My Overall Opinion of the PBS Masterpiece Les Mis Series

For the past six weeks, I have been watching the PBS Masterpiece Series of Les Mis. Each week on this blog, I did talk about each episode, and what happened. This post will focus on what my overall opinion was.

Major Spoilers:

In my opinion, I felt like this series needed more than six episodes. The last two episodes felt rushed with two subplots. I wished the series could have spent more time on the romance between Marius and Cosette and the Uprising. Those were speed up too quickly just to fit everything in- those are my favorite subplots that happen in Les Mis: the love triangle and the uprising.

What I do love is that the series focused much more on backstory. This series was not based on the musical- it was more book based- even though some things I saw never happened in the book or musical.

We were able to see what happened to Fantine before Felix (Cosette’s biological father) abandoned her- we saw her when she was truly happy. It makes her story much more heartbreaking- not only did we see Felix leaving her, but we also saw Fantine leaving Cosette in the hands of the Thenardiers. Seeing those two elements puts much more pain into her storyline- after all, if you know Les Mis, you do know how poorly the Thenardiers treat Cosette. It was harder for me to watch the “Lovely Ladies” scene in this version- I felt more uncomfortable with it- the scene always made me uncomfortable, but this one was more intense. I actually do love the fact that Azelma is in this series- she is one of the Thenardier children after all.

Thinking of Thenardiers, at the beginning of the series, it starts at the Battle of Waterloo, which helps clear up the fact that Les Mis does not take place during The French Revolution. It does show Thenardier “rescuing” Marius’ father- that scene is important to Marius’ backstory. When it comes to the Thenardiers’, you saw how abusive they really are-when you first saw them, it does appear as if they are “good” people, but after Fantine left them, you eventually saw Azelma and Eponine mistreating Cosette. You saw Cosette being abused at a much deeper level. You saw Gavroche in their house- now you know he is their son. You saw them falling into poverty. This version made me hate the Thenardiers even more- seeing just how poorly they treat Azelma and Eponine- right when Cosette left, we saw a scene with one of their daughters being treated as a servant- so we do realize that if Cosette wasn’t there, both daughters would have treated the same way.

Back to Jean Valjean- in the musical, you have an idea of how prison affected him. What this version is able to do is show you how poorly Toulon really is. You saw that Valjean did believe that love can’t change a man- that was before he was forgiven. You saw multiple scenes of Toulon, and you saw them affecting Valjean at a much deeper level- so you can understand better why he left prison as man with so much anger at society- because of his days in prison. Now one thing never made sense- one plot point never happened- in this series, he fired Fantine- well, in the book, it was a woman foreman who fired Fantine. I did not understand that change.

At the same time- I can now understand why Javert believes “once a criminal always a criminal”- he says Valjean that he was born in jail and that his parents were criminals, and that he learned to hate them- I never really understand that viewpoint- now it makes sense.

Now, I would like to talk about the love triangle. It actually showed a side to Marius that we never get in the musical- a side that shows up only in the book: it is a part of him that makes him complex. This does start when he was a child- you saw his grandfather raising him to believe his father hated him, which he eventually realized wasn’t true. That is what soon led to him having this political conflict- that side is what made him complex-one of the reasons why I love him as a character. Many people say he is annoying and a jerk- but I disagree: yes, even from the book, I never saw him that way. Marius still is a revolutionary- not at first- he is not close to the revolutionaries here- which I did expect- still sticking close to the book.

The love triangle was subtle in the book, and it is in this series, but I did feel like the romance was rushed. I love Marius and Cosette as a couple- but I felt like the series could have spent more time on their relationship. They only had like one scene in the Gardens and two in Rue Plumet- this was before the barricade- wish there was more of them. As far as Eponine goes- I am glad this series focused on what her life was like outside of Marius more than the unrequited love. They do show the unrequited love-yes, but we got several scenes that showed her life outside of him. I knew it was there for all the scenes she had with him (since I saw the musical and read the book), but the first scene she made it clear was right after she led him to Rue Plumet-That was when I realized she was in love with him. The love triangle still feels rushed- even though it still stays subtle like the book- but it is too rushed. Marius and Eponine’s relationship is closer to being acquaintances here- which I was expecting due to knowing this series was following the book. Just like in book, Eponine sacrificed her life for Marius at the barricade, and Marius stayed with her. In both the book and musical, I believe Marius is still this kind, sweet, compassionate, brave, and romantic revolutionary.

