You’ve seen it everywhere at this point. TV Line has even compiled a list of cancelled TV shows fans want brought back and it was #1. So what is this Sanditon show social media has been fighting for and buzzing about since October? It’s Emmy award winner Andrew Davies’ (BBC Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey) adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel of the same title that brings gorgeous complexity to regency era in a seaside resort with perfectly compelling characters. It’s the compelling story of humanity and how we operate amidst judgements and mistreatment. It’s the love stories between polar opposites that found laughter with each other and kindred spirits who’ve healed each other of all darkness within. It’s colorfully complex characters arguing over money, regattas, and pineapples? It’s the period drama you won’t want to miss because unlike ones that have come before it, it’s deliciously enticing and even in the midst of the quiet serenity, there’s gorgeous storytelling happening. There are a plethora of reasons why Sanditon is a show I’d recommend to anyone, but here are the top 10.
- It’s Jane Austen
If there’s one thing you need to know about me it’s that I’m an absolute Jane Austen snob. The first time I ever read Pride and Prejudice, I wept because I knew I had found the author of my dreams and that we’d be on this adventure for life. (I even got to visit her Chawton house in England, and it was one of the most magical adventures in my entire life!) So for me, I’ll watch anything and everything Austen-inspired without question. But dare I say that Sanditon might actually be my favorite? (No one tell Emma.) And yes, I know Austen’s novel is unfinished and the series is essentially Davies’ version of fan fiction, but it’s brilliantly moving and with the proper conclusion, a story I feel Austen would be proud of. Sanditon is an exhibition of Austen’s deliciously enamoring side of storytelling that focuses on the darkest parts of characters and their tremendous growth through it all. Point being, if you love Jane Austen and haven’t already watched Sanditon, what on earth are you waiting for? Here’s a formal invitation to do so, come one, come all. You’re welcomed.
“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
Where do we even begin, darling readers? Welcome to the final Sanditon weekly rundown for the season. This is a tough one. I’ve got my tea ready and I hope you’ve got yours, too because we’ve got a lot to cover. This is a season that focused on sincerity and until its final episode, it delivered. It’s a show that wasn’t meant to end at the very moment it did, so here’s to hoping the viewership at PBS is enough to grant us a second season or even a crowd funded film. Firefly got it, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries got it, Timeless did it. It’s possible. Sanditon is an incredibly special show that turned the Jane Austen universe upside down in a way that worked wonders — regency era had a lot of fire and spark in the midst of the seemingly put together world of high tea and country sides. This is an episode that touches on past episodes so intricately, it’s gut-wrenching. For what it’s worth, we were forewarned about all this, as mentioned in previous episodes, the narrative has been leading to these very moments with the seeds it’s planted throughout. What goes around comes around, we’re always told to be careful what we wish for, but to be human is to make mistakes — to be human is to feel every emotion through and through until our time comes.
“Without a quality of affection, marriage can become a kind of slavery.”
This is a love story. Sanditon is the story of a small, resort town full of colorfully complex nincompoops. (Lady Denham’s words, not mine.) and it’s a story of agency, profoundly broken characters finding solace with one another when they’re given the chance to choose the kind of life they want to carve out. It’s a great adventure that touches on the trials of love reminding us all of how precious it actually is when we find it — romantic or platonic.
Welcome to Sanditon weekly, darlings — this one is going to be a bumpy ride so buckle up and maybe bring back the spiked tea. There’s a great deal to unpack with this episode, for it deals with perhaps some of the most human struggles to date. What does it mean to see ourselves through another’s perspective? Are we defined by the decisions we’ve made in the past or are we defined by the labels that are given to us? Or do we define ourselves with the choices we make every single day? It’s a never-ending struggle because even when you are certain of who you are and you’re proud of who you’ve become, outside opinions cannot always be ignored. Sometimes they should be, other times, they should be taken into consideration. However, I’ve yet to hear of a single human who’s mastered the art of not allowing another’s opinion to get to them, if they have, I’d like to meet them. And as we’ve gathered by now, the people in Sanditon don’t shy away from their opinions.
The season’s penultimate episode is a strong compilation of imperfections and the art of being a confidant. Sometimes, all a person really needs is just one other to believe in them, one person to see them as they truly are, for it is that very belief that inspires us daily. We aren’t meant to be alone — the connections we make throughout our lives intricately shape us into the people we become. The untitled episode — let’s deem it “Love and Friendship”, (An homage to another Austen novel, see what I did there?) leaves us with a lot to ponder on; human connections, and the various perceptions we have of ourselves.
Sanditon’s second episode gives viewers plenty to sit with, good and bad — a jam packed hour full of some riveting moments that touch on the theme of class and judgement bitterly. It’s an episode full of some of the most cringeworthy statements along with some of the most relatable ones, but most exquisitely, it’s a testament to friendship, and Austen’s way of writing steadfast female friendships. If I were in charge of titling the episode, I’d call it “Paddling in the Sea”, for it’s best to describe the first steps into an astounding friendship and the exposure of Sidney Parker’s being, physically today and emotionally tomorrow. It’s an episode that does a remarkable job of shifting plates and allowing viewers to start seeing more sincerity in the characters. Thus finally, it’s an episode that spends a lot of its time discussing the panoramas of marriage and what it truly means to choose a partner.
To kick things off, these are the times I’m glad we no longer live in regency era because goodness every word out of Lady Denham’s mouth during the luncheon had me cringing so hard. (And I love period dramas immensely, but they’re just … so … white … and entitled.) But this is the very episode that lets us see into the hearts of those who matter most because Charlotte, Sidney, and Arthur all coming to Georgiana’s defense is the very showcase of how good natured their spirits are. Sidney’s especially which officially gives viewers a glimpse into his character’s true nature. He didn’t want to be Georgiana’s guardian, but let’s be real, not many would be in the right headspace to be anyone’s guardian during their mid-twenties. And while he grumbles about it, he doesn’t miss the opportunities to remind her of her value, something women in regency era, especially black women, aren’t reminded of as often as they should be. “You know you’re worth far more than Lady Denham and all her circle put together.” Sidney Parker might waste away his days at bars and boarding houses with smoke and self-deprecation clouding him, but at his core, he’s a man who’s fully aware of the strong women he’s surrounded by. It’s also a fantastic showcase of the fact that Charlotte was right in throwing him under the bus about being too cruel despite stating that he doesn’t care. “Think too badly of you? I don’t think of you at all Miss Heywood. I have no interest in your approval or disapproval. Quite simply, I don’t care what you think or how you feel. I’m sorry if that disappoints you, but there it is.” And oh how badly this’ll bite him later on.