Austen Month, Book Review

Book and TV Series Review: Sanditon

Approximately 400 years ago (because the beginning of February is clearly from a different timeline than the one we’re currently in) I watched PBS’s Sanditon miniseries. I also read the unfinished novel. Initially, my plan was to pop-off about the show because I have a lot of Thoughts. But now life is weird and I’m tired, so this will be a much less detailed review.

So let’s start with the unfinished novel(by Jane Austen, if you’re unfamiliar).

This couple wrecks their carriage going to fast over the rough road or something and a nearby family helps them out. Enter Charlotte, one of the many children of her parents, who meets this couple and ends up going with them to their beach town, Sanditon, because they seem nice and that’s a thing people did back then, I guess (sending their kid off with strangers).

In the novel, Charlotte heads off with the couple (whose names I forget and am too lazy to Google), gets to town, meets the husband’s 3 hypochondriac siblings and his one “normal” one and that’s basically where it ends.

Honestly, it was boring. I’ve heard some people say they love this piece of work (I’ve even seen characters in movies who say this is their favorite Austen novel) and my response is, “I don’t get it.” I don’t feel like we even got to know Charlotte. Now, this is of course because Austen died before she could write much of this novel. But, to me, it didn’t really feel like her work. I didn’t get a feel for the characters or the tone of the story. It just felt like a lot of descriptions of the beach town and not much else. Womp, womp.

The show, however, is merely season 1 and the ending clearly sent the message that PBS hopes to have at least a second season.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed the show and would definitely watch a second season though I really wish they would have kept it to one season. It’s clear the producers of the show took what was essentially a grain of sand (pun intended?) from Austen and fucking ran a marathon with it .

I loved Charlotte – she means well, but speaks her mind and her judgments of people get her into trouble. Like Emma,  she’s sharp, but her humor is more kindhearted. Many of the characters grew on me at the end, like the two hypochondriac siblings  –  they cut the third – and Esther. Also, Mr. Stringer is bae. TEAM STRINGER FOR LIFE. Ahem.

The show is definitely racier than any period Austen interpretation I’ve seen. There are several allusions to sex and sexual activities – ok, actually some blatant depictions too – and lots of smooching (I fully support smooching in Austen adaptations). I’m ok with this, but I was cruising the Amazon reviews of the series and a lot of people were unhappy with that, so make of it what you will.

What I’m not happy with is the ending! As I said earlier, I think they should have just stuck to one season. But more so than that, I take issue with how the very last scene played out. I think it was some bullshit and it honestly pissed me off and almost ruined the entire series for me. Usually, I’m not one to react like that, but I was really invested in everything, and going into the show, I assumed it was only one season. It threw me for sure.

In all, I’d recommend the series if you’re an Austen fan, or a fan of period shows/films. Just be prepared to be left hanging at the end. If you’ve watched it and wanna chat, I’m happy to do so!


Now, if you’re a fan of my ranting note lists and you don’t mind some random spoilers, feel free to read on for some “bonus content” because I don’t want my notes to go to waste:

  • I do wish Austen used a wider variety of character names
  • OMG people fucked on a floor!
  • Watching Stringer get Ye Olde Friend-Zoned by Charlotte is killing me
  • Babbington is so damn cute
  • 100% support Redeemed Esther
  • OMG Stringer’s dad – why does he get the short end of the stick every time!? JUSTICE FOR STRINGER
  • This has to have a happy ending, that’s how Austen works! The “good” get rewarded and the “bad” get what’s coming to them.
  • WTF Sidney?!
  • Sidney has been a dick from the start and I don’t get what Charlotte sees in him. How can Stringer be second fiddle to that asshole?
  • Holy shit this show won’t stop shitting on Mr. Stringer
  • How can Charlotte still be nice to Sidney after everything!?

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