Reviews: Daniel Deronda

Daniel Deronda (BBC 2002) - Spoilers Marked

Starts off well but ends disappointingly. Though Deronda is the titular character, he doesn't really have a huge presence until the second episode. Considering it's a four episode series, that's awfully late. Lady Gwendolen, played by Romola Garai, is a headstrong young woman and is really the focus. It is her character is developed, her character who begins and ends the series. While she is selfish and spoiled, she is just a teenage girl and by the end of the series, you'd be crazy not to love her. The story is best-known for its depiction of Jewish communities. The romanticism of the Jewish faith as a mystical, spiritual religion was a bit over the top but it's nice to see Jewish characters get so much screen time, especially in a story set in the 19th century.

My only complaint is in Mirah. The actress was fine but the character was introduced late, given very few scenes outside of her retelling a tragic backstory and singing. She was not developed. At all. The series really could have used an extra episode to give her more scenes.

Rating: 3/5 I'm going to have spoilers now, so if you haven't seen it, stop reading.



I'm giving you all this time and tons of space.



Mirah and Daniel's relationship is extraordinarily dull. I honestly was convinced they would discover they were secretly siblings at some point. It is almost shocking that Gwendolen and Daniel don't end up together, considering the extreme sexual tension between the two in every scene they share. Of course, it is important for Gwendolen to learn that she cannot have everything and everyone she wants. I could accept the ending happily, be glad to see Gwendolen moving on and vowing "to live" if Mirah was better written. It isn't even until Daniel's friend, the artist Hans, mentions his own interest in Mirah (and Hans clearly adores her) that Daniel seems to take an interest. When Daniel proposes to Mirah and she accepts, it is a scene so unromantic and devoid of electricity it rivals Mr. Collins' proposal to Elizabeth Bennet. I like Hugh Dancy and I like Daniel, but he was terribly unromantic.