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Sanditon

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An eight-part period-drama adaptation of Jane Austin's final novel, written only months before her death in 1817. Rose Williams and Theo James play the lead characters of Charlotte Heywood and Sidney Parker. The story follows Charlotte as she moves to the quiet fishing village of Sanditon for a fresh start, only to meet Sidney, a charming man who has ambitions to turn the tranquil seaside residence into a luxury resort. Written by Emmy and BAFTA award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies.

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Some text from the Masterpiece site that lists more of the actors we'll be seeing:

Quote

MASTERPIECE’s bold and lavish adaptation of Jane Austen’s final work stars Rose Williams (Curfew) as Austen’s lively but levelheaded heroine, Charlotte Heywood; Theo James (Divergent) as the humorous, charming (and slightly wild!) Sidney Parker; Anne Reid (Years and Years) as the forthright grande dame of Sanditon, Lady Denham; Kris Marshall (Love Actually) as Sanditon’s compulsively enterprising promoter, Tom Parker; and Crystal Clarke (Ordeal by Innocence) as the mysterious West Indian heiress, Miss Lambe.

This runs through 2/23/2020 (check local listings though). This already aired in the UK (on ITV).

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I read that the developers have already announced that the series didn't do well enough in England to warrant a second season.  There was a slight hope held out that it would be so popular in the States that they might reconsider.

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I was not familiar with Sanditon.  Based on the Wikipedia article the first two episodes are already passed what Jane Austen completed.  It's interesting that they've marketed this so heavily as an Austen adaptation when it's more of a jumping off point.

I haven't decided what I think about the first two episodes yet.

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Maybe I'm starved for Austen.  Maybe Theo James looking pretty and being surly is a legit mood.  Either way, I think I'm in.  It has a bit more "modernity" (my husband walked in on the scandalous scene...he asked if there was a handjob in the woods happening on PBS) than Austen usually allows for, but I really like the setting, the possible female friendships that could happen, and the nuance of 3 very different brothers looking out for each other.  

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Theo James is so hot.  He can smolder at me anytime.

I only watched the first episode and I loved it.  I've been starved for a good romantic costume drama.  This will hopefully fill the void until the Bridgerton saga starts.

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6 hours ago, Clawdette said:

I read that the developers have already announced that the series didn't do well enough in England to warrant a second season.

That's disappointing to hear. I watched the first 2 eps and I absolutely LOVED it.

Sidney is definitely fine to look at, but rather than "humorous and charming" as per the Masterpiece site, I found him to be an insufferable prick. It'll be interesting to see how the character evolves.

I'm in.

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1 hour ago, Lily H said:

Sidney is definitely fine to look at, but rather than "humorous and charming" as per the Masterpiece site, I found him to be an insufferable prick. It'll be interesting to see how the character evolves.

I had the same opinion of Sidney. It made realize that Austen has certain archetypes that she uses again and again. There's the surly, but noble hero. The charming, but manipulative rake. The foolish and ridiculous interloper. The kind and gentle, but oblivious older gentleman. And the rich old bitch.

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I just watched all 8 Episodes.*  Needless to say, I liked it pretty well.  IMDb has a link to 2020 episodes and I got excited that maybe they had confirmed a second season.  It appears, however, that it's merely the US airing dates. I hope it does well enough to compel further episodes.  

I'll return when everyone catches up to discuss why not having a second season would be a tragedy.

 

 

*PBS app drops entire seasons rather than weekly.  I have no idea if it is free or a pay subscription which I happen to get because I'm a sustaining member of my local station.

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Usually I love this sort of thing, but I watched "Howards End" first from 8 to 9 and "Sandition" paled a little by comparison.  I do wish the two shows had been spread out a little.

Edited by JudyObscure
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5 hours ago, HunterHunted said:

I had the same opinion of Sidney. It made realize that Austen has certain archetypes that she uses again and again. There's the surly, but noble hero. The charming, but manipulative rake. The foolish and ridiculous interloper. The kind and gentle, but oblivious older gentleman. And the rich old bitch.

Yes and the kindly but timid father.  Charlotte's father who never went beyond five miles from home reminded me of "Emma's" father who was so fearful of catching cold.  

The characters I found hard to believe ever coming from Jane Austen's pen were the angry young black woman with attitude, the "woke" young Charlotte who constantly squinted her eyes in annoyance, the ridiculously greedy and  lazy fat man, the young lady who gave hand jobs because she had been sexually assaulted as a little girl, and the gentleman who walked out of the water to expose full frontal nudity to a young lady.  It's easy to tell the Andrew Davies influence.  

