquired on a self-destructive path following his heartache, he set off to Antigua in hopes of finding something more. But as we learned last week, the man that left for Antigua returned possessed by guilt, regrets, and overpowering heartache. And that very man is the Sidney Parker we know today, the one who’s trying desperately hard, but failing to succeed as a result of the bottled rage that lives inside of him. (Is anyone else crying because I’m already choking up here imagining just how much the heartbreak destroyed him.)