TV Shows »Bleak House

bleak house? Despite all the obvious factors that might keep someone away: a 465 minute running time, the dismal and depressing sounding title, the possible cliff notes flashbacks, and the fact that this is not another breezy Austen romance, I promise Bleak House is a thoroughly entertaining affair.

Charles Dickens's epic is adapted with high production values, a captivating script and a great cast that includes including a quivering Gillian Anderson as lady Honoria Deadlock, a bored wealthy woman with a dark secret; Nathaniel Parker (Inspector Lynley), who has great fun as the “child-like” scoundrel Harold Skimpole; and, far too briefly, the late Ian Richardson as the chancellor presiding over the legal case that's basically another character, Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce. As could be expected from any Dickens work, there are beloved street urchins, good loyal men (my favorite is the gorgeously mutton chopped weapons master, Sergeant George played by Hugo Speer) who become victims of hypocrisy and lawyers–villainous creatures with fittingly vile names like Tulkinghorn and Smallweed.

It's a faithful adaptation that gives life and a modern edge to the scope of the original panoramic work. There are several story lines and characters to keep track of and all of them are rich and intriguing. It's a romance, a legal drama, a tragedy, a revenge story, a mystery, and even a detective story all in one!

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Posted on February 4, 2008

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