Two More Reviews
Posted at 7:00 AM (PST) on Sunday, January 22, 2006

'Bleak House' is the best TV to see

By Jonathan Storm
Philadelphia Inquirer
Jan. 22, 2006

As teeming and twisted as the back alleys of London, as succulent as a Christmas pudding, Masterpiece Theatre's eight-hour rendition of Dickens' Bleak House will be one of the five best TV shows of the year.

Deadwood and The Sopranos will come along on HBO, and maybe something else, somewhere else. It's possible that Bleak House, the perfect marriage of television and literature, will surpass them all.

All the usual L-words apply: lavish, luminous, luxurious, luscious, and, yes, long. It is eight hours over six weeks, two tonight, two at the end, and an hour for the four weeks in between.

What do you like in your television? Good triumphing over evil, or evil triumphing over good? Crime? Passion? Love? Mystery? Heroism? Cowardice? Avarice? Generosity? Death? Birth?

Throw in infinity while you're at it, because the plots and their turns seem infinite. And don't forget spontaneous human combustion.

Or, even better, singular characters, perfectly portrayed with a shining script and a production so beautiful it must have been financed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Sheesh, it sounds like I own a piece of this thing. So I will get on with it, because I don't, and you get the point.

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'Bleak House' destined for PBS hall of fame

Hal Boedeker
Orlando Sentinel
January 22, 2006

Gillian Anderson is back, and Masterpiece Theatre has her. The X-Files star mesmerizes as the mysterious Lady Dedlock in Bleak House, and she's the main lure for this splendid eight-hour miniseries that starts Sunday.

And what the Charles Dickens! Her presence indicates this is a different kind of Masterpiece Theatre. The brisk editing and cutting-edge photography seem closer to ER than to stately British classics. This Bleak House is as much MTV as vintage MT -- a bold bid to bring in younger viewers while pleasing longtime fans.

Bleak House is a triumph on all scores, a program that fulfills great expectations. It's another peak in the glorious history of Masterpiece Theatre, a high point of this television season and a marvelous adaptation of Dickens, who deserves some of Jane Austen's luck on film.

X-Files alumna Anderson is the most familiar face, and she looks as if she could have stepped from an elegant painting. She gives a complex performance, marked by anguish and riveting stillness, that keeps viewers guessing about Lady Dedlock's motives. Like a besieged heroine in a detective story, Lady Dedlock presents a carefully crafted facade that is crumbling.

Anderson has stretched herself way beyond Dana Scully, and it's an exhilarating thing to see. The same goes for the entire production. If you have been missing humanity at the multiplex, check into Bleak House, one of TV's finest miniseries.

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