Cosette- you have a lot more sympathy for Young Cosette. You actually saw how abused she is. As she gets older, I am glad you saw how overprotected and sheltered she. It does make sense- for starters, Valjean is an ex-convict and is trying not to be recaptured and Cosette means everything to him. What I do love in this series is that it shows Valjean raising Cosette.

Another subplot that I felt is too rushed is the uprising. I love Enjolras and the students. All the uprising events take place in the 5th/6th episode- so much had to happen in those episodes for the story to finish. You already saw a bit of uprising in the 4th episode, but you only got introduced to Enjolras and the students. The 5th episode is more about planning and the beginning of the uprising, but had to end with Valjean leaving for the barricade- I thought that was odd. I wanted more time with them- it was like it was quick action before the uprising even started. The musical makes it always clear who Enjolras is, but at times in the series- I kept on forgetting- you are supposed to always knew which one of the group he is. Literally in the 6th episode after Valjean released Javert, the final battle began- that was too rushed to get there.

Conclusion:

I thought it was a wonderful way to watch Les Mis. I still had moments I was in tears- some of those were moment I was expecting to cry during- “A Little Fall of Rain” for instance. I still think this series needed one or two more episodes. I wished some moments were not rushed- the uprising and romance was too rushed. The 5th and 6th episode were extremely rushed at the start just to fit everything. Some moments happened way too soon- as in should have happened later- reasons why there should have been more than six episodes.

Advertisements

Les Misérables-Episode 6

May 19th marked the end of the PBS Masterpiece Les Mis mini series. Today’s post is about the final episode. We left the 5th episode with Valjean leaving his house to go to the barricade.

Major Spoilers:

I thought this episode would start with Valjean. I was wrong. It actually started with Gavroche going back to the barricade. He ended up reporting to the students that another attack was about to happen. Valjean eventually arrived, and soon enough helped shield the barricade even more. So the first death in this series was Gavroche, but it was sooner than I expected. I thought Gavroche would die right before the final attack- but I was wrong.

Gavroche died right before Valjean would release Javert. That was surprising. Once again, this episode had to speed things up. After Valjean left the cafe after releasing Javert, you already were in the final battle. I thought it would happen latter- then again, a lot had to happen. The sewers took up a lot more time- I believe- then it took in the musical. Thenardier actually let Valjean go once he got to the gate. About the uprising, there was a scene where you saw everyone who died.

You saw Javert let Valjean take Marius to his grandfather and you saw Javert take Valjean back to his house- things that are in the book, but not in the musical. All of this would eventually led to Javert’s suicide.

You soon got back to Marius. He was the only survivor of the uprising. He was seriously injured though. You saw one of those dreams he was having from the book. After he was fully recovered, Valjean confessed the truth to Marius about his past, but not the fact that he was the reason why Marius survived.

Six months after Cosette and Marius got married, Marius would learn the truth about why he lived. Thenardier would confess the truth. They arrive at the convent- I thought they would find Valjean in bed or in a wheelchair since Valjean was dying. They found him gardening. Cosette and Marius were there at the time of his death.

I still feel like this mini series needed at least a seventh episode- some things were speed up too much- like the uprising for instance.

Fairy Frogs-Snippet Seven

Context- This moment is when the story finally kicks off. Sparkle went looking for Marge while Misty is spending the day with Tweetsie: exclaiming the beginning.

Throughout all of this, Sparkle went looking for Marge. Little did she know that Marge was not going to be in Graysloup.  While trying to find Sparkle, Sparkle at times kept on thinking that befriending her was a bad idea. She eventually found Marge, which was right where Sparkle used to live. 

“Marge, what are you doing there, I thought you would be in Graysloup?” said Sparkle.

“Sparkle, it is you! There are lots of days where I can’t be there- you know”, said Marge.

“So you sometimes have to be away from Sarge?” 

“I recently have gotten this feeling that I am being watched, said Marge.” 

“Listen, Marge- I decided on something, let’s be friends.”

“Sparkle, really, but what about the risks involved such as the stakes involved?” 

“Listen, Marge even though it is off limits for us to be friends, it is the right thing to do”, exclaimed Sparkle. 

“Okay, let’s do this”. This made Marge really happy. She always was in need of a friend. At the time same, it made her very nervous. It might make her cousin hurt her even more. How can Sparkle sneak out of Fairy Creek and somehow not break the rules? Marge knew the Fairy Frogs were deeply compassionate, but Sparkle was taking things a deep further. She understood why Aries, the frog’s leader, forbid the Fairy Frogs from interacting with toads. She knows her cousin more than anybody. Aries just wants to protect them. 

