By Tara Chace
What would you get if you combined the BBC, six
Victorian novels, and a cheesy Super70s soap opera? Well, this! The
Pallisers is as lavish in its aristocratic intrigues (political
scandal and opportunity, lecherous dukes, palatial country houses, a world
where everyone knows their place) as it is in its soap opera aesthetic
(characters' tumultuous struggles for power, money, love). This
made-for-television production is a strange blend of exquisite costuming,
remarkable sets, and surprisingly good acting on the one hand and
video-quality production and an utterly melodramatic script on the other.
Definitely pleasurable viewing for all who enjoy watching the period
passion, pomp, and politics of upper-class Victorians.
Set 1 contains the first 8 episodes of the BBC's 26-episode
serialization of Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels (1865-1880),
introducing Plantagenet Palliser and Lady Glencora, whose politically
expedient marriage sets the stage for the rest of the Palliser dynasty's
saga. The DVD's special features include a 36-page viewer's guide, an
interview with Susan Hampshire (Lady Glencora), and information on Anthony
Trollope, his fiction, and the Trollope Society.
Set 2 contains episodes 9 through 17 of the BBC's 26-episode
serialization of Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels (1865-1880), following
Plantagenet Palliser and Lady Glencora's rise to an even higher social
echelon and the challenges that their growing family must face. These
episodes emphasize two family intimates--the ambitious and attractive
Phineas Finn, who divides his energies between politics and romance, and
Lizzie Eustace, the comely young widow with diamond troubles. The splendid
cast includes Derek Jacobi as the lovelorn Lord Fawn and Penelope Keith as
his overbearing sibling. The DVD's special features include a new
interview with Susan Hampshire (Lady Glencora) and cast filmographies.
In the last nine episodes, the principled but headstrong Phineas Finn
faces murder charges, the ruthlessly ambitious Ferdinand Lopez wrecks
havoc in Parliament and parlors and the next generation of Pallisers comes
of age in a rapidly changing world. But the enduring marriage of
Plantagenet Palliser (Phillip Latham) and Lady Glencora (Emmy Award-winner
Susan Hampshire) - tested yet again by public and private crises -
touchingly proves its mettle. Also starring Jeremy Irons (Damage), Anthony
Andrews (Brideshead Revisited) and Kate Nichols (Nicholas Nickleby).