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5 hours ago, JudyObscure said:

Usually I love this sort of thing, but I watched "Howards End" first from 8 to 9 and "Sandition" paled a little by comparison.  I do wish the two shows had been spread out a little.

I feel the same way.  I needed someone NOT to like in Sanditon, some conflict.  None of the characters felt like real people, compared to everyone from Howard's End -- heck, even the postman there had personality.  Charlotte's wide-eyed expression got old really fast.  Lady Denham is way too mild and too friendly.  (I've only watched the first hour though.)

Maybe the thing would be to wait and watch Sanditon later, when Howard's End isn't fresh in my mind.

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2 hours ago, JudyObscure said:

The characters I found hard to believe ever coming from Jane Austen's pen were the angry young black woman with attitude, the "woke" young Charlotte who constantly squinted her eyes in annoyance, the ridiculously greedy and  lazy fat man, the young lady who gave hand jobs because she had been sexually assaulted as a little girl, and the gentleman who walked out of the water to expose full frontal nudity to a young lady.  It's easy to tell the Andrew Davies influence.  

Which is why I found it rather amusing! and then when I read it was based on a Jane Austin novel I was like-- whaaaaaaT!!!??? Because there was most def some racy parts that I have never read or seen in a Jane Austin novel.

Anyway I am in. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Love the costumes! I love the main character -- she is quite lovely and I always enjoy looking at a pretty face. and of course pretty dude with the attitude is her love interest! Oh yeah.

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I enjoyed playing the usual "where do I know that actor from?"  Usually from BBC series, but Charlotte stumped me until I realized she played Princess Claude on Reign.

I hadn't heard anything about this series before I watched it, so I didn't know it was based on Jane Austen.  When I watched, I kept thinking how much like Austen it sounded!  Familiar language, familiar characters...

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5 hours ago, JudyObscure said:

The characters I found hard to believe ever coming from Jane Austen's pen were the angry young black woman with attitude, the "woke" young Charlotte who constantly squinted her eyes in annoyance, the ridiculously greedy and  lazy fat man, the young lady who gave hand jobs because she had been sexually assaulted as a little girl, and the gentleman who walked out of the water to expose full frontal nudity to a young lady.  It's easy to tell the Andrew Davies influence.  

These things made a mockery of both Austen and the genre, really.  The only way I can watch this is if I think of it as a parody since it's certainly not period nor Austen. 

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1 hour ago, izabella said:

These things made a mockery of both Austen and the genre, really.  The only way I can watch this is if I think of it as a parody since it's certainly not period nor Austen. 

I wanted to love this show so much, but too racy & too modern!  In addition to Izabella's observations - women didn't walk outside without a bonnet.   There was Charlotte, with her hair wet, and exposed.   Also the brother/sister: aside from the incestuous overtones, her hair looks like Veronica Lake.   Howard's End was spot on - faithful to the times & book.   I will watch the rest of Sanditon, unless it gets increasingly "unJanelike".

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2 minutes ago, Doublemint said:

I will watch the rest of Sanditon, unless it gets increasingly "unJanelike".

Since Downton Abbey ended, I'm starved for anything period.  I'll keep watching for that reason.

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I didn't like it, but I'll keep watching hoping that maybe it will get better?  It's hardly Jane Austen though.  Sidney (Darcy 2.0) Charlotte (Elizabeth B.), Sidney's sister reminded me of Jane Fairfaxes Aunt in Emma.  The brother and step sister are gross and some how related to the rich old lady?  But the poor niece is as well?  

Sidney's involvement with the girl from Antigua is puzzling, why on earth would they have brought her to England?

I don't find Charlotte all that likeable but atleast the heroine comes from a middle class family this time and doesn't have to marry for money if she doesn't want to.

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2 hours ago, Doublemint said:

I wanted to love this show so much, but too racy & too modern!  In addition to Izabella's observations - women didn't walk outside without a bonnet.   There was Charlotte, with her hair wet, and exposed.   Also the brother/sister: aside from the incestuous overtones, her hair looks like Veronica Lake.   Howard's End was spot on - faithful to the times & book.   I will watch the rest of Sanditon, unless it gets increasingly "unJanelike".

Yes, I too found that Sanditon (at least the first episode) suffered in comparison to Howard's End. Others have already highlighted the failings of Sanditon (manners, dress, and for me, some of the language). One other thing: the acting in HE is so much more deft and "watchable". I don't know if this is due to my love of Haley Atwell...and although I've had a crush on Theo James for a long time, even he's not enough to elevate the material given to him. Of course I'll still watch Sanditon because I love costume dramas - esp. Jane Austen costume dramas. 