Sparkle knew she was going to get in so much trouble. She spent a lot of the day away from Misty and the others. She knew they might realize something was up. She did not want to leave Marge at the moment. Both of them knew of the risks involved, but they were going to be friends no matter what. Sparkle knew that Misty might be most likely to find out about this friendship.

“Marge, let’s go to the location where I was working on that drawing”, said Sparkle.

“Are you sure, I don’t think that’s a good idea”, said Marge. I believe Sarge hired a spy or something, but I am not sure.”

“Marge, if you were brave enough to stand up to your cousin and if I was brave enough to sneak away from Fairy Creek, then I don’t mind.” 

These two newly friends went to the new location. Sparkle may have had all the color on her drawing and the shading. She just had some touchup to do and for fun add some little extra things to it.  She was finally going to finish her drawing. Sparkle knew it was late, but she just found a friend in Marge. She knew Marge needed a friend and some compassion. On the way to her Graysloup drawing location, Claude, a 15-year-old toad, tripped both Marge and Sparkle. 

“Marge, who was that?”, said Sparkle. 

“That was Claude”, said Marge

“So you are telling me that there are other toads here who are rather rude?” 

“Yes, but Sarge is the worst”. Marge did not understand why Claude was rude. She was trying to figure out if he was rude because Sarge demanded it or because he was rude in nature. 

            “Marge, why is Sarge the way he is?”

“I don’t fully know why, he never reveals anything”, said Marge. While these two friends were talking, Norg noticed them. He was going to report to Sarge immediately. 

“Marge, we have arrived at our destination”, exclaimed Sparkle. Sparkle pulled out her drawing from her silver and gold backpack. Marge was quite impressed from her drawing. She had seen it before, but not closely. She thought it was incredible”. 

“Sparkle, what do you still need to do?” 

“I just need to touch up a few areas, I am very invested”. Marge loved watching Sparkle draw. Those two talked for a while. Sparkle knew she made the right decision, and she knew she would come back to Fairy Creek later then normal.

Favorite Genres in Books

Reading is incredible. It, like the musical theatre world, is an escape. It takes you the world of characters and tells a story. I thought I loved mystery, classics, and fantasy exactly- but last week I realized something- only two of those stood out. They are the ones I read the most. I realized those genres are classics and fantasy.

Classics:

  • Yes, I am a millennial who loves classics. It is hard to describe why I love classics. A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, Don Quixote, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Les Misérables are classics I do love. Some of my favorite classics fall in the category of fantasy/mythology, which are the Illiad and Odyssey- fell in love with them in high school. I fell in love with A Christmas Carol before college as well. In particular, I am drawn to Romanticism- the style Dickens and Hugo write in. When I think of classics, I think of books that are at least 100 years old.

Fantasy:

  • I love the made-up worlds of Fantasy- Narnia, Middle Earth, Hogwarts, etc…. are some of the main reasons why I love fantasy. The worlds do not always need to be as expansive- think about My Cattail Forest- it isn’t that big as opposed to Narnia. You have wizards, witches, elves, hobbits, and other made-up creatures/beasts such my Fairy Frogs. Even humans are part of fantasy as well. That is one of the fun sides of them. Their are these quests/journeys that they go on. Fantasy does include Fairy Tales as well. There is not as much reality in Fantasy as other types of genres- that is the fun of them. Fantasy requires a lot of imagination- for a lot of it. I fell in love with fantasy in elementary school. I love fantasy series and books such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Narnia, and Uprooted.

If You Like Harry Potter…..

I was raised on Harry Potter. I first saw exposed to Harry Potter through the films, and later read the book. There is a book/movie series that you would like if you loved Harry Potter- starting at High School.

Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter Similarities

About three months ago, I was watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This was after I read the books. I began to notice some similarities between Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. I feel like Harry Potter fans might like Lord of the Rings. It has to do with the similarities. Here’s why?

The Horcruxes/ the ring- in the final book of Harry Potter, Harry Potter has to destroy the horcuxes in order to destroy Voldermort. The horcuxes has the ability to corrupt any one who is around them and who wears them. That is why all of the horcuxes have to be destroyed. That sounds similar to what the one ring can do- it can corrupt the ring-bearer and gets heavier and heavier and makes the ring-bearer weaker and weaker as you get closer to Mordor. You have to destroy the ring. The ring and all the horcuxes are very similar.

Sam/Harry’s best friends- both Harry Potter and Frodo wanted to go on the quest alone. But Sam and Ron/Hermione would not allow it. Those characters are loyal to Frodo/Harry Potter. Very similar to each other. They are best friends.

Dark Lord- Voldermont and Sauron are dark lords. Sounds similar.

