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Mercy Street

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The drama about two Civil War volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the conflict begins on New Englander Mary Phinney's first day at Mansion House, a hotel-turned-Union hospital in an occupied Southern town.

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It was interesting start. So many new characters and a nice mix of known actors, character actors and unknown-to-me actors!

 

The show is shipping Mary and Doctor Ted really hard, or at least it seems that it is. I hope they become good work colleges first, as I hope happens with the Green sister and the Queen of the Crimea (tm Doctor Ted.)

 

I can't wait for a real authority-off between the ever-changing-titled Widow Phinney and The Queen of the Crimea! I hope Dix shows up at some point, just to be smug. I really am hopeful that Mary wakes up and utilizes Miss Green. It was a long first day, what with all the blood and everyone peeing and marking territory.  So I hope Mary realizes the help she has at hand and uses it.

 

I think I will enjoy The Matron. She seems to fill the old pro slot, the one who's seen pretty much everything.  Dix, the unofficial doc? I hope he is able to be more open about his skills, at least with the supervision of Doctor Ted.

 

I liked that Mary was made to realize that she does, actually, have a bias. At least with Mary realizing that, she has a chance to act as the change she wants. 

 

I was happily surprised by Gary Cole; man, we are going to get the ugly side of being occupied and being occupiers.  It has the potential to be amazing.

 

So much to enjoy and I think I am all in, even though Mary and I share an uneasiness around blood. But, as Mr. Dix suggested, I am willing to work on that.

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Decent episode. We'll see how things go.

Doctor Ted, lol. My mom, brother and I kept wondering who that was until my brother finally google'd it. It's quite a different role for that actor.

And my precious Joker (I know him from Gotham--Cameron M.) plays Tom Fairfax (that was his name, right?). He has some bad ptsd goin on :(.

I wonder how long Ms. Green can keep that secret. Is she the older or younger of the two girls from the rich family?

I also sensed vibes between Mary and Doctor Ted (let's face it, I don't know his character's name), but I also sensed possible vibes between him and Ms. Green.

From the moment he pulled out the syringe and said it was Morphine, I knew they were going to do a Morphine addiction storyline. The previews for next week seem to prove it.

I like Dix (is that how you spell his name?). Hopefully nothing bad happens to him.

Also, I missed the first minute; did I miss anything? The first thing I saw was Mary sitting on the bench holding a pin/button thing??? I missed something.

Lastly, I founder the other Green sister's (Anna Sophia Something) hair/wig to be rather distracting. The ringlets section was a completely different shade of orange than the top half of her hair. They tried to blend the two around the braided area, but they couldn't hide it from me.

Edited by HoodlumSheep
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Emma did lose her accent at one point; I can't remember when.

I think Mary was holding a locket. Mourning jewelry was popular then, or it could have been conventional. Either way, I imagine it was a photo of her dead husband. I look forward to finding out how she married a baron or whatever he was.

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I'm a bit torn, it was okay. I'm glad Mary did have one flaw because she was starting to feel like too much of a 'modern' character.

Tbh, I think my biggest disappointment is with the Green family. I'm just tired of Civil War era southerners constantly being represented as genteel, hoop skirt wearing, slave owning rich people when that was only a small percentage of the population. I'd like to see a movie/tv show/mini-series explore the confederate experience for a more average family. The Green stuff already feels like the same storyline I've seen in a dozen other shows.

I'll hang around for another episode or two to see if it improves for me though.

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I liked it.  I did get confused when the scene changed from Phinney to the woman getting dressed in her crinolines and such.  I didn't realize that it was a different person and thought we were getting a flashback.  As soon as I get the characters straightened out, I'll like it even better.  The only person I recognized at first was the head of the Green family, and mainly because Gary Cole was the only name I recognized from the credits and I was looking for him.  I was about a third of the way into the episode before I realized who was playing Dr. Foster.  

 

The scenes of medicine that we've seen so far make me want to check out some of the books from my library.  I know we have several on Civil War medicine.   

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I wasn't drawn in by this show.  Something seemed off on the acting with most everyone, more like this was a read through and they were only half in character (except for the over the top "I know Florence" character).  I also don't like Gary Cole in this role - it makes it seem like a LIfetime movie. 

