Aug 31, 2020

The Top 9 DIckensian Hunks of "Dickensian"

If you're like most people, you had to read Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities in high school, and you know A Christmas Carol from the innumerable parodies and homages.  The only novels you've read willingly are Great Expectations and Oliver Twist.  The others are mostly a hodgepodge of half-remembered anecdotes.  Didn't they line up at the docks in America to see if Little Nell lived?  Didn't someone criticize Barnaby Rudge as "half genius, half fudge"?  Is it true that Nicholas Nickleby has 138 named characters?

Now image a tv series where many named characters from across the novles are living in London at the same time, interacting with each other.  Fun, huh?  Imagine Tiny Tim and Little Eva on a play date, or Ebenezer Scrooge courting Miss Havisham, or Bill Sykes joining Fagin in skulduggery.

The problem is, Dickensian stars many of the minor characters from the books, but none of the stars.  Oliver Twist, Pip, and Nicholas Nickleby are absent.  Other characters are changed beyond recognition.  Miss Havisham is in her 20s, not yet jilted by her fiancee, nor does it seem like such a jilting would faze the strong-as-nails, assertive, self-actualized heroine.

You're supposed to have fun recognizing the characters, but for most viewers, it won't happen -- wait, every version of A Christmas Carol shows Bob Cratchit with a wife, a teenage daughter, and a young son.  Who the heck is Peter Cratchit?  (In the book Bob has five kids).

Except for a few stars, you'd be better off taking Dickensian as a mid-Victorian murder mystery that becomes so involved and convoluted that you expect Sherlock Holmes to show up any moment.  But he's still a boy, and not Dickensian.

Let's just go through some of the main characters:

1. Amelia Havisham, cut off from  most of her father's fortune due to the sexist Victorian inheritance laws, sets her sights on the wealthy Compyson (Tom Weston-Jones, top photo)

2. She doesn't realize that he is conspiring with her brother Arthur (Joseph Quinn, left), who was also cut off because he is gay (not in Dickens).

3. Peter Cratchit (Brenock O'Connor), Bob's oldest son, begins dating Little Nell.

4 Jacob Marley is murdered, and Inspector Bucket (From Bleak House) suspects Scrooge, then Bob Cratchit.  Meanwhile he investigates Bill Sikes (Mark Stanley, left), and runs afoul of criminal mastermind Fagin (Anton Lesser)

There are various other interconnected plots, but I imagine you're anxious to get to the beefcake.

5. Oliver Coopersmith as John Bagnet from Bleak House

6. John Heffernan as Jaggers, from Great Expectations.

7. Ukweli Roach as Sergeant George from Bleak House.

9..  Winston Radjou-Pujalte as the Artful Dodger.

Oh, and Oliver Twist does finally show up.  Just as Miss Havisham is sitting amid the ruins of her cancelled wedding, and Scrooge is visited by the three Christmas ghosts.


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