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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent TV Series
I must admit when i saw the trailer for this tv series i was not that impressed and now i admit that my first impressions were entirely missleading. This production is fantastic especially since it has such a fantastic cast. Rufus Sewell and Donald Sutherland act really well in it making it pleasurable to view. The storyline was really intriguing thus making me finish the...
Published on 3 Jan 2012 by Matt Taylor

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118 of 133 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What a drama!
This series is based on the 1,000 plus page epic of the same name by Ken Follett. As such there's a lot to cram into each episode. In brief for the lovers of the book, everything feels like it moves along a little too fast and for people new to the story then pay attention because you are in for a full speed tour of Medieval England.

The story is set mainly...
Published on 27 Oct 2010 by J. Duducu


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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent TV Series, 3 Jan 2012
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I must admit when i saw the trailer for this tv series i was not that impressed and now i admit that my first impressions were entirely missleading. This production is fantastic especially since it has such a fantastic cast. Rufus Sewell and Donald Sutherland act really well in it making it pleasurable to view. The storyline was really intriguing thus making me finish the whole tv series in a night because *SPOILER* i just wanted to find out what the whole saga about the ring really meant.
I thought that the scenery was also really nice with all the numerous forests and castles. The fighting scenes were really well done but perhaps maybe a bit to bloody but hey, everyone needs different aspects to watch in a film.
What i liked about the tv series was it didn't just focus on the lives of the middle aged people but also went through the lives the young people during those times.
I highly reconmend this TV series t history fanatics because they can learn new facts especially about King Stephen who isn't really portrayed in the media. I must watch show which will forever remain amongst my beloved historical tv shows like Rome, The Tudors, The Borgias and Camelot.
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145 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant TV, 21 Nov 2010
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Sometimes tv production companies excel themselves when making something, and this is a case in point. It is some years since I last read Ken Follett's novel, but I can still remember most of it. The idea in making this was to try to create something that was inspired by the book, but not necessarily a strict word for word adaptation. Lets face it there will always be differences between book and screen versions and it is a brave person who takes on the task of adapting something that has been enjoyed by many people.

Ken Follett himself I believed praised John Pielmeier for his screenplay, which is magnificent. To a lot of people this story has been so good because the production shows more than the novel did what life was like back in the period it was set, and what a major part politics and favour played, as well as the power of the Catholic Church throughout our history. Indeed any historical programme cannot leave out the machinations of church authorites in these most troubulous periods of our history.

With a fine cast of characters and sex and violence this is what a lot of people enjoy, and in this household it has been must see tv. Although as I have said, there is sex and violence here, this isn't done gratuiously, and where it appears is relevant to the storyline. Who knows, perhaps it may interest some people to want to know more about the times it portrays, which is very interesting. I know when I read the book it made me find out more about architecture and how churches were built, and builders learnt from each others mistakes.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A (Love)joy to behold!, 22 Nov 2010
By 
tallpete33 (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I loved this series, it was certainly not without it faults but it had enough intrigue, spectacle, mad monks, swordplay and er...building to keep me amused for more than a few hours. Opening on a burning ship in the English Channel, King Henry's son shares his lifeboat with the wrong passengers and a quick trip to Davy Jones' locker ensues. The miscreants' deadly deeds were witnessed however and will later come back to haunt them....

Back on dry land, the evil but opportunistic Bishop Waleran (Ian McShane) cunningly aligns himself with the new King Stephen and Lord William in a bid to further his political ambitions at the expense of the incumbent Earl of Shiring (Donald Sutherland). At the same time, an equally ambitious builder called Tom (Rufus Sewell) arrives at Kingsbridge and persuades the new Prior Philip (Matthew MacFadyen) to let him build his cathedral and the foundations are laid for an epic story and holy construction (did you see what I did there?).

It's a great 12th century romp - bricklayer porn with Machiavellian deeds, bloody skirmishes and power struggles that kept the plot bubbling along nicely. McShane owned the screen every time he appeared, hogging the best lines and playing it just the right side of panto villain although older viewers may be upset to see Lovejoy uttering the "c" word in episode one (!). Unfortunately some of the other male leads are a bit lacking (with the exception of Rufus Sewell's Tom Builder) but a special mention must go to Sarah Parish, the scheming mother of Prince William who appeared to take motherly love a bit too far on occassions and also Natalia Wörner as the foxy witch who caused a splash at the priory ;o)

Like The Tudors? You'll love this.
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118 of 133 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What a drama!, 27 Oct 2010
By 
J. Duducu (Ruislip) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This series is based on the 1,000 plus page epic of the same name by Ken Follett. As such there's a lot to cram into each episode. In brief for the lovers of the book, everything feels like it moves along a little too fast and for people new to the story then pay attention because you are in for a full speed tour of Medieval England.

The story is set mainly around the reign of King Stephen. It was a time of civil war as he usurped the throne from King Henry's daughter which led to more than a decade of sieges, ravaging the land and pitched battles. It's a great backdrop seldom used to set a drama. However rather than set the central characters around the court of the King (a story telling conceit used countless times) instead the main story is about the building of a new cathedral and all the politics and drama that kind of massive undertaking touches on. It's a great idea and was all set to be something a bit special.

One of the weird things is the fact that at times it is obviously really paying attention to historical accuracy, at others it couldn't be lazier if it tried - why does Henry 1st dies 3 years after he actually did? Why are breastplates and concentric castles being used well before their invention? My point here isn't it should be a history lecture (that would be dull) more the rather jarring effect of moving from something that feels authentic to something that feels like a pantomime. There are times where the fiction works really well- the white ship disaster was seen by contemporaries as an unfortunate accident, here it's a conspiracy- that's a nice idea.

