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95 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A flawed pleasure
Returning to such a beloved programme for what is essentially just a Christmas two part special was always going to create problems. Many of the aspects that made the first series so special simply cannot be reproduced in only three hours. In particular the characterisations have been cut short and if you haven't seen the first series then you're not going to have a clue...
Published on 11 Jan. 2010 by Amazon Customer

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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Return to "Cram"ford
I`m sorry to give only three stars but compared to the 2007 production that`s how it is (compared to normal TV it`s still five stars!).
It is just too much stuff stuffed in those two hours. The actors have not enough time to act, the plots have no time to enfold. Take for example Alex Etel who plays the young Harry Gregson. He was very authentic and convincing in the...
Published on 2 Jan. 2010 by Kevin Kline

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95 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A flawed pleasure, 11 Jan. 2010
By 
Amazon Customer "Boo62" (Ilkeston Derbyshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Return to Cranford [DVD] (DVD)
Returning to such a beloved programme for what is essentially just a Christmas two part special was always going to create problems. Many of the aspects that made the first series so special simply cannot be reproduced in only three hours. In particular the characterisations have been cut short and if you haven't seen the first series then you're not going to have a clue who anyone is or whats going on because there's no precis given. The story too, while a good one, simply does not have enough time to breathe and always feels cramped & rushed. The onslaught of technology that rips into the tiny village, a new family whose daughter must fight for the man she loves while contending with her hateful family and a new character who unwittingly divides the venerable ladies of Cranford. Added to these are a few significant deaths that are barely mourned due to time constraints and thus feel rushed and frankly some much loved characters are bustled off the scene with very little care or thought.
The strength that remains is the actors who bring their best once more to their roles. In particular the towns ladies and most of all the excellent Dame Judi Dench continuing to lead from the front as the loveable yet sad miss Matty. All concerned give a great deal of support to their parts and a very believable atmosphere is once again produced. The production values continue to be high and lend weight to every scene including the village itself.
This really would have thrived as a full length series but having all been crammed into such a short space of time has done little to help its cause. Relationships are far too brief and not nearly enough background is given to new characters or departing familiar ones. With this is gone a sense of the leisurely pace of the original and also much of the gentle humour. Pace should at least have injected a sense of urgency and tension but instead this feels like a it is simply running around giving a brief nod to all the characters and places before rushing into an ending that goes for all out drama, loses its nerve, and is simply snuffed out with a whimper.
If you are familiar with and enjoyed the original then the return is well worth a try so long as you accept before you start that it does not have either the depth or richness of the first. If however you are new to Cranford then I would strongly recommend that you start with the first excellent series before trying this out. It may require more of your time but it is well worth it and I am sure you will see what all the fuss was about.
Not an unmitigated disaster but no classic either. This was a rather misguided attempt at squeezing in a couple of episodes where a series would have worked so much better. For fans this was still better than nothing and it was a pleasure to meet the ladies once again.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 21 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Return to Cranford [DVD] (DVD)
I am so glad I hadn't read the reviews here before I ordered this DVD because some of the negative comments may have put me off buying it.

However, I shouldn't have worried - it was just as good as I was expecting it to be.

Wonderful acting, of course, from all the actors and the usual BBC high standards of production.

I just hope there is more to come.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more than a knockoff, but lacks the depth of the original series, 17 May 2011
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
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The first Cranford is a favorite in our home: it has well drawn characters in deep and subtle situations that are fraught with emotion, with historical change, with personal development and hope. It is one of the most beautiful mini-series I have ever seen, yet never gets precious or maudlin. SO it was only a matter of time before we got this one.

On the one hand, there are many strengths to this production. The characters develop, some in very surprising yet believable ways, including tragedies, changes in plans, and love. This is very fun and makes it more than a simple follow-on. The period atmosphere is also elegant and plush, vividly and accurately evoking a period in history - my kids had many questions about it. On the other hand, the story feels rushed. Not only is there too much going on too fast, but the viewer lacks the time to integrate it all. That translates into a kind of overload and a complete lack of the meditative, almost poetic pauses and asides that makes the first production so much fun.

As far as the plot goes, the train remains a controversial issue, with many complications and the need for continuing negotiations with owners and changes of attitude. (This was one reason why train networks spread in the US much more swiftly.) The son of the reigning aristocrat also returns, though after some machinations he is wisked away all too quickly. The wonderful boy who is charged with getting an education in order to create a school for the town also faces a significant crisis. Nonetheless, while most of the principal characters are there, the doctor no longer serves the town. His loss is partially made up with a group of very good new characters, but again, it feels rushed.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Blu Ray, 17 Dec. 2010
By 
Much has been written by other reviewers on the script and overall episodes, so i wont be saying much. Alas it is not like the first set of Cranford's so I drop it by 1 star. But no doubt you will probably want to see it after enjoying the first batch, just dont expect too much from this one. Wait till the price is reduced to your acceptance.

So I will suffice by confirming the Blu Ray is excellent. Its done in 1080i which some may say not much better then DVD but I cant be the judge of that. Subtitles are only in English (for the hard of hearing).

