"Masterpiece Theatre" -- which I guess is now calling itself just "Masterpiece" for some reason -- did a new version of Jane Austen's Persuasion last night, and it was, like, three-fourths successful. The Anne Elliot (Sally Hawkins) was suitably faded and the Captain Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones) suitably stalwart (though I prefer the performances by Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds in the 1995 version). And it was fun to see Anthony Head (Giles from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") as Sir William Elliot -- he gave the part an oddly more menacing edge than one expects.
But it was only three-fourths successful because although it did a fine job of capturing the first three-fourths of the book, at that point everyone involved seemed to get bored. The denouement, in which all the hidden truths are revealed and Anne and Wentworth decide they love each other, was summed up in a frantic race around Bath in which characters darted up, gabbled some exposition, and then hurried on. Clench, kiss, music up and out.
Here's the trailer for the original British series of Austen novels that PBS will be running. Pretty mushy stuff.