Based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy, War & Peace is brought to new for a new generation.
In 1805 when we first meet Pierre (Paul Dano), Natasha (Lily James), and Andrei (James Norton), they are all part of St Petersburg's glittering elite, but are fired-up with youthful ambition to find meaning in their lives.
Kind-hearted but awkward Pierre, the illegitimate son of Russia's richest man, wants to change the world for the better. Handsome and gallant Andrei, frustrated with the superficiality of his life, seeks a purpose, while the beautiful and spirited Natasha is searching for true love. At the same time Napoleon's army edges ever closer to Russia's borders. As everything they thought they knew is questioned, Pierre, Andrei and Natasha find themselves in a time when Russian society is about to change forever.
I wasn't too sure what to expect from this series. It looked like something both myself and my husband might enjoy watching based on the title, War and Peace. My husband likes war type programs and I like to know a little more about the characters behind the fighting. War and Peace sounded perfect for us.
There are 6 episodes in this season and each episode is roughly just under 60 minutes each but you can reduce some of that time by skipping the intro and the "what happened previously" sections. The series is based on Leo Tolstoy's epic novel, War and Peace. Set in the early 19th century it is about the lives and loves of five aristocratic families during the time of Russia fighting with Napoleon.
I'm not going to go into detail about the story line or characters because you really have to watch it to get the best idea (and I don't want to spoil it for you) but I will say that if you have read the book and are hoping for a TV series that follows the story to a T you will be disappointed. There simply isn't enough time in the series to cover all that happens in the book and large chunks are missed out BUT if you watch the series and judge it on it's own it's a great piece of work and the writers and actors have done a fabulous job.
The only downside was the costumes which, if you like your history like I do, you will notice a few of them are not in the right period. The first episode shows a female character wearing a dress that appears to have a zipper running down the middle of the back and her back was showing rather a lot for this time. Considering zippers weren't widely used in dresses until the late 1930's, seeing one in an 1800's drama was surprising. Another main character was also wearing a very Grecian gown and headset which looked very beautiful but out of place for the time portrayed.
It took me 3 episodes to actually figure out all the characters and really get into it which is a shame because there are only 6 episodes in this season and I spent half of it confused but after the 6th and final episode for this season it left me wanting more. As of now, BBC haven't confirmed a second season so I'll just have to wait and see if they decide to continue filming or not.
My husband wasn't overly keen on it and actually let me watch an episode without him but he was back for the next and did ask what he missed out on which I guess could be taken as a sign that he tolerated it. There were a few fight scenes but the majority of the season was based around the families lives in between the fighting. My husband did make a good point though, for this being about Russian families there was very little Russian being spoken, just a few songs thrown in but most of it was in English (not that I minded as I would rather watch the show than read subtitles).
Overall, I did enjoy it and I'm glad I watched it, it gave me a good insight into what went on in that period of history, albeit brief, it was insightful. My husband might have a different opinion but I would definitely watch it again and will recommend it to my friends who like historical type dramas too.
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