Yes, it's happened again. The second series of the BBC's Blandings adaptations is with us, and already the armed camps are setting up: on the one hand, those who love this, and on the other, those who despise it on a molecular level.
Personally, I love the original Blandings novels & stories. This is of course also the major problem the series encounters: many of those who all but worship the original texts will never, under any circumstances, be happy with an adaptation. Not everyone is quite so invested though, or has read the originals, and it should be remembered that these are adaptations, and should be judged on their own merits. On that basis, I think they do an solid job. They are not perfect -far from it. But still very good, and largely true to the spirit of Wodehouse. Basically innocent, extremely funny escapism with a large element of well-realised slapstick.
The series is beautifully acted, Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders are on top form, Jack Farthing is doing an excellent job, and Tim Vine has done a sterling job with his thankless task of replacing Mark Williams. The supporting cast are all spot on (although none for me quite hit the moment of magic Paloma Faith managed in the first series), and the new Empress is suitably majestic. Timing is critical for delivering Wodehouse dialogue, large parts naturally having been lifted from the original stories, and none of the cast put a foot wrong. Direction and writing appear sympathetic, although this appears to have changed compared to the first series. Freddie no longer crashes his car every other second, so we are spared the 'amusing' CGI sparks and smoke; likewise his hair no longer stands on end when an attractive girl walks past -no loss, Farthing does not need such devices. Lord Emsworth however appears to have descended in intellect to near-idiot status, which he was not in the first series, and this may have gone slightly too far. Likewise, Lady Constance has become somewhat less threatening -in both cases, these things are relative (fortunately not mine). All told, while I think the first series has the edge, this remains a lovely bit of Sunday evening viewing and perfect to relax to if you like comedy of this type. If you don't, don't bother -it's not likely to change your view. If you cannot separate adaptations from the original texts (fair enough), again, I'd say don't bother -again, it's not likely to change your view. For the rest? I suspect you'll enjoy it. I do.
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