Streaming on Amazon Prime
Metadata: 2014 | TV-14 | 3 seasons of 1h episodes
Genre: Historical drama, Romance
Why I watched: My dad *loves* Poldark. His passion for it convinced me to check it out. I'm so glad I did. When he first told me why he thought I'd like it, he compared it to a more masculine version of Pride and Prejudice. Say no more, Daddy!
You might also like: Oh gosh. It's hard to choose from among the other luscious British historical dramas streaming right now. But definitely check out The Crown or Death Comes to Pemberley on Netflix, if you haven't already. They're both so good!
If for nothing else, watch this show for the breathtaking scenery. Filmed in Cornwall, where the story is also set, Poldark is flush with gorgeous, lingering shots of clear aquamarine water and dramatic cliffs. Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner), the story's namesake, thunders along them on his horse, against magical sunset backdrops, and accompanied by wild and achingly beautiful theme music. Cornwall itself—the landscape, the local accent, the mining—is one of the most prominent characters in the show, which is inspired by Winston Graham's novels written and published between 1945 and 2002.
The Poldark saga begins in 1783 when Ross returns home after fighting (for the British) in the American Revolution. He finds his father dead, his home in ruins, his family mines in tatters, and his girlfriend engaged to his cousin. Unsurprisingly, he is not thrilled. Ross takes out his frustration and anxiety on rebuilding his home and its surroundings. He cuts wheat—yielding a scythe shirtless, I might add (yowza!)—and lifts heavy rocks and hammers things and scrambles up and down mine shafts, and you know what? It’s not unlike when I go to town on my permanently stained bathtub, and maniacally vacuum up all the cat hair in my apartment, and clean out the microwave, and punch my couch cushions back into shape. I relate to Ross's single-minded activity, his efforts to control what little he can in light of all that he can't. As he seeks to set his world to right, he also finds love where he least expects it. It's one of the most unique and beautiful and interesting love stories on TV right now, and I can't get enough of it. (By the way, the books are excellent, too! My dad has all 200 of them—okay, there are *only* 12 novels in the series—and if you ask really nicely, maybe he'd let you borrow them. Probably not.)
The series offers riveting plot lines, subtle and compelling character development, painful ethical dilemmas, dramatic duels, good old-fashioned romance, and many, many beautiful and interesting things to look at. In short, it has everything you could ever want. I watched the pilot for a third time to inspire me as I set out to write this newsletter, and I was just as enthralled as the first time. This show, like the books it’s based on, is a true classic. Immerse yourself in 18th century Cornwall and the drama of the Poldark family, and you'll be so glad you did.
Happy streaming! Grace