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To be clear, Sanditon is an unfinished novel by Jane Austen.  That's why the show "doesn't feel like Jane Austen".  She worked on it for less than 2 months before she died and completed only 11 chapters.  It should be considered a first draft, and only she knew the complete story, if she had even plotted it out that far.  There have been multiple attempts to complete the novel but I don't think any of them have been successful.  I've read one or two and they were totally blah and left no strong impression with me. 

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I keep seeing Theo James as Mr Pamuk with eyes wide open and dead from messing around with Lady Mary in DA....

Anytime there are bonnets, waistcoats and heaving bosoms in the empire dresses...I'll be tuning in....

 

Edited by humbleopinion
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I’ll be watching Sanditon for the eye candy, but Howard’s End for the brain candy.  

The show could definitely use more subtlety. When Edward and Esther Denham were introduced, they might as well each been wearing and twisting mustaches.  It was comedic and not in an intentional way.

Fun fact: 

Jack Fox plays Edward.  I wondered why he looked familiar to me, and it’s because he is the brother of Laurence Fox from Victoria and Becoming Jane.

 

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Charlotte Spenser plays Esther Dunham and channeling the disdainful looks of Kelly Reilly who played Caroline Bingley in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice..they have similar facial features....

However, the champ at the slow burn look of Disdain is Anna Chancellor who will forever be the best Caroline Bingley in the 1995 P and P..

 

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I agree with the comments about the disconnect with fully Austen works.  I think I'll have an easier time watching this if I think of it as an Andrew Davies original.

1 hour ago, Mrs Shibbles said:

Jack Fox plays Edward.  I wondered why he looked familiar to me, and it’s because he is the brother of Laurence Fox from Victoria and Becoming Jane.

Their father James Fox and uncle Edward Fox are also costume drama veterans.

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I don't know what that was, but it wasn't Jane Austen.

Austen provided the initial structure but I'm pretty sure she didn't write in the incest or the sexual aggression, or the "hero" being incredibly rude to the heroine (and not just in a Mr. Darcy rude way). At this point, I want Charlotte to push Sidney off the cliff Miss Lambe was standing on.

I don't doubt that al fresco hand jobs went on during Austen's time. But Austen wrote Sir Edward and Clara (?) sitting on a bench talking, and that would have interested me more.

Andrew Davies stole his own iconic Colin Firth scene where Mr. Darcy swims the pond and rises with a wet, clinging shirt and transformed it into Sydney coming out of the ocean to stand completely nude in front of Charlotte who he barely knows as a young woman staying with his brother's family. This is the show's hero, arrogant and disrespectful to an innocent young lady who has done him no harm.

Lady Denham were as rude as Lady Catherine but illogically capricious. There appear to be 3 Mr. Wickhams.

5 hours ago, scenicbyway said:

Sidney's involvement with the girl from Antigua is puzzling, why on earth would they have brought her to England?

In the book (I've heard), her parents are alive and wish to rent a house in England. Making her an orphan and Sidney her guardian seems like unnecessary drama to me, what's interesting about her is her fortune vs how the English treat a POC.

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9 minutes ago, MisterGlass said:
1 hour ago, Mrs Shibbles said:

Jack Fox plays Edward.  I wondered why he looked familiar to me, and it’s because he is the brother of Laurence Fox from Victoria and Becoming Jane.

Their father James Fox and uncle Edward Fox are also costume drama veterans.

And cousin Emilia Fox played Georgiana Darcy in Davies' 2005 Pride and Prejudice.

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9 hours ago, norcalgal said:

Yes, I too found that Sanditon (at least the first episode) suffered in comparison to Howard's End.

I'm surprised that so many people seem to feel this way. I had the completely opposite opinion. I found Howard's End stultifyingly boring, so much so that I dozed off twice in the first episode. Sanditon was much more lively and it grabbed me from the start.

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11 hours ago, Mrs Shibbles said:

 

Jack Fox plays Edward.  I wondered why he looked familiar to me, and it’s because he is the brother of Laurence Fox from Victoria and Becoming Jane.

 

Ooh ooh, good catch,  I love the Fox men.  I know Laurence best from playing Hathaway in "Lewis" and I call their father, "Lord Darlington" from his role in  "Remains of the Day." They are a tall, handsome bunch indeed. 

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On 1/13/2020 at 1:29 AM, Lily H said:

Sidney is definitely fine to look at, but rather than "humorous and charming" as per the Masterpiece site, I found him to be an insufferable prick. It'll be interesting to see how the character evolves

Austen may very well have invented the trope of Insufferable-Is-Revealed-to-be-Endearing. 