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I'm a bit torn, it was okay. I'm glad Mary did have one flaw because she was starting to feel like too much of a 'modern' character.

I didn't find Mary to be close to flawless at all. Besides only wanting to treat the good guys, it's like she didn't think through the whole "working in a war hospital" plan, considering her squeamishness about blood. To see a wheelbarrow of severed limbs, well, I doubt there's any preparation for that, but it felt like she recoiled from things you'd have expected a nurse to have experienced before. I also wasn't impressed with her correcting people that she was a baroness...really not the time, you know?

The Greens are in an obviously untenable situation...not terribly sympathetic but I wonder when they'll give up the ghost and when the son will finagle a way to join the army.

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Upon further reflection, it isn't just that Mary felt too modern but more that none of the characters felt like real people to me. It seemed like each one was there to fill a quota of the same types of characters often portrayed in Civil War Era productions. I can appreciate the setting is different, ie. a hospital, but I'm disappointed they seem to have chosen to populate it with the same characters. It was only the first episode though, so I'm willing to give future eps the chance to flesh everyone out more.

Edited by GirlvsTV
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none of the characters felt like real people to me. It seemed like each one was there to fill a quota of the same types of characters often portrayed in Civil War Era productions.

I couldn't get over why this woman -- who was a northerner who chose to live in the post-war South -- was being quite so outspoken about the righteousness of the emancipation, the result of a war which had cost everything for the south, not least its dignity and wealth. I didn't believe she would be so clueless or reckless (wrt her own safety) or the head-nurse would have sent her to that nasty wild-west hospital, putting her significant risk to life and limb. I saw the potential for endless predictable damsel-in-distress "drama." The trek up the stairs to her proposed living quarters cemented a character taking inconceivable risk as a woman alone. 

 

I was baffled by the preserved wealth of the Green family and initially also thought it was a flash back.  Again such "modern" argumentative young women. The eye makeup and makeup in general was my deal-breaker and I bailed.   The soldier with gangrenous leg contrasted with the still bleeding eye injury also threw me ... where and when was the battle that cost that soldier his eye?   Yes, it had a Lifetime Movie level of production values. The prospect of Northern white "nobility" teaching life lessons to the rusticated southerners.  I figured black character would arrive eventually and dreaded how the series would deal (or not) with this "white savior" character. 

Edited by SusanSunflower
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I couldn't get over why this woman -- who was a northerner who chose to live in the post-war South -- was being quite so outspoken about the righteousness of the emancipation, the result of a war which had cost everything for the south, not least its dignity and wealth. I didn't believe she would be so clueless or reckless (wrt her own safety) or the head-nurse would have sent her to that nasty wild-west hospital, putting her significant risk to life and limb. I saw the potential for endless predictable damsel-in-distress "drama." The trek up the stairs to her proposed living quarters cemented a character taking inconceivable risk as a woman alone.

I was baffled by the preserved wealth of the Green family and initially also thought it was a flash back. Again such "modern" argumentative young women. The eye makeup and makeup in general was my deal-breaker and I bailed. The soldier with gangrenous leg contrasted with the still bleeding eye injury also threw me ... where and when was the battle that cost that soldier his eye? Yes, it had a Lifetime Movie level of production values. The prospect of Northern white "nobility" teaching life lessons to the rusticated southerners. I figured black character would arrive eventually and dreaded how the series would deal (or not) with this "white savior" character.

I get what you're saying, but Mary didn't come to the post-war South. They're only about a year into the Civil War when she arrives at Mercy Street. Right at the end of this episode the Union soldiers were celebrating the victory at the Battle of Williamsburg which took place in May 1862. I believe that is early enough into the war that the Greens would still have the appearance of wealth and they did mention the lack of food when they were eating breakfast. Plus, the fact that the Father and Son were trying to do business with the Union, I think, indicates the family was getting to the point that finances were starting to concern them. Also, emancipation doesn't occur until 1863 so slavery has not been outlawed in the South yet. However, I do think it was a bit odd to have Mary be so outspoken in a public area about her anti-slavery leanings. Not odd that she had those leanings necessarily, just strange that she would have blurted them out in quite that manner. I agree the makeup and hair for the Green sisters (the younger Green especially) was very distracting though. Something seemed really off about it.

