Belated TV Recommendation: War & Peace

War & PeaceLifetime and some of its affiliate networks aired the new BBC War & Peace miniseries early this year, and I finally had a chance to finish watching it last weekend. So I am here to tell you very tardily that you should catch it on demand immediately – here, at least, it expires in a few days – because it was just a delight. I’ve never read the novel, but this left me thinking “I can’t wait to read this book!” which is certainly a good thing for an adaptation to accomplish.

The story is, of course, sweeping and epic and so, so soapy, with all sorts of crazy interpersonal drama laid over an examination of aristocracy and social class in czarist Russia as well as, of course, Napoleon’s invasion. (Watching it made me want to read non-fiction about the time period as well as the novel itself, actually. I love TV that makes me want to read lots of things!) The cast is great – James Norton, Paul Dano, Lily James, Jim Broadbent, and many more – and the scenery and sets and costumes are all breathtaking. It’s just a highly satisfying piece of television.

Here’s the BBC trailer for the miniseries:

Anyone else watch it? Did you like it as much as I did?

War & Peace Casts Gillian Anderson & More

Gillian AndersonThe Weinstein Company’s War and Peace miniseries, directed by Tom Harper, keeps adding exciting people to the cast: Gillian Anderson! Joe Broadbent! Rebecca Front! Aneurin Barnard! Tuppence Middleton! The cast already included Lily James, James Norton (hi Sidney Chambers!), Stephen Rea, and more, so this is shaping up to be quite the star-studded adaptation. I’m pretty excited. (Will I be able to read the book in time? I need to make myself a schedule.) Variety has the full rundown on the casting news.

Andrew Davies to Adapt War and Peace for the BBC

This morning, the BBC announced that Andrew Davies is writing them a miniseries adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Peace, to air on BBC One in 2015. Davies has adapted authors from Austen (including the 1995 Firth/Ehle Pride and Prejudice) to Shakespeare to Dickens to Waugh to Maeve Binchy, and he also wrote the Bridget Jones movies, House of Cards, Mr. Selfridge, and more. Of War and Peace, he says: “Not just a great novel it’s a wonderful read and it’ll make a wonderful serial. A thrilling, funny and heartbreaking story of love, war and family life. The characters are so natural and human and easy to identify with and Natasha Rostova just beats Lizzy Bennet as the most lovable heroine in literature.” Well. “Beats Lizzy Bennet” are fighting words, Mr. Davies, but other than that I’m quite excited about this news. And hey, we all have until 2015 to get through the book!