BBC One’s new six-part serialisation of War and Peace has been on our screens for two weeks now, and it’s time for us to sit back and take stock.
It might seem inevitable that I would love this series. It’s set in that Napoleonic era that I love, where everyone wears an awesome costume, there’s action, connivance, romance… Hell, War and Peace has been described as ALL OF THE ‘7 Basic Plots’ rolled into one. But, while I am enjoying it, it’s not perfect for me.
Part of my problem might be the casting of Paul Dano as central character Count Bezukhov. I have never found him to be a sympathetic character in any of his films, and I’m starting to think that might be his fault, not the casting directors. It’s obvious that the BBC has thrown a fair bit of money at this production; hiring big names like Brian Cox and Jim Broadbent. I can’t shake the feeling that maybe a few more Russian names might have helped ground the production in reality.
We’ve seen plenty of historical TV in the last few years, so it’s not as if this gives us something we’ve been missing. It’s always good to see stories from a different perspective, and that Russian view is something the west could appreciate right now. However, War and Peace feels as though it is holding out on us. As of yet, we’ll hold judgement til the series has run its course, but I still think it has a lot to prove.