6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
more than a knockoff, but lacks the depth of the original series,
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This review is from: Return to Cranford [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
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.