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This iconic BBC miniseries turns forty, and celebrates by unleashing a new megaset on standard-def...
Acorn Media / 1340 Minutes / 1974 / Unrated / Street Date: October 15, 2013
The Pallisershas upstairs, Downstairs written all over it. They’re entirely different narrative machines, of course, but on this 40th Anniversary Edition of the BBC megaseries, one can’t help but notice parallels between the two. Both are distinctly British TV entities – how proper everyone is! – and while these Pallisers episodes especially look their age, the attention to detail in terms of costume and set design in both shows have very similar feels. In short: if you’re in the mood for Upstairs, Downstairs and don’t want to actually watch the thing again, welcome The Pallisers: 40th Anniversary Edition into your arms.
Based on a series of novels by author Anthony Trollope, our saga here revolves around Lady Glencora (Susan Hampshire), a lovely woman who finds herself in an arranged marriage with Plantagenet Palliser (Philip Latham), an up-and-coming politician who intends to thrust both he and his new bride into a very public spectrum of urban UK life. This surely brings scandal and panic of all shapes and sizes, and Lady Glencora and her inner circle of family and friends must figure out how to weather the various storms that descend upon her new family.
The Pallisersprobably isn’t the greatest example of British TV programming of its age – the best critical responses use terms like ‘addictive’ rather than anything distinctly qualitative – but as we amp up into the last couple months before Downton Abbey comes back on the air, for viewers desperately hungry for some engaging long-term TV stopgap might want to investigate this 40th Anniversary Edition. And if you dive in, you’ll even find characters played by Jeremy Irons and Derek Jacobi! Upstairs, Downstairs eat your heart out!