April 17, 2009

The Complete Austen, Dickens, ---?

So if Masterpiece Theater continues its recent tradition of devoting an entire season to one author exclusively, I'm wondering who they'll opt to focus on next? I'm assuming next year we'll get to see the new BBC production of Emma in the works, but at some point, the Jane Austen well is going to run dry.

That said, which author do you think they should devote a season to next?


  1. I think we need to get a way from the 19th century Brit authors for a year or so. I would love to see a showcase of an American author such as Willa Cather. I'd also love to see a multi-episode adaptation of Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson.

  2. Even though the 19th C. Brits are my all-time faves, I do feel like the well is running a bit dry. I'd love to see some really good James adaptations even thought they'd all be mad depressing. What about a season of 18th century adaptations? Clarissa, Pamela, Evelina, Moll Flanders, Amelia, so many books with lady's names as titles!

  3. the well isn't running dry, they're just stuck recycling the same novels over and over again.

    why not elizabeth gaskell? she grappled with labor and economic issues that are strangely close to things we're dealing with today. she also dealt with gender issues in a much more direct way than her contemporaries.

    but george eliot would be awesome too, if only they wouldn't focus too much on "mill on the floss" or "silas marner." "middlemarch" would make an awesome series, as would "daniel deronda," and "adam bede."

    and what about wilkie collins? he always gets short shrift, but he writes amazing women characters. no, they're never the heroines (the heroines are always insipid) but rather secondary characters or villains. still, the villain of "armadale" is amazing and needs to be embodied, as does the older sister in "the woman in white."
    i'd LOVE to see "north and south," "mary barton," and "ruth" turned into tv series. there's plenty of melodrama, drama, twisty plottiness, and social commentary to keep people riveted. plus: strong heroines!

  4. claire1:50 PM

    strangely, my paragraphs got switched around. the last paragraph is about elizabeth gaskell.

  5. @Claire: Gaskell has in fact been in vogue recently--the fabulous North and South and Cranford are all the last few years, and there was a much-beloved Wives and Daughters in 1994. Same with Eliot--there was a (middling) ITV Mill on the Floss and a BBC Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda in the last couple of decades. And as for Collins, there's been a Moonstone and a Woman in White in the 90s although neither have garnered raves. I'd love to see them remake some of these but on the whole a new era might be interesting.

  6. How about Maria Edgeworth? Castle Rackrent, The Absentee, Belinda, Leonora...

  7. claire1:35 AM

    this is what i get for not watching tv. ;P

    i'll check those out on netflix, thanks!

    by the way, has anyone ever done "shirley"? they seem to want to do "jane eyre" over and over again ...

  8. Yes, that I totally agree with. I'd love to see a really good Villette and Shirley and even the Professor. Also a Maria Edgeworth season would just be wayy cool for English lit dorks like us!

  9. Yes, I remember that "Woman in White" adaptation -- it was awful. I think when Laura started smoking a cigarette that I realized, "This is not the 'Woman in White' I know." And it went downhill from there. A remake would be good. But I voted for Edith Wharton, who's a great favorite of mine.

  10. Deleilan7:48 AM

    Why not Edgar Allan Poe?