“Long Song” mingles classy drama and soapy bits

As “The Long Song” begins Sunday (Jan. 31), we’re clearly in a distant time and place.
This is Jamaica, early in the 1800s. It has blue sky, sprawling vistas … and deep, wrenching pain. Caroline Mortimer (Hayley Atwell, shown here with Tamara Lawrance)– who owns the plantation with her brother – mostly stays in the mansion while her sadistic overseer drives the slaves.
Then come all the events – love, lust, rape, revolt, betrayal – that we might find in a Harlequin novel or in a quality production. By the end of the three-week mini-series (9 p.m. Sundays on PBS), we’re left with the same question raised by Netflix’s recent “Bridgerton”mini-series: Where is the line that somehow separates tawdry soap opera from classy, period-piece drama? Read more…

“Bridgerton”: Elegance and decadence entwine

On Christmas Day, the mega-movies suddenly crowded into our streaming services.
It was “Wonder Woman 1984” on HBO Max, “Soul” on Disney+ and (two days earlier) George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” on Netflix. It was so crowded that we could almost overlook the other Christmas arrival – “Bridgerton,” an eight-part Netflix mini-series.
Still, “Bridgerton” (shown here) shouldn’t be ignored. It’s part classy Jane Austen and part tawdry Harlequin novel; it’s part classic-style period piece, part revisionist … and all Shondaland. Read more…