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Ghost Canyon

'Jamestown: The Complete Collection'
(Naomi Battrick, Max Beesley, Claire Cox, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: From the makers of Downton Abbey comes Jamestown – the story of the first British settlers in America.

For 12 years, Jamestown has been populated by men, but the settlement is thrown into disarray when the first women, including Alice, Verity and Jocelyn, arrive in this land of hope and opportunity.

This wondrous box-set contains the complete seasons 1-3.

DVD Verdict: As aforementioned, from the producers of Downtown Abbey, 'Jamestown' is not so much a historically accurate recounting of times back in 1619, but moreover a challenging interpretation of what times were like and the things that could have happened therein.

We arrive in 1619 at the first settlement on the edge of the breathtaking but untamed Virginian wilderness. For 12 years, Jamestown has been populated by men, but the settlement is thrown through a loop when Alice (Sophie Rundle), Verity (Niamh Walsh), and Jocelyn (Naomi Battrick) arrive.

Their determination not only to survive but also to prosper provokes clashes of desire, influence, and dominance with exalted men of politics and proud tobacco farmers alike.

Relations with the Native Americans offer wealth and advancement but power, greed, and corruption inevitably leads to devastating conflict, the fallout of which will shape the New World for centuries to come.

In truth, if you expect a factual, realistic and historically based drama, this is not the show for you. If you are looking for simple entertainment value and not having to think too hard, this show does pretty good.

The characters are good if a little caricaturist with the obviously good and honorable James Read, the nasty greedy Governor Yardley and the scheming and sneaky Widow Castel.

There is a hint of depth to them but nothing that will make you wonder very much. Yet you start to like some of them and, in some cases, even hope they'll prevail.

Overall, the series started out stronger than it finished, but that happens when a series that is hoped to go for more than two seasons gets axed!

Anyway, I liked it well enough. It has some great actors like Burn Gorman from 'Turn' and 'Game of Thrones' and Sophie Rundle from 'Peaky Blinders.'

I was interested in the couples for the most part, but the characterization got a little wobbly and aimless toward the end. The introduction of the slaves in the second season was a good idea but kind of rushed (they appeared and it seemed like right away they were all speaking English!)

It also featured a lot of political intrigue, some interesting, some convoluted and unbaked. My favorite couple ended up being the "comic relief," the drunk tavern keeper and his sassy wife!

In closing, I personally found everything here to be a rather pleasant viewing experience, especially given that with a stable of BBC actors who are concurrently in dozens of other well-regarded shows on TV, their familiar faces made my experience all that bit more comforting and enjoyable.

It's delightfully light, not stunted, not melodramatic, beautifully set and the small anachronisms are actually food for thought in many ways. Enjoy, for I know you all will. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





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