-

 

On 1/13/2020 at 7:58 AM, JudyObscure said:

Charlotte who constantly squinted her eyes

I kept wondering if the actress needed glasses. The camera work made her look breathtakingly beautiful, but the dialogue did not support that notion, neither did the post-episode interview with her. Maybe she was directed to not wear contacts for the close ups, and the director or camera person didn’t know she would be legally blind without corrective lenses.
Or maybe I’m just projecting my personal experiences with nearsightedness in an effort to make sense of all the annoying squinting. 

-

 

16 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

To be clear, Sanditon is an unfinished novel by Jane Austen.  That's why the show "doesn't feel like Jane Austen".  She worked on it for less than 2 months before she died and completed only 11 chapters.  It should be considered a first draft, and only she knew the complete story, if she had even plotted it out that far.  There have been multiple attempts to complete the novel but I don't think any of them have been successful.  I've read one or two and they were totally blah and left no strong impression with me. 

Yes. Decades ago I read the version of Sanditon “finished” by another author. It was disappointingly Not like her others. So far this version is not worse, as far as I recall. 
Davies probably knows Austen better than any of the writers who managed to get their versions of Sanditon published. 
 

Was there an African Black, West-Indian heiress in Austen’s Sanditon chapters? I don’t remember any of it, except maybe the opening scene with the carriage accident, and the name of “Miss Lambe” is familiar.  I like the character of Miss Lambe in the show but am wondering if she could have existed or if she is entirely made new for this version. 
 

 

Edited by shapeshifter
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38 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Was there an African heiress in Austen’s Sanditon chapters?

Isn't she from Antigua, in the West Indies?

I have read other stories where wealthy heiresses from the West Indies come to England to find husbands.

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16 hours ago, humbleopinion said:

I keep seeing Theo James as Mr Pamuk with eyes wide open and dead from messing around with Lady Mary in DA....

Anytime there are bonnets, waistcoats and heaving bosoms in the empire dresses...I'll be tuning in....

 

Due to recentcy (not a typo) bias, I see Theo James as Four from the Divergent movies.

And count me in as one of those for whom Empire-era stories are my catnip.

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3 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Austen may very well have invented the trope of Insufferable-Is-Revealed-to-be-Endearing.

I know he was probably meant to appear Darcy-like, but to me he crossed the line from "he can be a supercilious boor at times but he's handsome and dashing so we'll make allowances" to unforgivably and unnecessarily rude, mean, and just plain nasty. He asked her for her opinion at that ball, and then skewered her when she gave it. His deficiency of character (as portrayed thus far) outweighs his pretty face. This is Austen, though, so I'm sure he will be redeemed.

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On 1/13/2020 at 11:01 AM, treeofdreams said:

I hadn't heard anything about this series before I watched it, so I didn't know it was based on Jane Austen.  When I watched, I kept thinking how much like Austen it sounded!  Familiar language, familiar characters...

yup! Me too! I kept thinking -- these characters remind me so much of Jane Austen characters!

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12 hours ago, Lily H said:

I'm surprised that so many people seem to feel this way. I had the completely opposite opinion. I found Howard's End stultifyingly boring, so much so that I dozed off twice in the first episode. Sanditon was much more lively and it grabbed me from the start.

Thank you! I didn't make it through 1 ep.

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1 hour ago, Lily H said:

This is Austen, though, so I'm sure he will be redeemed.

But Austen didn't write the ending, so who knows? As far as I can tell (I've only read up to chapter 7 but have skimmed ahead), the character never actually appears "onstage" in the book. He's merely mentioned in a way that suggests he might later play a bigger role. The character is purely a Davies creation based on Austen mentioning his existence and something about his circumstances and status. He strikes me as Darcy meets Mr. Knightley, with maybe a dash of Willoughby (since he seems to be a partier, possibly a bit of a rake, in a way that the other two weren't).

Really, all that happens in the part Austen wrote was setting the story in motion by getting Charlotte to Sanditon and mentioning the coming of Miss Lambe the heiress, and introducing most of the characters. The TV version passed what Austen wrote in the first half hour or so.

I suspect the young architect/engineer guy (Stringer? or something like that) might also end up being a possible romantic interest. He really reacted to Charlotte saying something that suggested she was somewhat knowledgeable, and the camera zoomed in on his reaction (so it wasn't just a background actor playing it up), then later Charlotte encountered him while walking, and then the actor was featured in interviews in the little "Inside Sanditon" features my PBS station showed to fill out the hour. That all suggests to me that he'll play a bigger role down the line.

