The five-part drama is written by English playwright Sir Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Arcadia) and stars Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch alongside The Town’s Rebecca Hall, with Adelaide Clemens, Miranda Richardson, Rupert Everett, Janet McTeer, Freddie Fox and more along for the ride. The drama aired in the UK last Fall and made it onto several critics’ “Best of 2012” television lists (including mine) at the end of the year.
Based on Ford Madox Ford’s quartet of novels, the series follows the story of English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens (Cumberbatch) and his wife Sylvia (Hall) from the last years of the Edwardian era through the end of the First World War.
Parade’s End will officially screen over three consecutive nights – February 26, 27 and 28 – on premium cable network HBO. Even though this news was just announced at the Winter session of the Television Critics Association press tour, HBO has already released a teaser trailer for the series and it’s lovely. Check it out for yourself below:
Period drama + romantic angst + Benedict Cumberbatch is basically my Kryptonite, so I doubt anyone is terribly shocked that a British DVD set of Parade’s End has been sitting on my DVD rack since October. And I have to tell you – while this trailer does convey the sort of lush gorgeousness of everything (and how painfully attractive this cast is), it doesn’t quite tell the whole story.
There’s a lot happening in this drama that’s more than your average period piece and its incredibly deft handling of the class issues spun up by the changes within (and inevitable decline of) the British aristocracy as a result of World War I is impressive. Yes, yes, parts of it will make you swoon and parts of it will make you sort of gut wrenchingly angry – Hall’s Sylvia in particular is a candidate for damaged villainess of the year – and there’s an obvious love triangle going on. But underneath all of that is a surprisingly thoughtful, challenging piece about war and loss and humanity and it’s quite stuck with me, even several months later. TV that makes you struggle with it a bit is always a plus in my book.
Thoughts? Will you be tuning in to see Cumberbatch and Company on HBO?