If there is one thing that we will say at the moment about ITV and their programming strategy, it is that they are certainly consistent. Why would they suddenly take a risk now, when they are clearly showing that they don’t have to? “Home Fires” is the latest attempt by them to find another period drama much in the vein of “Downton Abbey” or what the BBC has in “Call the Midwife.”
In some ways, the show is a combination of the two and also the short-lived “The Crimson Field.” The majority of the notable cast is female, and it revolves around a town in Cheshire who is trying to adapt with the sudden changes that are coming about thanks tot he Second World War. Many are enlisting in the battle, and everyone else is in the process of figuring out just what they want to do and how to best handle the conflict themselves. There is no war in this community, but there are still ramifications of it in many ways.
The reason for the “Downton Abbey” comparison is that there are moments within the story that do give us a semblance of some sort of hope, but at the same time, there are still many serious moments to go along with that. Will’s cancer diagnosis at the end of the premiere was a hard way to close things off after an episode stuffed full of bright colors and at least people doing their best to make do. He wants his relationship with Erica and his children to remain relatively unchanged during the process.
As a whole, we found ourselves engaged for the most part by the stories, in particular the ones relating all of the different challenges that come with enlisting, both politically and economically. With that being said, there was no singular storyline that was gripping. The sum of its parts was far stronger than any individual moment.
Overall, this is a series worthy of another chance, if nothing else to see if there is something important that can be said here about pushing forward during difficult times. Grade: B.
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