ETA: a bit of googling has informed me that slavery was abolished in Washington in April 1862. Enslaved workers were freed and owners received compensation from the government. This would have occurred right before Mary came to Mercy Street but I don't recall it being referenced in the episode.

Also, I stumbled across this interesting article on free blacks in Washington in the early years of the Civil War from the Washington Post.

Edited by GirlvsTV
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it was the character speaking of emancipation as a "done deal" that made me think the story was taking place later in the war (because I thought the Emancipation Proclamation was later and the reality of emancipation achieved later still ... my misperception, but something I read suggested this series was about the reconstruction era, again, my misunderstanding. 

Northerners might be aghast at the immorality of slavery, while the southerners had crops to plant and harvest and several million "free" African Americans to figure out how to assimilate, as "free" if not necessarily "equal" ... in the opening "trip to the new hospital" we saw black layabouts on the sidewalks as well as white.  

Overall, my sense of being anchored in a place and time was not well-established.  Many freed slaves stayed on the plantation as employees, although I'm not sure how much agricultural labor was needed during the war. 

I just recently discovered that there were quite a number of people/groups advocating the resettlement of ex-slaves "somewhere else" -- Central America or Africa  -- some voluntarily, some incentivized, some involuntarily, and that a fair contingent abolitionists were not demanding racial equality or integration ... many shades and variations, but outcome more uncertain than "live free and prosper" proclamation. 

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how was she made head nurse when blood makes her squeamish and her compassion for the wounded is biased? It all reminds me of some other PBS show about nurses, what was it called? that one was WWII. but seems to be same kind of thing, only here instead of an estranged husband and child, she has a dead husband and title...

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I'm okay with productions having characters pose more modern questions to explain things to modern audiences. Some things need to be setup for modern audiences.

And having watched the PBS documentary series The Abolitionists it didn't strike me as particularly strange that one would be outspoken, because by and large many were. They did view it as a moral question and were often very outspoken about it, so I didn't have problems on that score. But being squeamish seems a definite sign that she didn't think this nursing thing all the way through.

I am somewhat intrigued that the maid dragging the Southern Belle out of the hospital is 'Rose' from Lost, which makes me think there will be some development of that character in later episodes. Also clearly on top of morphine addiction, Dr Ted is going to have issues with racial bias. He may be a Union doctor, but he's from a slave holding Maryland family and had the racial views to go with it.

Gary Cole's family is going to have problems from both sides of the war.

I was somewhat unclear about who Diggs(Dix?) was affiliated to. Which character was that? And why did he come South?

Edited by shipperx
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First, the speach was way too modern.  Also, the doctors and florence nightingale nurses all quoting studies and procedures was more modern age than civil war.  This was emergency medicine.  They would be working to save and not to teach.   I think the writers stole the teaching bit from The Nick.  That was a teaching hospital and not during war.  

 

Also, the Yankees would never have let that southern family stay in their house.  They would have took the hotel and the house for Union use.  Funny the family was at the breakfast table with the soldiers taking food behind them like it was no big deal.  I would think the family would have left town if for nothing else, than to keep their daughters safe from the Yankees.

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I would think the family would have left town if for nothing else, than to keep their daughters safe from the Yankees.

 

It was explained by Mr. Green. He is of the mind-set that the Confederacy will win, so why give up all that he worked for due to some scary moments.

 

We may yet see these Unionists act ungentlemanly towards the sisters Green. Yet, if no one was doing anything more than eating too much, there isn't really anything the Greens can say. For Mr. Green, he is Lando Calrisian from The Empire Strikes Back.  Their city was overrun by an invading force. Green, like Lando, tried to protect those he could. But Darth Vader kept faffing around the deal so that Lando had practically no choice in anything. That is partly what the coffin business talk was about, I believe. Mr. Green trying to keep his family afloat, since he was a proud Son of the South and wasn't going to sign the loyalty oath. They took his hotel and weren't reimbursing him. The army folks were eating their food and dirtying their house. His daughters want to leave. Mr. Green wanted to make as honest a buck while keeping his supposed dignity or reputation by selling coffins to the hospital/Army.  Not saying that Mr. Green is my favorite character, but I can see his side.

