I agree with everything you've said @Umbelina. The writing could have been better, but the casting really let me down. Let's set aside Matthew and Diana for the moment and all the problems I have with them. I can get over Miriam being almost as tall as Matthew, or Nathaniel being a black Englishman instead of a blond Australian, or even Marcus being Hugo from Killing Eve (and it took me a really long time to figure that out, despite the shows being back to back) instead of a blond, surfer-looking American, but Lindsay Duncan (as lovely as she is) is simply too old at 68 to be Ysabeau. She is supposed to look younger than Matthew. I don't get it..did TPTB think the viewers wouldn't understand how Matthew's "mother" could be younger than him? I really hope you're wrong about the character you put in the spoiler bar, because he's one of my favorites and that will piss me off, but I fear you are correct. I almost can't wait to see how they screw up
The less said about Baldwin the better.
After initially being very let down by the casting of Matthew and Diana, I guess I'm getting used to them, although I still don't see much chemistry between them (and I still don't think Matthew Good is physically imposing enough).
The only characters I think they got spot-on were Juliette and Dominico. They look pretty much exactly like I thought they should (the girl who played Juliette is gorgeous, and she actually showed some spunk!)
First point - as a vertically challenged person myself, AMEN!
Second point - that makes no sense at all. We are seeing the events from the first book, in which we are explicitly told by Diana that Ysabeau looks like she is in her early 30's. How "recent trauma" might have affected her doesn't mean squat. Sounds like they wanted to use Lindsey Duncan and they're trying to justify it.
I snipped most of your post for length, but I agreed with all of it, too.
I wish there was a book thread as well, because I would love to have a place to discuss them without bothering the non-book readers.
Despite my complaints, I'm glad to read above that the show has been renewed for a 2nd & 3rd season. The 2nd book was my favorite and I'm really looking forward to seeing it on screen (praying they don't mess it up too badly).