Downton Abbey is wrapped up with a bow (perhaps a little too perfectly, but I’m not going to complain about how happy the series finale made me). Obviously we all need SOMETHING British with fancy gowns and drama to watch, yes? Let me assure you that Poldark is that something.
Here’s why it’s worth watching:
1. The costuming. I am convinced that this is the era for me. Sure, there’s no antibiotics and you might die of the Putrid Throat, but THE BALL GOWNS ARE FANTASTIC. Pros and cons.
2. The whole guy-loses-everything-but-climbs-his-way-out premise. The protagonist, Ross Poldark, returns from the American Revolutionary War to find his ladylove engaged to someone else, his father deceased, and the family estate in ruins. He’s a generally noble character while still being complex and interesting. He’s not exactly a “nice” guy. He’s ornery, angsty, makes serious mistakes and moral missteps. He is by no means flawless, but he does have a moral compass and sense of honor. He aims to not only improve his own fortune but also improve the economic troubles of the common man in his community.
Played by Aidan Turner, friends of mine didn’t nickname him “Poldark and handsome” for nothin’. But I cant say his acting is amazing, especially in the first couple of episodes. It took me awhile to forget that he was one of the dwarves in Peter Jackson’s most recent Tolkien atrocity (why make it THREE movies? With made up lady elves from Lost?! Moving on.)
He’s the lead, but I think he’s actually one of the weaker actors in the cast. He’s completely outshone by….
3. DEMELZA! The feisty pauper turned Ross’s kitchen maid is just the BEST. She’s endearing and good-hearted and sassy. What a great character. The stunning actress, Eleanor Tomlinson also played Georgiana Darcy in the recent Death Comes to Pemberley film. But her character is so different that I didn’t recognize her. Really this should be reason #1. Demelza. Demelza is everything.
4. Demelza’s hair. Yes, it really does deserve it’s own spot. I mean look at it.
5. The sudden wedding plot twist! I won’t go into detail to prevent spoilers but I was not expecting this and it was awesome.
6. Verity. Played by Ruby Bentall who was fantastic in Lark Rise to Candleford and The Paradise (can you tell I have a British costume drama problem?), Verity brings some sweetness to balance out lots of intense characters. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with her?
7. The Ross/Demelza romance. Instead of love at first sight, Ross and Demelza fall in love partly because of the friendship that emerges as they partner together in the work of life. “We get on together,” Ross says. While I wouldn’t say they have a perfect relationship by any means, they fell in love by living life together and developing mutual respect. They’re a team, not infatuated teenagers. And it makes for a deep and interesting romance.
8. The cathartic tears that will fall when watching the last episode. The tears WILL fall.
So if you need some post-Downton British costume drama in your life, Poldark is for you. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime (which has a 30 day free trial btw), but Season 2 won’t be available until the fall so just warning you. You will writhe in agony when it’s over and Season 2 isn’t a click away. Or at least I did.
If you want more recommendations of this sort, my podcasting co-host Christy and I did an entire episode on all the obscure British miniseries ever made. (You’re welcome.)
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Yes! My husband and I started watching after I saw you talking about it and we are in love! Now I have started reading the books and they are even better!
I really want to read the books now!
Oh the tears. This 8-month pregnant lady finished episodes 7 &8 while hey husband was in Michigan for a week on business. I cried, sobbed, caught my breath between scenes, and started up all over again when Demelza found out. And in the final scene. It’s tears that just don’t stop!
Also, yes, the writhing. What am I going to watch while postpartum??
The struggle is real!
Same on the Dwarf thing. I kept thinking, “You’re the handsome dwarf. You’re the handsome dwarf.”
And I did NOT recognize Demelza from Death Comes to Pemberly. Wow. She is the best in the show, though, you’re right. She and Verity are wonderful and frankly I think it is so nice to see a show with women being women and doing womenly things but also being strong and really carrying a show.
Ha! She is THE BEST! And yes. They are very womanly, tough, wonderful, brave ladies. Love it.