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59 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

suspect the young architect/engineer guy (Stringer? or something like that) might also end up being a possible romantic interest. He really reacted to Charlotte saying something that suggested she was somewhat knowledgeable, and the camera zoomed in on his reaction (so it wasn't just a background actor playing it up), then later Charlotte encountered him while walking, and then the actor was featured in interviews in the little "Inside Sanditon" features my PBS station showed to fill out the hour. That all suggests to me that he'll play a bigger role down the line.

For sure the young architect and Charlotte will be betrothed by the series’ end! And if it’s a hit, their gorgeous offspring will go on to bring about breakthroughs in social justice while falling into swoon-inducing love. 
 

Meanwhile, I expect in classic Austenian style that Miss Lambe and Sidney will also be endgame once she is of age to where he is no longer her guardian. 
And some of their offspring can become the objects of affection for Charlotte and the architect’s adult children. 

But it might be better —as well as reflecting Austen’s own feminist independence and the feminism of the audience’s times— if Miss Lambe remains independent of any man. Perhaps she and Sidney will produce a child and then Sidney can die of some accident or disease that the doctors of the time only succeed in making fatal. This would elevate Miss Lambe’s character to being worthy of romantic devotion, and give her a family in the form of a son or daughter. 
 

Whatever happens, with the completed Austen works, the satisfaction comes from seeing how circumstances cause the characters’ fates to enfold rather than revealing a mystery. 
If there is one trait of Austen’s worth preserving in Sanditon, this would be it, and it would also make it part of her body of work —IMO.  

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20 hours ago, humbleopinion said:

Charlotte Spenser plays Esther Dunham and channeling the disdainful looks of Kelly Reilly who played Caroline Bingley in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice..they have similar facial features....

However, the champ at the slow burn look of Disdain is Anna Chancellor who will forever be the best Caroline Bingley in the 1995 P and P..

 

You mean Duck Face from 4 Weddings and a Funeral?  

Edward and Eleanor are villainous, but they have little choice but to make sure They either inherit money, or Edward marries wealthy.  Since Eleanor is poor, she will have problems making a match.  That one guy likes her though, but I don't know if for marrying. Plus, she only has eyes for her step brother.

Is there a Howard's End forum?

Edited by howiveaddict
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It's ok and I'll undoubtedly watch it but I feel it's a little too Jane Austen. Like Andrew Davies thought "This is what Elizabeth would say" and "This is how Darcy would react". And there would never, ever be a hand job mentioned in Austen. She was much too suble for that.

Can anyone explain why Sidney hates notElizabeth so much?

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Modern interpreters of Austen seem to think we need the stories to be racier for us to be interested.  I remember a remake of Mansfield Park as a movie, and I'm quite sure I remember there were things there which were not in the original version.  (Including describing Fanny Price as "spunky", which she most certainly was not.)

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21 hours ago, Lily H said:

I know he was probably meant to appear Darcy-like, but to me he crossed the line from "he can be a supercilious boor at times but he's handsome and dashing so we'll make allowances" to unforgivably and unnecessarily rude, mean, and just plain nasty. He asked her for her opinion at that ball, and then skewered her when she gave it. His deficiency of character (as portrayed thus far) outweighs his pretty face. This is Austen, though, so I'm sure he will be redeemed.

ITA, esp. the bolded part.

19 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

For sure the young architect and Charlotte will be betrothed by the series’ end! And if it’s a hit, their gorgeous offspring will go on to bring about breakthroughs in social justice while falling into swoon-inducing love. 
 

Meanwhile, I expect in classic Austenian style that Miss Lambe and Sidney will also be endgame once she is of age to where he is no longer her guardian. 
And some of their offspring can become the objects of affection for Charlotte and the architect’s adult children. 

But it might be better —as well as reflecting Austen’s own feminist independence and the feminism of the audience’s times— if Miss Lambe remains independent of any man. Perhaps she and Sidney will produce a child and then Sidney can die of some accident or disease that the doctors of the time only succeed in making fatal. This would elevate Miss Lambe’s character to being worthy of romantic devotion, and give her a family in the form of a son or daughter. 
 

Whatever happens, with the completed Austen works, the satisfaction comes from seeing how circumstances cause the characters’ fates to enfold rather than revealing a mystery. 
If there is one trait of Austen’s worth preserving in Sanditon, this would be it, and it would also make it part of her body of work —IMO.  

Count me in as a fledgling Charlotte/Mr. Architect 'shipper, and I too noticed the interaction between the two as having undercurrents of possible romantic interest. 

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I'm deciding to view this as a modern Regency romance by Andrew Davies "inspired by Jane Austen". 

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