 

Mr. Green and Mary's certainty over the Confederacy winning and the abolishment of slavery, respectively, were showing us each character's stubborn beliefs, if not their stubbornness. I have said things in an emphatic way because I truly believed the thought(s). It doesn't mean that what I stated was the objective truth. With this episode being set in 1862, both are very premature in the strength of their convictions.

 

The prospect of Northern white "nobility" teaching life lessons to the rusticated southerners.

 

I did not get that. Everytime someone, from either side of the war, tried to rear that high-horse back, the person was promptly shut down. The hospital was to treat the results of the war, not be another battlefield. I appreciated that. I saw some ads that hinted that sentiment is not universally held, so of course it will be dealt with. 

 

Another thing that seems to seep into every medical show: surgeons looooove 'em some cuttin'. Now Norbert Leo Butz' doctor was generally decent. He didn't have to listen to Doctor Ted or Nurse Mary or anyone. He at least gave them a chance to make a case for whatever. That and was disappointed the Baroness wasn't to make suckling pig.

 

Mary also kept going upstairs because that is where the Matron was taking her initially, in order to find Mary space to sleep/ put her bags. Business kept interrupting things, so Mary was to sleep in a ward, at that night. (Hence the warning for the rat poison.)

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how was she made head nurse when blood makes her squeamish and her compassion for the wounded is biased? It all reminds me of some other PBS show about nurses, what was it called? that one was WWII. but seems to be same kind of thing, only here instead of an estranged husband and child, she has a dead husband and title...

I was wondering about that, too, but I guess Florence Not-tingale was that much of a pill and the other nurses weren't right for the job, either. It's a TV show, so there will be some contrivances.

I took the statements about emancipation as the sort of editorializing in which people engage, based on a mix of personal beliefs, knowledge of current events, and a general sense of the way the wind is blowing, so to speak. Throughout history, people have always privately declared this or that element of political/social change to be "inevitable", sometimes before the law has caught up.

Isn't the Mercy Street Hospital in Union-occupied Alexandria? D.C. emancipation law probably wouldn't apply.

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Upon further reflection, it isn't just that Mary felt too modern but more that none of the characters felt like real people to me. It seemed like each one was there to fill a quota of the same types of characters often portrayed in Civil War Era productions. 

So much this. And anvils were being dropped all over the place. I could do with a little more subtlety.

 

I think the part that drove me the most nuts was Southern Girl (Emma?) asking for and then listening to advice from Northern Nurse (Mary?) moments into their first conversation. (And a conversation that started off rockily to boot.) Sure, it's perfectly natural to seek life advice from a stranger you don't even like...

 

But it's only six episodes, and it has Luke McFarlane, so I'll stick around. Plus I'm curious to see whether Dr. Ted is purely a recreational morphine user, or whether it's treatment for some underlying injury/ condition. (In other words, was the anvil of his clumsiness purely to clue us in that he's an addict, or something more?)

 

 

It all reminds me of some other PBS show about nurses, what was it called? that one was WWII.

 

Do you mean WWI? Because it reminded me of The Crimson Field. (Which got kind of addictive-- or at least more engaging-- after a few episodes, so here's hoping Mercy Street is likewise...)

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To see a wheelbarrow of severed limbs, well, I doubt there's any preparation for that, but it felt like she recoiled from things you'd have expected a nurse to have experienced before.

I've been a nurse over 30 years and I'd lose it if I ever saw a wheelbarrow of severed limbs. 

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Isn't the Mercy Street Hospital in Union-occupied Alexandria? D.C. emancipation law probably wouldn't apply.

That explains it, I got confused. For whatever reason the only text I remembered seeing relating to location was the first one saying, "Washington City."

 

So much this. And anvils were being dropped all over the place. I could do with a little more subtlety.

I think the part that drove me the most nuts was Southern Girl (Emma?) asking for and then listening to advice from Northern Nurse (Mary?) moments into their first conversation. (And a conversation that started off rockily to boot.) Sure, it's perfectly natural to seek life advice from a stranger you don't even like...