Ok, I’m sold! So, will my husband like this show? He enjoyed the first few seasons of Downton, but then it got too soapy for him (I think it was when they killed off the second main character that he declared he was done and I ended up watching later seasons on my own while folding laundry). Is this a watch-together kind of show, or a laundry-folding kind of show?
I think so, Rosie! I think it’s more husband-friendly than Downton. I watched the whole thing during a 24 hr stomach bug, so Daniel was watching the kids while I lounged in bed. BUT I really want to watch it with him and I think he’ll like it.
Ginny Kubitz Moyer says
SUCH a great show. I blogged about every single episode last summer… just couldn’t help myself because I wanted to talk about it constantly. I love the social justice streak that Ross has. The relationship between him and Demelza is given much more attention /explanation in the original novel, which I highly recommend (although the show did a darn good job too).
I’m so glad I’m not alone in my love for Poldark! <3
I went so off Downton when it got soap-opery, but I loved this version. I remember watching the earlier BBC version with my stepmum when I was a child & this variant is just as good. Very close to the books, which is one of my yardsticks.
Recommends – BBC series of Pride & Prejudice. BBC Wives & Daughters. BBC Clarissa (note very adult themes but Sean Bean as Lovelace was perfect).
Stepping away from that period and into war & post-war – Land Girls, Call the Midwife, and my current fave, The Bletchly Circle. Very strong women here.
Love P&Pand Wives and Daughters.I haven’t seen Clarissa but I’ll look for it! And I haven’t seen Land Girls. I love Call the Midwife and The Bletchley Circle (even though it gave me nightmares!)
Sweet, just put it on hold at the library since we can’t stream Amazon here. I’m number 100 on 6 copies. 😛 By the time it comes in, I’m going to have no idea what it is LOL!
I loved Downton, and discovered Poldark shortly after it ended. But now, no more Poldark for many, many months, either! While it will air in the fall in Europe, it won’t come to the US until winter.
Alicia Flickinger says
Oh my goodness! just read this post yesterday & I am already on Episode 5!! Oh my!!! It’s AMAZING! !! thanks for the share!!! Love!!!
Like I’ve said before. ..the BOOKS!! ReaD them!
This is a remake from the Poldark of the 70s. It was on Netflix awhile ago, watched the whole series then, if you want to compare… and see what happens. Although I don’t think its streaming on Netflix anymore
I heard it was a remake but I haven’t seen any of the original! I don’t want any spoilers, though so I think I better wait til the new series is over!
Hannah Donohue says
Thanks for your recommendation, I watched it this past week and I don’t think I’ve ever loved a show this much. Maybe Sherlock. But seriously, this show was wonderful and I can’t wait to watch it again with my husband!
I’m so glad!!!!! I can’t wait to watch it with Daniel, too 🙂
Ok, so I just binged-watched all the episodes over the past few days. Oh.My.Golly. I loved it!!! And yes, now I am dying for Season 2. Why do we have to wait so long?! I am so glad you recommended the series! 🙂
I told my mom to start watching this! Her and my dad love it! I started the first episode but haven’t been able to go back to finish. Maybe I will binge watch next week. Love that it is PG so I can watch with the kids around.
Emma H says
I AM IN LOVE. I don’t have netflix, but I have Prime so I decided to give it a try when you recommended Poldark. I just watched episode 4 and oh my heart, it won all the points. Thanks for the recommendation!
You’re welcome, Emma! <3
Thank you for this recommendation. I needed something after The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! #thankyouamazonprime
Amazon Prime is the best!
Coming late to the party to say “thank you for the tip!” My husband and I just started watching it and I love it. Demelza’s hair do deserve an Oscar. You mentioned The Paradise in your post and Netflix keeps telling me I should watch it. It’s good?
Ladies, I have pretty much watched most of the shows you recommend and love them!
I am so very sure that you will love “When Calls the Heart”. It is on Netflix.
Poldark is the best – I dare say, slightly better than Outlander. And that was awesome. He is an addictive character, to watch him develop. To watch their relationship develop… she was also in the White Queen. Both White Queen and Outlander have more explicit scenes, so just to warn you… White Queen is free on Prime.