Rurally Streaming - January 2016

Ah, Jersey City. It has its benefits: delicious Indian food, Shepard Fairey murals, a dollar store called 99 Cent Dream. Its drawbacks include noise from construction, little green space, and lots of people who make additional noise. So when I'm here, I like to escape a bit, through TV, books, and movies.

Someday, Netflix will get around to creating an "Agrarian Drama" category. But until then, there's Rurally Streaming, a series in which I round up streaming video for country mice. This first edition focuses on the English countryside.

1. Pride and Prejudice (2005)

There are many P&P adaptations out there. What I like about this one is the presence of the Bennet family farm, and how it's chaos is manifest through the messiness of the house, the giggling of the daughters, and the raucousness of the country dance. At one point a giant hog is walked through an inside hallway (presumably on his way to being slaughtered), and no one syas a word! I love all the falling-down hairdos and mud, too.

2. Detectorists (2014)

I've been a Detectorists evangelist for a few weeks now. This is a quiet series about contemporary men with messy lives, who search for treasures in the ground and almost never find them (but that doesn't mean they're not there!). Lovely, and life-affirming.

3. Far From The Madding Crowd (2015)

This one's actually streaming on HBO Go. I could probably write an essay about this, my feelings are so complicated. I was a big Thomas Hardy devotee in high school (weren't we all?) so it's hard for anything to stack up. I think this adaptation of the 19th-century novel should have been a mini series, not a movie, not only because I like watching TV for 8 hours straight, but because this book, like many of Hardy's, was first published as a serial. I find this to be a pretty romanticized picture of the country, and sort of unconscious of the irony of the title, (Far From the Madding Crowd = away from the frenzied drama of the city; funny considering the melodrama that occurs). But quite beautifully shot, nonetheless.