If you have found any of my words helpful to you at all please vote on it. Thanks.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Return to "Cram"ford, 2 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Return to Cranford [DVD] (DVD)
I`m sorry to give only three stars but compared to the 2007 production that`s how it is (compared to normal TV it`s still five stars!).
It is just too much stuff stuffed in those two hours. The actors have not enough time to act, the plots have no time to enfold. Take for example Alex Etel who plays the young Harry Gregson. He was very authentic and convincing in the 2007 part, but now he is strangely wooden - because his part was crammed in and he has no time to act.
While still worthwhile to watch, don`t expect to much.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful followup to the first series., 23 Dec. 2009
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This review is from: Return to Cranford [DVD] (DVD)
I thought this episode was a gem. It is like meeting old friends again after months apart and catching up on all the news. Of course there is the usual mixture of fun, laughter, sadness and tragedy, but what a wonderful couple of hours, wallowing in past times and comparing it very favourably with life today. The pace of life, the community spirit, the sharing of things are something I would love to see in this world today. I did miss certain characters that were in the first series, but life moves on and they move on. I especially missed Mr Carter, as he was such a great character.
It is a film I will see over and over again. Well worth every penny.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delightful still, 30 Nov. 2010
By 
A. Thai (France) - See all my reviews
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Perfect for the Christmas period! It is a pleasure to watch the same actors and actresses, and the additions are worthy ones too. I love it when they sing about being alone, and the camera moves on to those who are alone because of their prejudices. But it is a fairy tale. They all have good hearts, and there is only one character without any redeeming quality. And he gets his punishment! And it is fun to think of William Buxton as the new Loki!
Good pictures, good sound, and English subtitles for the non-native speakers and the hard of hearing (like me, you can both).
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wouldn't encourage my friends to buy this set., 20 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Return to Cranford [DVD] (DVD)
This DVD is two more episodes which continue the original five episode series. If you haven't watched the first series of episodes, or if you are unfamiliar with the Elizabeth Gaskell novel "Cranford", you will have a difficult time if you begin this series here. It is assumed by the film makers that the viewer will be familiar with the characters and location and there is no attempt made to explain who characters are or their background or relationships to one another.

From a purely artistic standpoint I would not hesitate to rate these two episodes as 4 stars. The attention to period details in location, props, costumes and make up are superb. I might add that the acting is also very high quality.

When it comes to the actual plot of the episodes I'm afraid my rating drops to 2 stars. This series has evolved into a type of soap opera done in period costume. All appearances of adhering to the style of characters and situations developed by Elizabeth Gaskell have been abandoned in favor of "modern" danger and drama. The whole charm of the characters of Gaskell's "Cranford" is that they are so understated and yet survive so well within their own small sphere of life. In order to lengthen this series, completely new ideas have been developed and characters have been added or have disappeared completely at the whim of the writing team. I really do think that the "cranford" style could have been kept, but it would have necessitated an entirely different type of program. There are characters who have been made to act completely opposite to how they were originally drawn and some have been modernized to such an extent that I no longer recognize them. I'm sorry about that. I am also exceedingly sorry about what was decided to happen with the train wreck. Surely, surely another idea could have been used for causing that wreck. As long as you are making the whole thing up from whole cloth now anyway, why not make a better choice in that instance?

I've chosen to assign a 3 star rating to these episodes, but I don't think I will encourage my friends to buy this set. The special feature included here: Cranford in Detail, is interesting but still not enough to redeem the set for me.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Viewing Pleasure, 23 Dec. 2009
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Return to Cranford [DVD] (DVD)
At last we have another outing in Cranford, this two parter being inspired by Cranford and two short stories, which is available in book form Return to Cranford: And Other Stories.

The story opens in Cranford in August 1844 and the railway has seemed to come to a halt five miles away from Cranford itself. Some want it to come into Cranford, whilst others are viciously opposed, not wanting to change the town. With the return of the old cronies who seem to rule Cranford, expect some fun and great drama. A parrot is displayed in a dress cage amongst other things, and the ladies decide to have a go themselves on the railway. Could this mean that the railway may come into Cranford? And if so what will the result be? With deaths and new arrivals Cranford is always a hive of activity. And could Mrs Jamieson be right in that she believes the others are not of a high enough social standing to meet Lady Glenmire, or is she just being a snob?

With the return of former resident Mr Buxton, after the death of his wife, Miss Matty orchestrates a meeting between his son and niece with some other young residents of Cranford, also Mary comes to visit and stay with Miss Matty. Expect some fun with the wonderful dog Napoleon as well.

Beautifully acted and scripted, and with a wonderful background (I believe it is filmed in Lacock, Wiltshire), this is once again a fantastic costume drama from the BBC.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing after the original great series., 14 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Return to Cranford [DVD] (DVD)
I found it hard to get into after seeing the first Cranford series (which was brilliant). I also found some main characters that i really liked from the first series just popping in occasionally and a great family and characters just written out of existance or never mentioned which i found annoying. Also new characters were confusing as to who on earth they are and i really could take or leave them as there was a real lack of connection with the audience, again, unlike the first series.
Still, the main ladies were great but nothing really happens to be honest. There were also weak and non convincing storylines in this one. Maybe these 2 episodes were rushed after the success of the original or something changed that made it really lack the meat of the first ones.
All in all i feel left a little deflated as i expected so much more. I suggest watching it if you are very bored but definately don't get it for a what happened next to the first episodes as it just doesn't happen in my opinion!
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