Acorn Media // 1974 // 1335 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 14th, 2013
A classier version of Dynasty.
If you've got 23 hours to kill and are a fan of Victorian England, then I come bearing fantastic news! Acorn, purveyors of all things delightful from across the pond have the 40th anniversary edition of BBC's epic series The Pallisers. If the subject matter is of even the most remote interest to you, then you'd be hard-pressed to find as much bang for your buck.
Said subject matter: a sprawling narrative of an aristocratic family maneuvering through the labyrinth of Victorian politics and power marriages. Based on the novels of Anthony Trollope, The Pallisers is told in 26 parts, with each installment clocking in at just north of 50 minutes.
Originally airing in 1974, the show loads up on the plot and character arcs, examining the family as it intersects with the government and the culture. I joke about Dynasty, but this is the granddaddy of those prime time soaps. Lots of players, lots of drama, betrayal, corruption, ambition, greed, tomfoolery and all manner of elderly, ill-tempered well-dressed white men.
This show is no breezy experience. You will have to commit and lock in, following the adventures of the family from the first episode onward. This is not something to just hop into mid-show and go along for the ride. Plots are dense and there is very little action outside of sets and actors and dialogue to break things up. In many ways, The Pallisers reminded me of the longest, most exquisitely production designed play ever made.
Still, bear with it and you'll be rewarded with enough narrative to drown a yak. Perfect, I dare say, for the geriatric retiree in your life!
Acorn's set: eight discs, old-school full frame, 2.0 stereo, a 2000 interview with actress Susan Hampshire, Anthony Trollope materials and a weighty hard copy episode guide.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 1335 Minutes
Release Year: 1974
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Author Materials
* Viewers Guide