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July 13th, 2011


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09:50 am - The Night Watch
Another excellent BBC2 drama last night - a 1 1/2 hour compression of The Night Watch by Sarah Waters. It's a great book, and the TV show massively simplifies it of course. Unlike Case Histories, I found my memory of the book enhanced the scenes instead of diminishing them. However, I wish the BBC would dedicate more time to develop dramas like this in a more complex way. The acting was very fine, and the sets were slightly stylised and arty rather than realistic, which I think was a good way to make the budget work. I dreamed about the show afterward, which I always think is a good sign. I recommend the book more than the TV show, but both are good.

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Comments:


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From:altariel
Date:July 13th, 2011 09:36 am (UTC)
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Yes, I thought it was a very stylish and very well performed canter through the book. I would happily have watched a three-part adaptation.

A happy coincidence to be watching just after Little Gidding, what with its dead patrols, uncertain hours, and ending where it begun.
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From:communicator
Date:July 13th, 2011 01:02 pm (UTC)
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I think it could easily have stretched to three
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From:katlinel
Date:July 13th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
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Thank heavens for iPlayer as I totally failed to register that this was on. Well, that's tonight's viewing while S is out sorted.
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From:communicator
Date:July 14th, 2011 05:24 am (UTC)
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I hope you liked it. It missed out a lot, like 75% of the story.
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From:katlinel
Date:July 14th, 2011 08:18 am (UTC)
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Yes, I did enjoy it. The atmosphere felt right, I enjoyed the fact that they kept the reverse timeline, and the cast seemed just right, particularly Anna Maxwell-Martin as Kay, with her great mix of strength and fragility. There was also a beautiful shot early on of lights in windows shining out in London in scattered blocks, as they hadn't been able to during the war, that was almost impressionistic in its effect. It's been a couple of years or so since I read the book so the details are hazy, but I think that what was told of the story was told well.

I wish they'd consider some longer drama series though when adapting books. I haven't seen the adaptation of South Riding yet, but I think that deserved more than than three episodes since the power of that book is in the multiple interwoven stories. I think the complaints about that adaptation were that it reduced the book to its love story component solely. But the full complexity of South Riding easily lends itself to a 13 part drama, for example. And I think Night Watch could readily have sustained, say, six episodes.


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