‘War and Peace’ season 2: What could have been, and where we are

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Tonight, we mark the end of “War and Peace” on BBC One, a series that has drawn for the most part extremely rave reviews and for good reason. It’s been dramatic, action-packed, and stuffed full of excellent performances from start to finish. There has now been anything quite as excellent out there on British TV in some time by our estimation.

Unfortunately for those of you wanting more beyond tonight, here’s the bad news: This story is finite. Britain is not nearly so greedy with their scripted television as we’ve come to see in America over the years. They know when to stop things, and when to allow them to keep going to for some inordinate amount of time. There is no season 2 just because there was never a design for their to be one. The Leo Tolstoy novel comes to an end, and so will the show.

So what do we hope the BBC takes away from airing this show? More than anything else, it is the hope that they continue to find interesting ways to support great literature with more adaptations, and take similar risks of great ambition. If “War and Peace” leads to other great miniseries, we all win. We also think this show was successful in giving us more appreciation for Paul Dano and Lily James, who likely have plenty more in terms of great stuff coming in their careers.

Also, maybe it gives Andrew Davies (the series writer) a chance to come up with more excellent creations moving forward into the future. We’ll have to see what happens there.

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