Save Sanditon: The Inimitable Fandom’s Remarkable Campaign to Renew the Beloved Jane Austen Adaptation

Copyright: Raed Shakman/SS2

Believe us when we say we’ve been around these neck of the woods for a long time now, actively paying close attention to all types of fandoms and how the world of social media operates around media. Marvelous Geeks is going on a decade in the world of TV and film reviews thus, it’s safe to say we’ve seen a lot. We’ve seen cancellations and renewals. We’ve seen campaigns run high and low to save beloved shows. We’ve seen successes and failures. But without exaggeration, we’ve never seen a fandom fight as hard as the Sanditon Sisterhood.

It’s been an honor and an absolute joy to watch the Twitter campaigns blossom into recognition from Amazon Prime executives. An absolute joy to watch their petitions rise to impeccable numbers. And today, an astonishment to see them reach artists that could spread their campaign even further.

The Sanditon campaign reached World-Renowned Artist, Simon Beck and he has created a special #SaveSanditon sand art on the famous Brean Beach in the UK with the help of three volunteers of the Sanditon Sisterhood.  Brean Beach was used countless times as filming location for the series, and the funds to commission the artist was raised by the fans in just a few hours. WHAT!? This is exactly what we mean when we say we haven’t seen anything like this. Fans of NBC’s Timeless know what it’s like to rise to such heights in ensuring the series gets Comic Con recognition. So we’re looking to you, Amazon. There’s a lot you might regret but saving Sanditon, and gifting this incredibly resilient fandom with a second season won’t be one of them.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Watch Sanditon

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Source: PBS

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.

  1. 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.

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Sanditon 1×08 Review

Spoilers Ahead

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Source: PBS.com

“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.

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Sanditon 1×07 Review

Spoilers Ahead

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Source: PBS.com

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.

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Sanditon 1×06 Review

Spoilers Ahead

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Source: PBS.com

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.)

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Sanditon 1×04 Review

Spoilers Ahead

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Source: PBS

Welcome to Sanditon weekly, darling readers – what flavor of tea are we drinking today? (I’ve got the perfect lavender/blueberry mix.) The series’ untitled fourth episode is a dim ride with little progression, but perhaps, one of the most important arcs throughout the season. It’s an episode that focuses heavily on some chief flaws we all have as human beings – the choice to form judgements based on assumptions and frequently disregarding a universal truth, which is that there are always multiple sides to a story. It’s almost frustrating how many assumptions are thrown around in this episode, but it’s integral in this universe because Sanditon is one of Jane Austen’s more inclusively adapted pieces, it’s aware, there’s goodness stained with malice, and it’s centered around deeply complex human beings, thus demanding an episode like this. 

First, let’s get into Lady Denham calling Clara out for being dramatic about her hand. “You’ve had more than your measure of sympathy.” You tell her — finally. It’s bizarre how hilarious this episode actually is amidst the serious ground it covers, but the balance makes the heavier pills easier to swallow. Lady Denham also calling Esther out for not marrying Lord Babington is ultimately all of us, let’s be real. In due time … in due time. But now, part of the episode’s darkness comes from Clara proving our previous beliefs to be true by admitting that she was sexually assaulted by an uncle on numerous occasions. And the choice to actually say this to Esther upon learning about her relationship with Edward is fascinating because for a moment, she’s looking after her. There’s a genuine sincerity in the way Lily Sacofsky carries Clara when she says that Esther can be free of him. It’s honest and open despite her endgame still being the inheritance. It’s hard to believe that a woman who has known great pain wouldn’t look after another if they’d admitted to defeat, and while there’s still great darkness in  Clara, something tells me that if Esther hadn’t loved Edward, the ladies teaming up could have been good for both of them. Edward is the villain in all this for a number of reasons, his selfishness and manipulative nature at the top of the list.

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Sanditon 1×02 Review

Spoilers Ahead

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Source: PBS.com

Sanditon’s second episode gives viewers plenty to sit with, good and bad — a jam packed hour full of some riveting moments that touch on the theme of class and judgement bitterly. It’s an episode full of some of the most cringeworthy statements along with some of the most relatable ones, but most exquisitely, it’s a testament to friendship, and Austen’s way of writing steadfast female friendships. If I were in charge of titling the episode, I’d call it “Paddling in the Sea”, for it’s best to describe the first steps into an astounding friendship and the exposure of Sidney Parker’s being, physically today and emotionally tomorrow. It’s an episode that does a remarkable job of shifting plates and allowing viewers to start seeing more sincerity in the characters. Thus finally, it’s an episode that spends a lot of its time discussing the panoramas of marriage and what it truly means to choose a partner.

To kick things off, these are the times I’m glad we no longer live in regency era because goodness every word out of Lady Denham’s mouth during the luncheon had me cringing so hard. (And I love period dramas immensely, but they’re just … so … white … and entitled.) But this is the very episode that lets us see into the hearts of those who matter most because Charlotte, Sidney, and Arthur all coming to Georgiana’s defense is the very showcase of how good natured their spirits are. Sidney’s especially which officially gives viewers a glimpse into his character’s true nature. He didn’t want to be Georgiana’s guardian, but let’s be real, not many would be in the right headspace to be anyone’s guardian during their mid-twenties. And while he grumbles about it, he doesn’t miss the opportunities to remind her of her value, something women in regency era, especially black women, aren’t reminded of as often as they should be. “You know you’re worth far more than Lady Denham and all her circle put together.” Sidney Parker might waste away his days at bars and boarding houses with smoke and self-deprecation clouding him, but at his core, he’s a man who’s fully aware of the strong women he’s surrounded by. It’s also a fantastic showcase of the fact that Charlotte was right in throwing him under the bus about being too cruel despite stating that he doesn’t care. “Think too badly of you? I don’t think of you at all Miss Heywood. I have no interest in your approval or disapproval. Quite simply, I don’t care what you think or how you feel. I’m sorry if that disappoints you, but there it is.” And oh how badly this’ll bite him later on.

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Sanditon 1×01 Review

Spoilers Ahead

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Source: PBS.com

Welcome to the Sanditon weekly, darlings — grab a cup of tea and join our analytical discussion into the beautiful chaos inspired by Jane Austen’s unfinished novel of the same title. (These articles won’t cover the entire episode, viewers have already seen it, no one needs a retelling from another, instead, these reviews will break down the episode’s theme and character arcs and of course, there will be heaps of odes to romance.)

Sanditon’s first episode isn’t the strongest Pilot per say, but the sufficient glimpse we get into the lives of the auspiciously polite and the deliciously outrageous is a great start. It’s a pilot that promises ambitious choices, exhilarating surprises, and a much tastefully racier side to classic literature. It’s bold, it’s funny, and it’s downright beautiful in every way. But most importantly, it’s the opening to get to know our remarkable heroine in an episode full of some jaw dropping moments, gorgeous scenic shots, “abrupt and inattentive” love interests. Austen’s story’s often have common themes sprinkled throughout, and in the case of this untitled episode, let’s deem it “the one with all the telling”. In the first episode, we’re told a lot about the townspeople, and while normally I’d be opposed, in this case it works in foreshadowing a lot of what we’ll see in the upcoming season. The seeds planted in the beginning come to pass seamlessly in the finale and that’s the kind of writing I’m here to commend. When it comes to Sanditon, some will regret their stay while others will love every minute of it. It’s evident from the very beginning that there’s a long and winding road to the clifftops where magic will arise, and it gives viewers the chance to recognize that there’s going to be a lot of twists and turns before a happy ending is reached.

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