'Masterpiece: Poldark: Season 4'
(Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, et al / 3-Disc Blu-ray / PG / 2018 / PBS)
Overview: 1796: To defend Cornwall and those he loves from an empowered George, Ross must play the political game on a journey that takes him to the nation's capital and into new perils.
Blu-ray Verdict: Taking you back, if I may, the original Poldark was from what I would describe as the "golden age" of UK television. Poldark sat happily alongside wonderful series like Upstairs and Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke St and War and Peace. I grew up watching it, but moreover because it was set where I was living at the time with my parents re: Cornwall.
Set in 18th century Britain, nay Cornwall, Ross Poldark, played by Aidan Turner, is a nobleman who shuns social convention. Ross's warmth and his ability to see the true humanity in people, is in stark contrast to the callous, class based snobbery of many of his supposedly, noble peers.
Poldark is, at its core, a romance, but it avoids the "bodice ripper" label by maintaining a very grounded approach to romantic storytelling mixing in a strong social commentary and wry humor.
The cast of Poldark are to a man and women excellent. Turner is exceptional as Poldark. As is Eleanor Tomlinson who offers up an at times very funny, but also deeply touching performance, as Demelza. The remaining cast which is both UK and international, are also extremely talented and well suited to their respective roles.
Given that this is beautiful, coastal Cornwall, we are treated to en mass of the cameraman's preoccupation of showing us said Cornish coastlines from the saddle of Poldark's horse, but we can forgive him for that - as the cinematic visions are beautiful.
Indeed, Poldark is throughout visually stunning and the period enhances the feel of a young man returning from war to an uncertain future and trying to resurrect the family fortune in a disused mine.
In this fourth season, and with the country gripped by political uncertainty and fresh elections, Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) seeks to challenge George Warleggan's stranglehold over Cornwall while also repairing his marriage with Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson).
Hugh Armitage remains in love with Demelza and is hopeful for more. Dr. Dwight Enys and Caroline plan to start a family while Elizabeth seeks another child to secure her own marriage to an ever-suspicious George.
Meanwhile, Morwenna desperately tries to protect herself from Osborne's advances by threatening their son, and a heartbroken Drake is encouraged by his brother Sam to find new love.
In truth, I would say this new version of the old TV show is just as good as (though not better than) the original. They are just two different animals. This one has more slick production values, so beautiful scenery can be shown well, and good characterization by Aidan Turner.
Indeed, it is rather refreshing to see that the BBC can still produce something decent of the type that used to be produced (in the genre of North and South, though that was better), without descending into the onslaught of PC messaging that is so off-putting to many viewers, making them turn away from the BBC.
In summary, this is a superb series. It recaptures the golden age of UK television, for those of us old enough to remember it. For those who do not, you are in for a real treat here in the first season of the remake. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Cornwall To London
The Journey of Ross Poldark
Make-Up and Hair Design