DAVID BIANCULLI

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PARADE'S END
February 26, 2013  | By David Bianculli

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

 
MINISERIES PREMIERE: HBO is showing its newest, five-hour period miniseries over three nights: two hours tonight, two more tomorrow, and the conclusion on Thursday. Tom Stoppard adapts the WWI-era novels by Ford Madox Ford, and Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has the central role as Christopher, a man with a wife who’s unfaithful and unpredictable (Rebecca Hall, who’s captivating) and a woman he adores, but never seems to connect with (Adelaide Clemens). Whether or not he’s at war, Christopher is never at peace (“I haven’t a friend in the world,” he says at one point, matter-of-factly), while his wife will say and do horrible or outrageous things simply to shatter his stiff British countenance. “At last,” she tells him after one such outburst, “I’ve changed the expression on your face.” It’s all about people who love each other at the wrong times – and though Cumberbatch and Hall are great together, and the supporting cast is strong, this miniseries veers between two subtle and too obvious. Calling it Downton Abbey with nudity, though, is both an accurate and affectionate assessment – though the nudity is much more upstairs than downstairs.
 
 
 
 
 
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