• PBS Masterpiece Sanditon

    In the Eye of the Beholder: Georgiana and her Portrait

    If season two of Sanditon showed us anything, it is that the eyes are easily deceived. After a season full of emotional manipulation through gaslighting and rakes disguised as men of gentility, the final episode retained a few surprises, including the revelation that Charles Lockhart (Alexander Vlahos) himself was the heinous family relation after Georgiana’s inheritance. Although intended to shock, Charles’s spurious character was present in early episodes, and not just through the ton’s discomfort with his eccentricity. His applications to paint Georgiana (Crystal Clarke) seem altruistic, yet they display an underlying misogynoir that limits her self-expression. In the context of Sanditon’s historical fiction, Georgiana’s power over the portrayal of…

  • PBS Masterpiece Sanditon

    Vial Treatment: Gaslighting and Sisterhood in Sanditon

    Gaslighting is the through line and ultimate source of tension in season two of Sanditon. This psychological manipulation is present in Captain Lennox’s abuse of Mr. Parker’s trust and the financial entrapment that threatens to sap Sanditon dry, one more in a series of towns he has plundered and left. It occurs in the final episode where Lennox attempts to manipulate Colbourne into feeling a disproportionate amount of guilt for his marriage with Lucy before her affair with Lennox. But the largest perpetrator in the series–to the degree that even Lennox condemns him as a “disgrace”–is, unsurprisingly, Edward Denham. The prevalence of this theme throughout the second season comes at…

  • PBS Masterpiece Sanditon

    Three questions about Andrew Davies’ Sanditon

    Two weeks after Andrew Davies’ PBS Masterpiece Sanditon (2019) concluded, the #sanditonsisterhood continues its bid for a second season. Even some diehard #Sidlotte fans, though, have conveyed disgruntlement about the contrived finale, which completely turned the series on its head with Sidney Parker’s (Theo James) selfless decision to marry Eliza Campion (Ruth Kearny) in order to save his brother’s resort, thereby abruptly ending his and Charlotte’s imminent engagement. Fans have expressed their desire for a “neat ending,” arguing that Jane Austen would have given her readers such an ending. Although the design of the conclusion was meant to breath life into a second season, it has ironically had the opposite…

  • PBS Masterpiece Sanditon

    Episodes Five and Six

    It remains to be seen if Andrew Davies’ Sanditon (2019) will prove popular enough in the USA to justify a second season, but the extreme reactions to the series do not bode well for a continuation. On one end is the #sanditonsisterhood’s plea for a second season, whose hype for the series is indexed under #sanditonseason2, #SaveSanditon, and the compound proper noun, #Sidlotte, after the series protagonists Sidney Parker (Theo James) and Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams). A second season depends entirely on how it fares with American viewers, according to Davies and ITV, since its popularity in Britain was not enough to warrant a second season (Hallemann). On the other,…

  • PBS Masterpiece Sanditon

    Episodes Three and Four

    Although PBS’ Sanditon (2019) has made many departures from the original, incomplete text, the series itself reflects an interest in patriarchal structures inherent to the original text and all of Austen’s published work. As Madeline’s review argues, the older women in Sanditon, while being either idealized or vilified, model potential paths for young women who depend upon their success in the marriage market and their resulting position of operation in a patriarchal society. However, another interesting and related facet of female agency within a patriarchal framework is explored in the relationships of Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) with Miss Lambe (Crystal Clarke) and Clara Brereton (Lily Sacofsky) with Esther Denham (Charlotte…

  • Engraving of Thomas Rowlandson Sea Bathing 1813
    PBS Masterpiece Sanditon

    Episodes One and Two

    Andrew Davies’s 2019 television adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sanditon (1925) promised to be a departure from the text: “there isn’t much of ‘Sanditon,’ a new eight-part Austen adaptation arriving Sunday on PBS’s ‘Masterpiece,’ that was taken directly from the author’s writings” (Suclas, NYTimes). The lack of Austen’s Sanditon in PBS’s Sanditon is abundantly clear in the first two episodes of the series. The first episode quickly diverges from the original plot; and while the viewer will find similarities between the two, the Twitter backlash facing the series becomes increasingly understandable with each episode. In an article for The New York Times, Davies revealed, “‘It’s not a secret that we were…