Great Expectations Parts 1 & 2 are the initial chapters in a period drama miniseries developed by Steven Knight. It is based on the novel of the same name by Charles Dickens. The miniseries is the coming-of-age story of Pip, an orphan who yearns for a greater lot in life, until a twist of fate and the evil machinations of the mysterious and eccentric Miss Havisham shows him a dark world of possibilities.
S P O I L E R S
As with most modern adaptations of classic literature nowadays, one can expect (heh) Great Expectations Parts 1 & 2 to reveal a modern day updating in terms of Dickens’ 19th century plot. This is certainly true here as the story is presented in a dark, gritty and visceral manner which the sumptuous locales and cinematography belies. Also, of course, there is the issue of diversity and representation with respect to the casting as key characters like the orphan Estella and the Queen’s Counsel Jaggers are now of African descent.
Sure, already there are sharp protests that these changes are “woke” but knee-jerk reactions such as these do not help at all. From our perspective, a little online research will confirm that there were high class individuals and families, both professional and gentry, that were of African descent in 19th century England. Thus, the suspension of disbelief is preserved well in this context. It’s not as if Anne Boleyn is suddenly of African descent for example, which was previously done in a misguided series.
Based on Great Expectations Parts 1 & 2, we are willing to give this miniseries a chance. Stephen Knight – creator of Peaky Blinders – as a modern take on the past that is both illuminating and intriguing. Recommended.
Watch now on Hulu
… still there’s more …