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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (BBC)


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"Susanna Clarke's 'Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell' Will Be A BBC Series"

Peter Harness ("Wallander") will be penning a six-part series based on the book, and that may be the best way to tackle the story. We'll do our best to summarize: in the early 1800s, magic is thought to have died out when Gilbert Norrell appears and stuns folks by praticing the dark art. The younger Jonathan Strange becomes his pupil and they both rise in fame until an ugly, very public split that pits them against each other. Now toss in the Napoleanic Wars, another subplot set in a parallel fairy world and now you can see why this is a tricky one to tackle. Deadline's report seems to suggest it will focus on Strange and Norrell's magic battles during the war, which makes up a good chunk of the book, but we hope some space is left for other story elements as well. Toby Haynes ("Doctor Who," "Sherlock") will wrangle it all in the director's chair.

I've had Susanna Clarke's novel for a few years, but have never finished it. However, that's because of my own laziness and not due to any fault of the book, which is very fun and imaginative. If done well, this would make for a fantastic series.

Link to our preview thread re. a potential movie adaptation (which appears to be no more).

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Yeah, a series is the only way this could work, since it's such a big story. There are a lot of interesting visual things in it (laying down magic roads during the war, visiting fairy land, etc), too. Quite a bit of the book is guys arguing about (magic) books; I wonder how much of that will stay in the series.

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I wonder how well the BBC will be able to pull this off; my experience is only through PBS Masterpiece Theatre, so I'm genuinely not familiar with how they'd handle all the effects shots inherent in "Jonathan Strange". That said, it's intriguing news--I thought this was a wonderful read.

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considering Toby Haynes has done Doctor Who (Eleventh Doctor), and Sherlock, as well as an episode of Wallander I think it's in good hands.

I haven't seen any Wallander, but based on what Haynes did with Doctor Who and Sherlock -- the end of "The Reichenbach Fall" still blows me away -- I definitely agree.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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  • 4 months later...
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The cast has been announced: Eddie Marsan is Mr. Norrell and Bertie Carvel is Jonathan Strange.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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So... am I to conclude from the total silence that this series was a failure?

It just showed up on Netflix Instant in the US, so I'm wondering: Should I bother? 

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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1 hour ago, Overstreet said:

So... am I to conclude from the total silence that this series was a failure?

It just showed up on Netflix Instant in the US, so I'm wondering: Should I bother? 

Just what I was waiting for!

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I thought it was excellent.  It has to streamline the book a fair bit, but just about every major incident does get in there, and many of the themes come across more strongly (or are at least easier to see) in the TV version.  (The one thing that doesn't is the sense of the history of magic and the nature of the Raven King, which is hard to describe without a lot of momentum-halting exposition.) I would definitely recommend it to anyone who's curious.

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