It feels like each of the main characters is there to represent a specific Big Idea about the War. Mary for the antislavery/Northern side, the Greens on the Southern side and Dr. McBeardy as the middle-ground person (Union side but has unenlightened views on race). Actually, finding out that he came from a slave owning family (and a fairly well off one at 64 enslaved workers) made me want to throw things at the tv. There were LOTS of pro-Union people who had never owned a slave and were terribly racist. Why not explore a character like that for once?

Also, the article I referenced in my earlier post stated that a Freedmen's Hospital was established in Washington during this time and now I really wish they had made a show about that instead.

Edited by GirlvsTV

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Mary also kept going upstairs because that is where the Matron was taking her initially, in order to find Mary space to sleep/ put her bags. Business kept interrupting things, so Mary was to sleep in a ward, at that night. (Hence the warning for the rat poison.)

 

This last was the proverbial straw that led me to take the show off the DVR schedule.  It's  not believable that she would be expected to bed down in a ward.  If she has to sleep on the floor -- well, it's a hotel -- we saw three floors.  Surely there's floor space elsewhere.

 

I don't expect every show to be as original as Fargo or Rectify or The Knick, especially when the subject is as familiar as the Civil War.  I admit I wouldn't know how to write a better show, but I'm not sure what we're supposed to take away from this one.

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Emma nurses a wounded friend; Dr. Foster wrestles with his marriage and career; Mary strives to improve the lives of her patients with help from Samuel; and Silas involves Aurelia in a corrupt deal.

 

 

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i don't think I'll last through the series. I'm a history nerd and too many things bugged me. One of the female characters said"Thanks" at one point. I'm not an expert but it sounded too modern. Language was very formal in the 1860's in the North and South. I doubt anyone, let alone an upper class female, would use shorthand for "thank you".

I also felt most of the acting was...off. I don't know how to explain it...maybe it's too "American"? I feel like I was watching any American network drama vs. a true period piece. I don't feel the same immersion into the time or place as I have felt when watching "Crimson Fields", "Homefires" or "Downton Abbey". Maybe this production didn't have the budget for an on-set historian to beat the importance of accuracy into the writers and actors.

Gary Cole will always be Lumbergh to me, so I kept waiting for him to remind the Union soldiers to use the new cover sheets on their TPS reports.

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I was so happy to see Luke Macfarlane as the chaplain! 

 

I'm not sure I understand who taught Diggs - did he say that he grew up in a doctor's house, and that doctor taught him?

 

I'm intrigued by this time and place.  I feel like most Civil War movies and dramas I've seen have generally been set in the Deep South or Yankee North.  Arlington, VA is Southern, but its location right there across the Potomac from the US Capitol should give it a different perspective on the war than somewhere in Georgia or New England.

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I'm not sure I understand who taught Diggs - did he say that he grew up in a doctor's house, and that doctor taught him?

 

 

Diggs said that he had been brought up in the home of a Dr. Berenson of Philadelphia.

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Got about halfway through and gave up.  I don't like any of the characters enough to stick with it.

I made it through the entire episode and came to the same conclusion.  It's officially off the DVR schedule now.  Feels like a series that would normally have appeared on the History channel rather than PBS.  The short following the episode with actors and production people discussing historical accuracy was more entertaining than the show itself. 

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I had  a feeling this would be a disappointment, and for me it was. Too modern, too predictable, too derivative...we've seen similar stuff on The Knick (the drug-addicted doctor) and The Crimson Field (tubs of severed limbs, nurses squabbling). Not to mention Scarlett O'Hara being queasy at the sight of blood. I expected the two southern belle sisters to flounce around and fight over beaus and dresses.

 

 

One of the female characters said"Thanks" at one point. I'm not an expert but it sounded too modern.

 

That was the belle in the white dress - it jumped out at me too.

 

I may keep watching for the lovely Alexandria locations and southern house porn. I live right up the road in Arlington.

Edited by pasdetrois

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The free black man with surgical skill (Samuel Diggs?) reminded me of a series of novels I enjoy, set in the 1830s in New Orleans.  The author is Barbara Hambly and the first novel is A Free Man of Color. The main character, Benjamin January, is a trained surgeon but makes his living playing piano.

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Something felt a little off with the acting (a bunch of modernish people stuck in the Civil War era), but I'm willing to give it another few episodes. It'll give me something to watch on Sundays.

