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.
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.)
That cricket match alone calls for some spiked tea, darling readers. Welcome to another episode of Sanditon weekly where we’ve sadly made little progress, but the series is continuing to reiterate the importance of transparency in relationships. The significance of being open and honest with our beliefs is essentially the very thing that strengthens us as humans, too. It’s what allows situations to flow smoother as opposed to falling apart as drastically as they do in this episode, but for the sake of angsty television, it works in creating riveting, deliciously fun storytelling along with some heartbreaking arcs.
Humans having an aching desire to always want more — a desire to explore, to give in to their curiosities, and fundamentally, the right to live as they’d please. But along with those desires comes the necessary consideration regarding those around us, the understanding that we must treat people as we’d like to be treated and that in our honesty, we’re crossing bridges with far more nobility than deception. To kick things off let’s touch base with Georgiana and breaking down her character’s desire to see Otis beyond the restrictions against their relationship. Oh to be young and in love, I can’t say I don’t understand it. I also can’t say that I probably would’ve made different decisions – there’s something exciting about forbidden romances, it’s tropey goodness, but in reality, there’s a lot more to consider than our feelings along with the broken hearts we have. And as mentioned last week, choosing to keep Charlotte in the dark is the choice I don’t agree with, it’s where the importance of transparency comes in because if she’s willing to help as best as she can, she deserves to be in the loop with the decisions that are made. That’s why the decision to run off on her own when the decision was that Charlotte would accompany them is something that’s going to backfire in a number of ways. It’s not fair for what it basically leads to is Charlotte harboring guilt for stepping in Tom’s place during the Cricket match.
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.
Welcome back to Sanditon weekly, darlings, I hope you’ve got a cup of tea in hand because episode three is a bumpy, jaw dropping ride full of some exquisite tenderness, and the beginning of compelling sincerity. The third episode takes all that was set up last week and touches on the emotional echos of our decisions, where there’s an absolute lack of gratitude at the beginning of the episode, by the end, most characters are taking steps in the right direction. Sort of. Sanditon’s third episode focuses on transparency and the importance of seeing what’s right in front of us as opposed to consistently looking ahead towards something better. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with looking ahead, persevering or aiming towards a brighter future, the inability to be grateful in the midst of the chase is what often gets people into trouble. It’s also an episode that focuses on patience with a grace that’s to be admired because it’s continuing to take already complex characters and layering (some of) them with the awareness to try a little bit harder.
Sanditon’s third episode dives into the lives of the Denhams in a riveting manner, allowing us to see the fact that Esther and Clara, foils of one another, both serve such an infectious purpose to the series’ thrilling plot. Whoever said period dramas were slow and boring might want to rethink those beliefs after this episode, because the lives of the deliciously crazy is anything but boring. There’s tremendous anger in both Esther and Clara, one more than the other understandably due to the terrors they’ve faced off screen, but the opposite approaches they’ve taken in the face of dealing with the rage is what’s so fascinating about the two of them. Sometimes, anger in a woman is so deeply engulfing, there’s no turning back, other times, it’s cobbled so closely with a sadness that it’s possible to choose the more honorable route. Sanditon is a series that tells us what we need to know without ripping the rug from underneath us, and that’s why when Clara says: “You have no idea what I endured before I came here, and you have no idea what I’m prepared to do to ensure I stay”, we need to believe that she isn’t afraid of crossing the necessary lines to gain sympathy. (I mean for Christ’s sake, the girl gave herself a massive second degree burn!) Burns are painful, as someone who accidentally burns herself frequently at work because I work with a hot machine, I can vouch that it’s no child’s play. We don’t know how much Clara’s endured, I imagine there was a great amount of sexual assault and physical abuse involved that’s tragically forced her pain tolerance to increase, but the emotional trauma was undoubtedly far worse. I have a lot of sympathy towards Clara, no one deserves to go through any of the things we can assume she’s faced, but I’m also not one to condone villainous behavior when she’s standing in front of someone like Esther who’s trying so desperately to come out in a better light despite how little she’s showing it.