Television: Parade's End (Episode 1/5)

It's no secret I like Benedict Cumberbatch. Or I did like him once. I can't decide now whether I still do.

I also like Tom Stoppard, for what it's worth. I'm not so familiar with Ford Madox Ford's work, but I looked him up and was happy to see he and I have the same birthday (though not the same year, as you might guess, because I am not old and dead).

Anyway, I usually also enjoy period pieces. Not war stories so much, but this first installment of Parade's End does not yet feature the beginning of World War I. And still, despite the lovely art direction, I found my attention wandering here. I mostly had the sense they'd given Cumberbatch a bit too much to carry, and the whole of the thing might have done better to spread its weight over other characters. Benny's lovely to look at (aside from a weak chin), but I'm starting to have the feeling he does a lot of the same kind of thing, plays a lot of the same kind of character(s) across many movies and shows. It does make me curious about Star Trek, though. Maybe that will be different.

Too, I'm beginning to notice a lot of his acting is done via a specific set of facial expressions. And that most of these are made by his moving his mouth in certain ways.

The problem is, once you see these things, you can't not see them and they become distracting. I suppose I could try to trick myself into believing it was all in my head and attempt to view the next installment with a fresh eye. I do intend to watch more in any case. I'm sort of hoping I'm wrong and that my first impression is off the mark. But I don't have the knack for simply liking something (or someone) because I want to like it (him/her). I can't help but think honestly and critically (something many fans lack the ability to do). Maybe it's the years of film school, but really I think I was always this way.

To sum up, I'd say it's a mediocre start. But I'll stick it out in hopes it gets better.

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