Oddly enough, as of the first episode, I actually like Emma better than Nurse-Baroness-Duchess-insertothertitlehere-Mary. We'll see if that lasts.

War and Peace (which premiered in the US last night) has a similar problem with the language. Except, it's problem is that no one has the accent they should have. Just a bunch of British people in Russia/Austria.

Was it ever said what Mary's husband died of? I can't remember if they went into detail.

Also, how old are these people supposed to be? Or at least, how old his Mary compared to Emma?

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I may keep watching for the lovely Alexandria locations and southern house porn. I live right up the road in Arlington.

 

They filmed the series in Petersburg, VA. So you won't see any Alexandria locations.

 

I'm from Maryland (across the river from Arlington and Alexandria). I hear the indigenous Maryland southern accent all the time. It's similar to the indigenous Northern Virginia southern accent. Both are different than other Southern accents. Apparently whoever is advising them doesn't know that because they try to sound like Scarlett O'Hara. So that's annoying to me. Also, Samuel Diggs has a southern accent, even though he grew up in Philadelphia?????

 

Additionally, they keep addressing a widow as "Miss". I  fear the writers took the same "History of Etiquette 101" course as the Indian Summers writers. This was an era where married women (widowed too) were addressed as Mrs. John Smith or Mrs. Smith, not Mrs. Adelaide Smith, and definitely not Miss Jones.

 

Agree with those upthread about it being  modern. Dr. Foster would not have rattled off who invented the hypodermic needle. Nor would Nurse Mary say "men of color" ---- doesn't matter if she was super-Abolitionist.

Edited by Milz
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 The eye makeup and makeup in general was my deal-breaker and I bailed.  

 

This.  I found it highly annoying; I don't believe high society women of this era wore makeup of any sort.   

Can't help but compare this show to Deadwood; which got the language & makeup right.

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This.  I found it highly annoying; I don't believe high society women of this era wore makeup of any sort.   

Can't help but compare this show to Deadwood; which got the language & makeup right.

 

IIRC, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Meg goes to a ball and her friends dress her up: crimping her hair, powdering her face and applying rouge (or an attempt at rouging her was made). But the make up was minimal compared to today.

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It was the eyeliner that I found so startlingly incongruous ... and distracting ...  see also the fact that many of the costumes/clothing appeared to be brand-new, never before worn ... 

Edited by SusanSunflower
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This.  I found it highly annoying; I don't believe high society women of this era wore makeup of any sort.   

Can't help but compare this show to Deadwood; which got the language & makeup right.

 

That's been a problem with period pieces for years.  Hair is clean and shiny, fabrics don't wrinkle, teeth are straight and white -- nobody looks like the people we see in photographs from the time period. 

 

HBO's John Adams is another series that got it right.

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Also clearly on top of morphine addiction, Dr Ted is going to have issues with racial bias. He may be a Union doctor, but he's from a slave holding Maryland family and had the racial views to go with it.

 

 

If you listen to the revisionism going on here in Maryland, the majority of Marylanders were Unionists----including the slave owners.

 

That's been a problem with period pieces for years.  Hair is clean and shiny, fabrics don't wrinkle, teeth are straight and white -- nobody looks like the people we see in photographs from the time period. 

 

HBO's John Adams is another series that got it right.

 

you better avoid looking at the "character tintype" feature on the PBS site. There's a really horrible anachronistic  "prom photo" of Emma and her beau.

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I am a sucker for pretty much all historical dramas.  I tend to stick with them even when I can't stand them, out of some odd sense of loyalty/duty, as if one more viewer would encourage the production of more historical dramas.  Loyalty has made me stick with Turn: Washington's Spies, even though I hate almost all of the characters, and I stuck through three seasons of Hell on Wheels before finally giving up.

 

I don't know what to make of "Mercy Street".  I agree with the comments that it seemed too modern.  A lot of the speech and accents seemed too modern American.  Example, when one soldier said something like "Yeah, enforce the rules!"  Shouldn't it have been something like "Verily, we must ensure enforcement of the rules."  Also odd was when the doctor was ribbing on Southern Belle by calling her by the nickname of "Hoop Skirt".  I doubt that would have happened.

 

I like the doctor and Samuel Diggs.  But I find myself annoyed by the two lead females, Mary and Southern Belle (sorry, I have forgotten her name already) and their anticipated conflict.  I don't like either of them, so I expect that I won't care who wins.

