November 11, 2014

The Paradise {series one}

I am a huge fan of period dramas. (Talk about stating the obvious, right? ;)

Give me an Austen adaptation and I am a very happy lady! I'm not just fond of Jane Austen though. There are lots of wonderful period dramas out there, and I am slowly getting my chances to watch some of them. The Paradise has been out on dvd for quite a while and why it's taken me so long to get around to watching it I'll never know. But watch it I did, so on with the post, shall we?

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent in this vast and ahead-of-its-time store. Firstly, the set designers did an absolutely fantastic job! The sets are simply amazing. I watched the behind the scenes footage and they talked about how it's actually all one big set where you can walk in the front door and wind your way through almost all of the rooms used for filming. Which is cool! The way the show is filmed, the store feels like a real place and I suspect the ability to be one big set helps a lot with that feeling. But also the hats! And the dresses! And the gloves! (Ladieswear in general.) And every other part of the store! It all combines, along with the characters themselves, to create a lush and scenic show to watch. We see the elegance of the front surroundings, yet also behind the curtain, to where the real (and less elegant) lives of the shopgirls exists. It's quite amazingly well done, in my opinion.

And I also loved all the clothes the actors got to wear. Not so sure it was comfortable for them, but they looked fabulous! The ladies dresses especially. The particular time period this is set in (1870s) certainly made the fashions quite stunning. So many colors and designs. And the hairstyles! I loved the hairstyles and all the hats the ladies wore.

But of course, one of the most important aspects is the characters. Any period drama would be utterly lost without unique characters! And this one most definitely has those. Mr. Moray and Denise are the most intriguing for me. Mostly because they get the most airtime and much of the story revolves around one or the other. Or both! They certainly have palpable chemistry together. But there's also Pauline (who I loved) and Clara (who had to grow on me), as well as Sam (who had to grow on me as well) and Dudley (who is such a great friend and manager) and Jonas (who is extremely creepy) and Arthur (who is cute and just made me want to sweep him into a hug, he could use a little more love in his life). Also Miss Audrey (who had such a great storyline, I wasn't sure about her at first, but I grew to really like her) and Denise's Uncle Peter (who was awesome), and then there's Katherine (who I didn't like) and her father, Mr. Glendenning (who I didn't really like either). Not to mention several side characters of note! Plus it's just so fun to see several familiar faces as well as some new ones. I especially loved seeing Olivia Hallinan (of Lark Rise to Candleford) again. Even if her character wasn't especially lovable. :)

All in all, it's quite a fun series and now I'm anxious to see series two and find out what happens. I do have to admit, however, that while I enjoyed it, I wasn't blown away with happiness. I don't think it'll be one that I'll add to my collection anytime soon. The storylines just simply didn't grip me like I thought they might. I ended up skimming through several of the episodes and not feeling like I had missed much. But overall, I'm still very happy I watched it. And I would recommend it to any other period drama lover as well. For the fashions alone if nothing else! :)


  1. To be honest, it took more than one episode for me to love this one (and even at that, it's not my most favorite costume drama) partly because it was set up SO much like 'Lark Rise' (understandable since it's from the creators) and I'd just finished that, but it really got better in the second half - especially with that out-of-nowhere mystery! Glad you enjoyed it, Kara - and I hope you like S2. :)

    1. I hadn't thought about comparing it to 'Lark Rise', but that's actually a good point, Rissi. It IS set up quite a bit like it. And it's the same writers? Clearly I didn't do much research if I didn't know this til now. But that also explains the focus on the characters. Those writers do know how to write intriguing characters! And to make even the awful characters somehow have a little sweetness. If that makes sense. I suppose what they excel at is making the characters feel very human.

      I definitely agree that it got better in the second half. I guess it kind of needed to find it's footing? Which is okay. I certainly enjoyed my time with it though, and am looking forward to S2! :)

  2. I love this show! It is soooo amazing! Can't wait to watch season 2!!!

    1. It is a wonderful show, Eve. I completely agree. And I can't wait to watch S2 as well! :)

  3. I really loved this series! It was so very pretty and most of the characters were great. I was really into the romance between Denise and Moray and loved the ending of this season. The 1870's really got up in my 'favourite eras of fashion' due to The Paradise!

    1. I so agree, Birdie! This era of fashion quickly turned into a favorite for me as well. Such amazing dresses and hats and everything! It was quite lovely and gorgeous. :)

      Ah, Denise and Moray most certainly had sizzling chemistry. From their very first meeting, I could feel it. They were so drawn to each other. Their romance is a big reason why I enjoyed the show! :)


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