Thursday, May 7, 2009


For the first four months we lived in Wisconsin, we didn't have a working TV. We had spotty internet that I used to watch episodes online. We put a decorative blanket over the TV and, when Christmas came, but our mini fake Christmas tree on top (which looked kind of...disproportionate).
(Those are lobster ornaments on either side. Too big to fit on the tree!)

But then one night in January when I had nothing to do and so I went to buy a converter box and antennae. We picked up 6 channels, 3 of them PBS. And what came on exactly at that moment, that Sunday night? Masterpiece Classic's production of Wuthering Heights. I am in love. If you've never seen Masterpiece Classic, check it out here. They turn classic novels into excellently done miniseries(es) with no commercials. I love having a bit of epic drama in my life (especially when you can turn it on and off).

Charles Dickens

Having watched or read most of Dickens' work, I've got a formula now:

take one poor, noble, innocent, and selfless character (either an orphaned boy or a girl with one male guardian of obnoxious character, whom she serves devotedly)


  • bankrupcy (if you weren't there already)
  • several members of authority who range from cruel to stupidly incompentant (but who make it their goal to thwart the main character)
  • one helping hand, who is noble and wealthy and has
  • at least one terrible secret
  • which often comes out by way of a poor servant (who is most likely out for himself)
  • several more completely quirky characters who stick in your memory from monthly installment to monthly installment
and at the end throw in

  • sudden riches (thanks to the helping hand or to a long-lost relative who made his/her fortune abroad
  • a heartfelt reunion for the now-not-poor-but-still-selfless main character
  • most of the bad people getting what they deserve, but
  • sometimes nice people are crushed along the way
And spread it all over monthly installments with a lot of cliffhangers. If you can stretch it out over two years, all the better.

The advantage of doing an entire Masterpiece Classic series on Dickens is that you can reuse much of the set. Down-and-out London and all.

I sound like I'm mocking. I am, only a little bit. But I had a hard enough time waiting week to week for the five installments of Little Dorrit.

Dickens strikes again.

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