 

Agree that it is unfathomable that the matron would have made Mary sleep on the floor in the ward amongst the sick/injured patients and with the rats.  For one, she was a single woman, they would never have forced a single woman to sleep in a room filled with lonely men.  Surely there would have been an available room on the upper floors, or she could have slept on the floor in the room of one of the other women.

 

This is only 6 episodes, so I suppose I will stick around at least for next week to see if it improves.  I find myself already not caring about the Greens' situation, so whatever business deal the dad is trying to do and the son's insecurities at being a failure, I may just have to mentally tune out for those parts.

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I should clarify that it was the eyeliner under the lower eyelashes that was unforgivable ... yes, and that features in the tintypes -- see also that poor-folks rarely posed for photographs in rags, if they could help it ... 

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I should clarify that it was the eyeliner under the lower eyelashes that was unforgivable ... yes, and that features in the tintypes -- see also that poor-folks rarely posed for photographs in rags, if they could help it ... 

 I hate to say this but in the Richard Dawson era Family Feud, the families "posing" in their "photo" look more Civil War period than that tintype crap on the PBS site. It's a shame this show didn't put any real effort into the little details.

 

Anyhow, Mr. Greene is smart selling coffins to the Union. He not only has to make money to support his family, but he also has to make money to pay his Federal property tax which was levied on all properties in the occupied areas. Otherwise, the Feds will seize his hotel and home for nonpayment (that's how the Feds "legally" seized Arlington House from Mrs. Robert E. Lee or as this program would have called her Miss Mary Custis.)

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Medically speaking in terms of how appalling the conditions and 'treatments' were in what were termed 'hospitals', they definitely seemed to do their homework. However; why was Mary constantly drawing attention to her widowhood, yet calling herself ' Miss FInney' and not 'Mrs. Strudelmeister' [or whatever her late husband's surname was]? Even if his family had refused to allow a dynastic marriage to a non-noble and compelled him to have a morganatic union with Mary[which would have explained why she was NOT a baroness] , virtually no married or widowed woman besides Lucy Stone in that time would have used her birth surname . Also, had the late baron become a naturalized US citizen before his death [which could have ALSO explained Mary's non-baronessness in that US citizens have always been required to renounce any foreign titles as a condition? However; if the late baron still retained his Germanic subjecthood, then wouldn't that have automatically made Mary a Germanic subject instead of a US citizen since she'd have been the wife/widow of one?

 

     Two other minor points.

Unless Emma Green had spent her ENTIRE time in a force field bubble while visiting and tending her sister's wounded suitor in that hospital, NO WAY would have had JUST a few tiny blood drops on her skirt's hem rather than have blood and all manner of filth covering a large portion of it.

   

  I'll also bet that, in addition to not wanting Emma to be punished too badly for sneaking into the hospital, the reason why the older 'house servant' quickly dragged her out of there then made up a pig slaughter story to explain away Emma's soiled dress was that she knew SHE would be severely punished for not having kept a closer eye on Emma.

 

    And who was  that lone nun who had no dialogue and even if she was supposed to be a nurse, wouldn't she have been working with at least one other nun rather than being all one her own AND wouldn't she have been wearing a sleeved apron and  hat to protect her habit from the filthy conditions she'd be exposed to.

 

     Still, I'll be watching to see how this plays out.

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Medically speaking in terms of how appalling the conditions and 'treatments' were in what were termed 'hospitals', they definitely seemed to do their homework. However; why was Mary constantly drawing attention to her widowhood, yet calling herself ' Miss FInney' and not 'Mrs. Strudelmeister' [or whatever her late husband's surname was]? Even if his family had refused to allow a dynastic marriage to a non-noble and compelled him to have a morganatic union with Mary[which would have explained why she was NOT a baroness] , virtually no married or widowed woman besides Lucy Stone in that time would have used her birth surname . Also, had the late baron become a naturalized US citizen before his death [which could have ALSO explained Mary's non-baronessness in that US citizens have always been required to renounce any foreign titles as a condition? However; if the late baron still retained his Germanic subjecthood, then wouldn't that have automatically made Mary a Germanic subject instead of a US citizen since she'd have been the wife/widow of one?

