When a new version of an already popular series is made, there is always going to be an air of anticipation. This was no different for the new series of Poldark, and much of the excitement was due to the involvement of Aidan Turner, who has already found fame in Being Human and in the three Hobbit films.
I enjoy a good costume drama, and I was hoping this series would be good. It starts off with Captain Ross Poldark (Turner) returning from the American War of Independence in the late 1700s. He was presumed dead by the locals in the area of Cornwall he grew up in, and in his absence his father has died.
Everyone is shocked to see Ross return. The love of his life Elizabeth (Heida Reed), thinking he was dead, has ended up getting engaged to his cousin. The series is chiefly concerned with Ross’s attempts to make the land and mine he has inherited from his father prosper.
The Cornish scenery is amazing, and is showcased well through lots of staring out to sea from Ross (Turner has the brooding look down to a fine art). The overall style of the series reminded me of the 1990s version of Pride and Prejudice; some of the episodes move on in pace quite quickly, and cover several months.
As the season develops, Ross helps a young girl named Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson), who at first seems to be a street urchin, but is actually attempting to get away from her opressive, drunken father. He takes her in and Demelza becomes his kitchen maid; it isn’t long before romance blossoms between them. Ross seems to finally accept that Elizabeth is with his cousin George now, but his love for her smoulders on nonetheless, lending an intense undercurrent to the series.
The series certainly kept my attention throughout its eight episodes. All of them were action packed, and there was ample eye-candy in the form of Turner’s (ocasionally shirtless) Poldark. The costumes were amazingly well done, and the cast worked very well together as a whole; plenty of supporting characters make for some much needed lighter comedy moments.
The later episodes see tragedy creep in to the lives of the characters (tissues are recommended!) . The season ends on a cliff-hanger, suggesting there will be a second season (which has already been confirmed). I recommend the series to anyone who loves a good romantic costume drama. Season one is now available on DVD, so there’s no excuse not to catch up before season two starts.