Anthony Trollope may not be as well known, but his novels are making for such interesting period miniseries for the BBC that he's starting to give Jane Austen a posthumous run for her money. After all, just how many times can Pride and Prejudice be redone since its perfection in 1996 with Colin Firth?
The newest incarnation of Mr. Darcy, to Keira Knightley's Elizabeth, is Matthew Macfadyen and here he is nothing less that excellent as the ne'er-do-well, gambling, bumbling fool of a son who finds himself at the end of an era: the era that once kept bumbling aristocratic fools like himself in business.
Change is coming to Victorian England. The wealthy Jew Melmotte (played by David Suchet, of Poirot fame) has settled in town and demands the respect of those that would otherwise have scorned him with their bigotry. Cillian Murphy makes a gaunt, gorgeous appearance as a railroad man making his way in the new economic landscape. Crowning the cast is adorable weirdo Shirley Henderson.
This is a humorous and enlightening series about a time and a place of great social change, but don't let me completely mislead you. There's romance and gossip enough for any self respecting Austen watcher. It's a shame that PBS fails so often to promote these lesser known miniseries.