The biggest problem here is the adaptation. The hero of the tale- Tom Builder played by Rufus Sewell is a great role and you warm to him instantly, he really breaths life into the character. Likewise Matthew Macfadyen plays a priest who wants only to be spiritual man but is sucked ever inwards into the seedy dealings of mortal men. Ian McShane by contrast (who I normally love) plays a scheming bishop who might as well come on to a "boo hiss" sound track. Tony Curran- who is also a great actor- is forced to make King Stephen a hysterical maniac which really is of 6th form drama class subtlety. Overall though most of the cast bring the characters from the book to life with what good bits of script they've got. However most of the scenes are pretty over wrought. You get the feeling the script discussions involved people saying "we need more drama! The scene doesn't work unless someone is crying at the end, or someone has died, or there's a twist!" All of this happens in dramas (and mostly in the book), but scene after scene of it gets to be a bit ridiculous.

It's all enjoyable hokum but it could have been so much more. I was hoping for something of the quality of a Deadwood or Elizabeth, instead it's more camp than Rome. Fun to watch, never dull but a missed opportunity.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pillars of the Earth, 22 April 2012
By 
Rayb "AR Bonney" (Fleetwood, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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What a great cast and enjoyable series. It takes you through all the twists and turns of what it must of been like, back in the age of caos when Britain was gripped in battles between King Steve and Queen Maud, seen though the live's of monks at monstery who along with family of builder's trying to build a new Catherdral, An there evil bishop and his confederates
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the pillars of the earth, 7 Nov 2011
This is an absolutely briliant eight part period drama with really outstanding acting, and a great cast of actors some well known some relativly new but all play there parts well, with a great story line keeping the watcher enthralled all the way, once you have seen the first episode, you just want to put the next one on, just like not being able to put down a really good book, for period drama fans this is a must see item.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Follows the book fairly consistently, 9 Nov 2011
By 
Mr. K. H. Plunkett (Fareham United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I watched this series with much pleasure recently on Satellite TV; and decided to buy the DVD for quality re-watching.

I also downloaded the book from Kindle store and have enjoyed the more detailed adventures available in print. There are some minor deviations necessary for the transition to video production; but I found most of the characters in the book well represented by the actors and actresses in the TV series. I took a fairly instant dislike to Alfred from the start in the series and found him even more obnoxious in the book. Strangely enough; even though his end is well deserved, William had a pretty lousy family bringing him up; and Aliena's abrupt and rather cruel dismissal early on lead to his descent into the rapacious moster he later becomes.

I loved the selection of characters; but was surprised that the part played by Aliena's father [Donald Sutherland] is much less in the book. Still I trhink everyone got their moneys worth from the cast; especially from Ian McShane who is a lovely villain. All in all a geat addition for that "keep to see again" library that not too many programmes warrant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous romp through the Dark Ages-7 hours of addictive TV, 31 Jan 2013
By 
JK "Julie K." (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pillars of the Earth [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Addictive, hugely entertaining and never meant to be taken too seriously - brilliant - and what a cast; Rufus Sewell, Donald Sutherland, Ian McShane, Mathew MacFayden and Hayley Atwell to name but a few.

Trying to summarise the whole plot would take far too long for a review so I'll give a very basic outline:-

England is just out of the Dark Ages as Tom Builder (Sewell) sets out on the road to find work and shelter for himself and his family. Events take a dark turn for Tom. Eventually he finds himself in a place where his dream of building a Cathedral comes true. Unfortunately, both the town and church around Tom are riddled with deep, dark secrets and his plans for the Cathedral bring corruption and mystery out into the open. Add a wonderful background of Monarchy (Queen Maud and King Stephen), double dealing Knights of the Realm, evil Bishops, corrupt churches/monasteries, poisoning, battles, escapes to France plus political intrique and you're not even half way into the plot.

The Pillars of the Earth is a piece of fantasy loosely based on the plot of a Ken Follet novel. There's more than enough (moderate-strong) sex, violence and strong language to reduce the whole series to little more than an historical romp at times. The market for this DVD is definitely aimed at those of us who enjoy TV drama such as The Tudors or The Borgias. I'm only adding those comments because I've read through some of the earlier reviews and seen how disappointed people were with the TV mini-series. For that reason I'll add a couple of words of advise: if you're expecting The Pillars of the Earth to be a true depiction of the novel you'll be disappointed. It's not. Neither is it historically accurate or particularly believable. You have to be prepared to suspend belief and allow this entertaining, gripping, darkly comic story to carry you along.

Age Restriction 15 (contains strong language, once very strong, sex and bloody violence).
Running time:- 7 hours 01 minute.
English language and English subtitles for the hard of hearing.
Special Feature - behind the scenes.

No problems with running the DVD and the picture/audio qualities are good throughout.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 5 July 2012
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Some books just do not lend themselves to TV adaptation and in my view this is one of them. Had I not read the book maybe I would have enjoyed the DVD's more. The TV series differs from the storyline in the book in several ways and why? The book is so descriptive and a lot is lost in this series I am afraid so I was disappointed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a great movie, 14 May 2012
What a great enjoyalbe series. Wanted to watch only one dvd that evening but ended up watching all of them and went to bed at 4am;-).
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The Pillars of the Earth [DVD] [2010]
The Pillars of the Earth [DVD] [2010] by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (DVD - 2012)
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