BFS Video // 2011 // 225 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 3rd, 2012
Doing their bit for the war.
While the men were away in World War II, groups of dedicated hard-working women took to the fields, working the land in the absence of the male farmers. Known as "Land Girls," they made sure England's agricultural engine continued to churn.
The series Land Girls was commissioned by the BBC in honor of the 70th anniversary of the war, and audience popularity has carried it through three series worth of episodes. This latest installment finds the three core land girls -- Iris (Lou Broadbent), Joyce (Becci Gemmell), and Connie (Seline Hizil) -- hacking away at the lush British countryside, tilling their hearts out, while balancing a multitude of side dramas, including romances, betrayal, domestic abuse, and diabolical spycraft. This is the total package: angst-ridden sentimentality mixed with Nazi-punching espionage.
Okay, I may have oversold it a bit. The war drama is fairly muted, trumped by the relationship shorelines, but the writers have done a great job maintaining a balance and paying off the thriller elements in a big (surprisingly fiery!) way.
At its core, Land Girls is very much a series my wife would enjoy. And I'm not saying that in a sexist manner; the demographic tends to be more female, and my wife lamented the fact that I only had the third series on hand to review. The relationships are the primary plot generators and there's plenty of bodacious emotion to go around. But guys, don't feel like watching this show is punitive. There's stuff here for you too (as long as I'm grossly over-generalizing gender stereotypes!).
The production design is especially impressive, staged with a tangible cinematic feel. Despite the World War II setting -- and a handful of combat scenes sprinkled throughout -- the overall feel of Land Girls is bright and agrarian, delivering a warm, nostalgic feel.
Two discs, five episodes, 225 minutes, transferred in a very nice standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, complemented by an effective Dolby 2.0 stereo mix. The total lack of extras is a missed opportunity, considering all the history wrapped up in the series.
If you're suffering from Downton Abbey withdrawal, I suggest giving this show a spin.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BFS Video
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 225 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated