Period Drama Review: To the Ends of the Earth (2005)

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“This is a godless vessel. What a man does defiles him,
not what is done by others.” -Parson Colley

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To the Ends of the Earth is a three-part drama based on William Golding’s sea trilogy. I consider this series to be a hidden gem in my book because I get to enjoy watching hours of swoon-worthy Benedict Cumberbatch. He plays main-character Edmund Talbot, a narrow-minded and arrogant aristocrat who travels on a ship to New South Wales to take up a post with its governor.

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Without any knowledge of what this drama is about, one might expect this series to be a light-hearted and comic romp. The first-half of episode 1 certainly gives off this vibe, what with Talbot’s humorous but shallow interactions with (seemingly) one-dimensional characters.

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However, To the Ends of the Earth is anything BUT a pure light-hearted comedy.

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As the first episode progresses the underlying darkness beneath the frivolity becomes evident. What follows is the stripping of comedy to reveal a reality that is depressing, though in a way that is morally significant.

All three episodes revolve around different events/characters, through which the darker side of human nature is uncovered.

And, understandably, by the last episode Talbot is very much a changed man. He’s come to know fear, death, friendship and love.

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But be warned: The directing of this drama left me seasick. I, the audience, suffered along with the characters in their nausea from being swayed-to-and-fro with no steady ground to stand on. I never realized how brutal and even demoralizing a voyage across the seas could be in the 19th century until I watched this series.

To the Ends of the Earth is an entertaining watch, especially for those searching for a way to counter their Cumberbatch-BBC’s Sherlock withdrawal. BUT! I’ve heard here and there that this adaptation isn’t nearly as good as the book. I watched this with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised so I’ll give this period drama somewhere between 7-7.5/10

 

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ParadesEndP.S. I’m having so much fun updating my Period Drama Ratings Page. Recent update: a mini-review of Parade’s End – also starring Benedict Cumberbatch. (Yes, I am currently obsessed with all things Cumberbatch)

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