Dumbledore/Gandalf- those two are powerful wizards with a lot of wisdom

Spider Attack- both series have a spider attack. Lord of the Rings spider attack is scarier than Harry Potter. Still both are spider attacks.

In addition- both series did get darker as both continued.

I have a feeling that J.K. Rowling got inspired by Tolkien- used some of the elements from Lord of the Rings. Some of the similar things did happen in Harry Potter.

Les Misérables-Episode 5

Major Spoilers:

Last week the final scene was “The Robbery”. This episode was more focused on the romance between Marius and Cosette, but was mostly focused on the Uprising. What I didn’t know was if we would see any of the Uprising taking place or not- would we only see the student planning the uprising and building the barricade and then the episode would stop.

Some things had to happen pretty quickly for this episode to work out. It was the 2nd to last episode. We did see Eponine and her sister in prison and released. We saw Javert still being obsessed over finding Valjean despite the uprising that is soon to happen.

Back to the love triangle. Last week’s episode, it was hard to spot the romance. I knew that the love triangle was subtle in the book. This episode made the romance more clear. Now Eponine is leading Marius to Cosette’s house. Marius and Cosette are finally able to confess their love for each other. I also was able to spot Eponine’s love for Marius- that was very very difficult to find in the book.

Well, in this episode, when it comes to the students you see them planning the uprising and building the barricade. The uprising does begin in this episode. There are two deaths in this episode- one of which is one that only happens in the book- Mabeuf, who is the first one to die during the uprising. We do see Eponine’s death as well, which I did cry during, which I did expect. Gavroche delivers the letter to Valjean, and the episode ends after Valjean leaves for the uprising. So we are in the middle of an uprising- at the end of this episode.

I am starting to feel like this series needs a 7th episode. I don’t know if an episode should end in the middle of an uprising- that seems like an odd place to end. The next episode needs to have things happen at quick speed in the same speed some of the events in this episode happens. Knowing Les Mis- the next episode is going to be filled with death considering the fact that we still are in the middle of an uprising and there are two more after the uprising. Knowing Les Mis- there is still a lot that needs to happen.

Below are what happened in the other episodes:

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/les-miserables-series-episode-4/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2019/04/30/les-miserables-episode-3/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/les-miserables-series-episode-2/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/les-miserables-series/

Les Misérables Series-Episode 4

Now I have watched four episodes of the Les Misérables series. I was waiting until there was a time jump into 1832. Finally it happened. The last episode ended at Valjean and Cosette escaping into the convent- so there needed to be a time jump. Two of my favorite storylines of Les Misérables are the romance and the uprising- that happens later in the storyline- in 1832- and that wasn’t part of episode 3.

Major Spoilers:

In the beginning of this series, you see that Cosette has finally grown up. I was wondering when that time jump would happen. Valjean and Cosette are still living at Covent. Cosette convinces her adopted father that it is time for them to move out because she wants to see more of the world. They move into Rue Plumet, and they do go on walks into the Luxembourg Gardens.

Now we are back on a grown up Marius. Marius finds out the truth about his father. He realizes he has been lied to by his grandfather all of these years about his father. Learning this does help make Marius a complex character. His grandfather tells Marius to move out after Marius blows up on him after telling him “why did you lie to me all of these years”. Where Marius moves to is the same place the Thenardiers currently live. At some point in this episode, Marius meets Courfeyrac, who introduces him to The Friends of The ABC- finally we meet them. The Friends of the ABC are some of my favorite characters in the book and musical- it their brotherly love for each other and their passion for the cause that makes me love them so much.

This is the episode where Marius and Cosette first meet. Instead of Marius and Cosette learning each others names at Cosette’s house, they learn each others’ name where they first met, which never happened in the musical or the book. So, this episode begins the love Marius and Cosette have. I still love the two of them together, and my opinion will never change.

I will go back to the Thenardiers again- now they are living as the Jondrettes next door to Marius. Their poverty has gotten worse- they are now living in extreme poverty. You do notice that Gavroche is no longer living with them. Only Azelma and Eponine are living with them-you see Monsieur Thenardier showing his abuse on Eponine. You see Eponine delivering the letters, which are hoaxes. Eponine does recognize that Marius does have a good heart when they first interacted. Marius is able to look through a peek hole, and actually sees how terrible this family is treating their daughters and learns of the robbery that will happen later, and reports this to Javert.

The episode ends at the “Robbery”. The next episode will focus more on the romance between Marius and Cosette and the rebellion.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2019/04/30/les-miserables-episode-3/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/les-miserables-series-episode-2/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/les-miserables-series/