Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Masterpiece Theater—Jane Eyre

In a convenient coincidence, PBS decided to show this production of Jane Eyre only a few weeks after I finally got around to reading the book for the first time. Having greatly enjoyed the novel, I was happy to tune in, though Sunday night was so crowded (with The Dresden Files and Battlestar Galactica) I had to record it. It's definitely well worth a watch. The adaptation by Sandy Welch is a strongly scripted and faithful adaptation of the book, from the dour Jane (Ruth Wilson) to the snooty Blanche (Christina Cole--Hex) to the dark and sinister Thornfield Hall, as much a character in the story as any of the humans. My only real quibble is the casting of Toby Stephens as Rochester. He just doesn't look the part to me. Rochester is described in the book as a large, imposing, dark and craggy man, and Stephens is none of those things. Plus when he turns his head the right way, he looks just like Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) on Scrubs. I kept expecting him to call Jane "Barbie." They should have cast a really big guy with huge shoulders. Yes, I know this is my personal fetish but it's in the book.

In any case, the interplay between Wilson and Stephens is still good, and the adaptation is solid, so I'll definitely be tuning in for part two.

The DVD of this production is available for preorder at, with a release date of February 20. In the meantime, read the book if you haven't already.