 

She did introduce herself as "Nurse von Olhauser" to one of the patients.  I had been wondering why they even bothered to make her a widowed Baroness, but apparently she is a real historical figure.  I read that this series is based in part off of her diaries.  It makes me wonder if people always contemptuously referred to the real person as "the Duchess" and she wrote about this specific point in her diaries.  Because otherwise, there was no reason to include it, they could have called her the Baroness.  The way others kept saying Duchess and she kept correcting them seemed like it was being played for laughs in a 2016 slapstick kind of way, not 1861 Virginia.

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i don't think I'll last through the series. I'm a history nerd and too many things bugged me. One of the female characters said"Thanks" at one point. I'm not an expert but it sounded too modern. Language was very formal in the 1860's in the North and South. I doubt anyone, let alone an upper class female, would use shorthand for "thank you".

I also felt most of the acting was...off. I don't know how to explain it...maybe it's too "American"? I feel like I was watching any American network drama vs. a true period piece. I don't feel the same immersion into the time or place as I have felt when watching "Crimson Fields", "Homefires" or "Downton Abbey". Maybe this production didn't have the budget for an on-set historian to beat the importance of accuracy into the writers and actors.

Gary Cole will always be Lumbergh to me, so I kept waiting for him to remind the Union soldiers to use the new cover sheets on their TPS reports.

 

In fairness, DA has had some groaners, including a car that wasn't produced until 5 years later, and a Gutenberg Bible in private hands, to which NO, not in the 20s.

That's been a problem with period pieces for years.  Hair is clean and shiny, fabrics don't wrinkle, teeth are straight and white -- nobody looks like the people we see in photographs from the time period. 

 

HBO's John Adams is another series that got it right.

 

and the teeth!

 

I tried to look up when "thanks" entered vernacular but that does not seem wrong to me. You'd be surprised how "modern" a lot of language of the period was. Perhaps in context it was a bit casual, though.

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She did introduce herself as "Nurse von Olhauser" to one of the patients.  I had been wondering why they even bothered to make her a widowed Baroness, but apparently she is a real historical figure.  I read that this series is based in part off of her diaries.  It makes me wonder if people always contemptuously referred to the real person as "the Duchess" and she wrote about this specific point in her diaries.  Because otherwise, there was no reason to include it, they could have called her the Baroness.  The way others kept saying Duchess and she kept correcting them seemed like it was being played for laughs in a 2016 slapstick kind of way, not 1861 Virginia.

 

Am I remembering correctly, or did Dr. Ted also call her Marchioness at one point?

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Even if Mary were an American citizen and cannot legally hold a title, they probably would have still addressed her as Baroness out of courtesy, not legality. At the very least, they would have called her Mrs. Liverwurst, rather than Miss Phinney. I'm beginning to think in the Film Writers University, they're teaching students that widowed women or women who are thought to be widowed were properly addressed as Miss Maiden Name, because it's happened in this show and in Indian Summers .

 

 

Medically speaking in terms of how appalling the conditions and 'treatments' were in what were termed 'hospitals', they definitely seemed to do their homework.

 

 

It's appalling by today's standards because we have so much more now. Surgical gloves were invented by Halsted because his girlfriend (later wife) was his nurse and her hands were sensitive to the disinfectants being used at the time. Penicillin wasn't discovered yet. Even though ether and chloroform were used as anesthesia, and was used when it was available. The one thing that was "invented" during the American Civil War and reduced deaths was the "field hospital" or MASH unit. In Europe, the hospitals were a great distance away from the battlefield (usually in the nearest city or large town). That delayed medical care for the severely and moderately wounded. During the American Civil War, field hospitals were in the "field": medical treatment was given and the survivors were brought to the hospitals in towns and cities, like Alexandria or DC., really to recuperate and convalesce. And the ill who contracted diseases like pneumonia, like Mr. March in Little Women, were also in hospitals in towns. It's kind of surprising that there aren't more family members in the Mercy Hospital caring for their wounded or ill soldiers i, because they did that.

 

If this show lasts another few seasons, I hope and then don't hope they have Mary Edwards Walker do a cameo. http://americancivilwar.com/women/mary_edwards_walker.html

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