Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lark Rise to Candleford: Season 1

It has happened yet again...

We are engrossed in another British series. This time it is Lark Rise to Candleford.  Fortunately the series spans a few seasons, so we have plenty of opportunities to quench our unending thirst for British tv.  Unfortunately, the show is currently in its last season.  It is sad to think that such an addictive, heartwarming, and family-friendly show is coming to an end; but alas, that is the bleak reality of television industry.  Lark Rise to Candleford combines elements of some of our favorite programs of the past: Little House on the Prairie, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (especially the first few seasons), and Anne of Green Gables. Lark Rise allows viewers to escape to a more innocent time and become part of a warm, welcoming, and sometimes eccentric community while introducing and resolving conflicts that resonate with our modern lives.

Over the past few years we have become increasingly loyal to British period movies and series. We are hard-pressed to find movies, much less television shows, on American tv that are comparable to our favorite British series in plot, scenery, and acting quality. Where are the wholesome programs that were once commonplace on our televisions?  In today's world, do we really need more crime-solving shows or sitcoms with crude humor? If programming is meant to help us escape the stress of real life, it is failing in our book. Shows like Lark Rise to Candleford are gems in the modern world; and hopefully, they won't become too rare.

We just finished Season 1 of Lark Rise to Candleford and are now beginning Season 2. The series starts off a bit slow, but hits its stride after the second or third episode. The series begins in the small farming hamlet of Lark Rise nestled amid rolling fields of golden grains. The Timmons family is bursting at the seams of their cozy cottage and Emma Timmins decides to send her eldest daughter, Laura, to her post-mistress cousin, Dorcas, in Candleford. Candleford is a small but enterprising town; and as a country girl, Laura must adjust to a more "civilized" lifestyle while learning the rules and regulations of the post office.  Lark Rise and Candleford have their prejudices toward one another, and Laura is often caught in the middle.  Throughout the first season, Laura matures through her struggles, and the upcoming seasons promise to bring more growth. Cousin Dorcas takes Laura into her post office family and becomes a strong influence in her life. Dorcas is a woman ahead of her times.  She is a respected business woman who operates a post office and owns a forge, but she also has weaknesses and is nursing a broken heart.

Meanwhile, the rest of the proud citizens of Lark Rise and Candleford have their own quirks and share of trouble, which adds an intriguing and comical dimension to the show.  For fellow fans of British productions, there are a few familiar faces in Lark Rise to Candleford: Brendan Coyle (Nicholas Higgins in North & South and  John Bates in Downton Abbey) plays Laura's father; Claudie Blakley (Charlotte Lucas in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice) portrays Laura's mother; and Julia Sawalha (Lydia Bennet in the infamous 1995 mini-series Pride & Prejudice) plays Dorcas Lane.

As Cousin Dorcas would say, Lark Rise to Candleford has become our "one true weakness."

1 comment:

  1. This series is no less than a "quaint--ified" soap opera. There may be some good philosophy, but it leaves you wishing for relationships to occur that should not be...and shows passionate kissing to be a meaningless thing that happens before or outside of marriage and does not affect a lasting bond...
    I'm left very unsatisfied that my life has not profited in any way from this addicting waste of time.
    I'm somewhat ashamed to say I watched all of the first season--before reading synopses of the rest. I kept thinking that maybe the ending would bring out a noble purpose or put a bit of worth into these seemingly never ending episodes. After reading the synopses, I realized it was a whole lot more gossip/soap opera that did not have enough redeeming virtue to continue wasting my time.
    I hope this can help others to become recovering addicts. :)



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