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Bill | Seattle, Washington United States | 07/01/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you enjoyed your stay at "The Grand," you're likely to want to check in again for "The Grand: Series Two." Get ready for some initial disappointment, and not only because two characters (Stephen Bannerman and Ruth Manning Bannerman) are played by different, less-effective actors.In the initial episodes of the second series, the tone seems off. While the first series managed to feel like drama rather than soap opera, the second dives wholeheartedly into the soapsuds and becomes more episodic. Some characters even seem to act in ways inconsistent with their previous actions. It almost feels as if a new production team had taken over, although that's not the case.Luckily, the second series hits its stride with the fourth episode and, for the most part, sustains it until almost the very end (with some nifty surprises and plot twists along the way). There's some very enjoyable writing throughout -- great credit goes to Russell T. Davies for staying true to his period and not trying to impose modern sensibilities on his characters. For example, the character who reveals his gayness is utterly confused and conflicted in a way that seems consistent for an uneducated worker in 1920s Britain; his self-hatred and seemingly unresolvable sense of isolation are never glossed over.By the end of the second series, it becomes clear, though, why there were only two series of "The Grand." Just about every avenue of development had been explored and there was little ground left to cover with the characters. So, you check out of The Grand generally satisfied with your stay, but feel fine not returning for another."
A "Grand" Mini-Series!
Bill | 08/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Grand," a former Masterpiece Theatere presentation, is a classic costume drama in the tradition of fine British fare such as, "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "The Pallisers," but I personally feel "The Grand," which I'd never heard of but stumbled upon recently via DVD, is better than either of those BBC classics.The scene is post-World World 1 Britian, and the family-run "Grand Hotel" has recently been restored to its former glory and is celebrating it's grand reopening on New Year's Eve. Unbeknownst to the Bannerman family, their business manager has lost the family money in speculation and, to embarassed to tell his friend and client, does away with himself during the party. (This all happens in the first three minutes of the movie, so I'm not giving anything away.)From there "The Grand" takes off as the owner, John Bannerman, is forced to allow his sinister brother, who has a passion for the John's wife, Sarah, as well as ladies of questionable reput, to invest in the Grand to save her. But "The Grand" follows far more than that one family story. There is the new chambermaid whose dreams of living "above stairs" turns into a nightmare and John's misguided son, whose life has been forever altered by his involvement in the war. As has the existence of the stalwart and oh-so-proper hotel manager/head butler, who lost his son, under rather mysterious cicrumstances, in the war. Then there's the mysterious guest whose profession shocks the sensabilites of the Victorian owners and a host of other guests and staff members who populate "The Grand's" enchanting landscape.This engrossing series even held my husband's attention, who usually rolls his eyes when I utter the words "British costume drama." Though he was reluctant to begin watching, after the first episode he was like, 'Is that it? This is great!' We actually watched the entire 8-hour mini-series in two evenings and he was as eager to find out "what happens next" as I was."
Engrossing Period Piece
Bill | 01/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So far, we've seen The Grand Series 1. I nd a break because my head is spinning from all the goings-on in the series. We finished watching it last night (4 hrs one night/4 the next). Take note: it is NOT Austen-esque as I thought. None-the-less, it's terribly engrossing. It's drama--I mean real drama if that's what you like. Not very light/not very witty, (as I said-it's not Austen). But so well done. Very insightful. Prob the MOST insightful of that era equal to Dickens descriptns of his times. And that's what pulls you in. The classes/the clothes/the changes occuring from the war and the end of the Victorian era. Terribly engrossing. Great watching!!! Ever so slightly choppy at the end--like they missed a page of script or something because everyone sort of 'got happy' when they could have actually had one more hour of getting to that 'happy time'. It came too fast without resolving some previous heaviness. Otherwise--simply engrossing! Look forwd to Part 2!"
A little less grand than series 1--but still interesting
I. Silver | 01/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I just viewed The Grand series one and series 2 over the course of one week. The first series ended with complete suspense so I quickly began series 2. I was disappointed that the original Steven Bannerman, or Ruth (Marcus's wife) were not in the second series. The new Steven is not as attractive as the first and the second Ruth is a psychotic, head-shaking, bulging-eyed mess! There are a few episodes that "jumped the shark" a bit. I think the writers just ran out of ideas, as is so often the case with dramas that drag out too long. There is a cheesy episode about Lynn Milligan (the maid) in which she tries to fulfill her acting dreams on a vaudeville-like stage. Another one explores Clive's brush with homosexuality as he confesses his indiscretion to his father. I did like seeing the gentle side of Mrs Harvey. She really did care about her staff and truly loved her job. John and Sarah Bannerman fled after the 3rd or 4th episode never to be seen again. The final episode does put a wrap on the Marcus/Ruth situation and some of the other characters. Although, I think the ending became a bit predictable, some viewers may be surprised at it. I was bummed about what happened to Monica. All in all, fun to watch, much better than most garbage out there today."
Almost five stars, compulsive viewing
I. Silver | New York, NY USA | 12/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Don't be put off by the cheap looking visuals of the first season (they obviously had more money for series two). The Grand should be seen from begining to end as it's really one huge and sprawling story that just gets better and better (despite the two unfortunate cast changes in series 2-- the two most attractive actors fail to return, and in the case of Stephen Moyer it's a real loss and, at first, somewhat disorienting). Full of decadant plots (prostitution, homosexuality, murder, suicide and black market babies) yet always tasteful (to my chagrin). Great fun! Shame no one on this side of the ocean has seen it. And a greater shame no one on this side of the ocean can make this kind of TV."