BBC One found itself an epic miniseries in “War and Peace,” which thanks to an extension by the network had a chance to run a little bit long on Sunday night. It’s a great thing that it did, given that there was so much ground for the story to cover.
The fascinating thing about watching this all play out was the guesswork that we still found in our brain, knowing full well at the same time how we know the series was going to end. Obviously, France failed completely in their attempt to overtake Russia, as Napoleon and his army were not well-prepared for the sort of harsh conditions that awaited them here. Meanwhile, Andrei failed to make it out of the finale alive, while eventually we were led down the road where Pierre and Natasha could have something resembling a happy ending.
Here’s the funny thing about watching the finale: We actually don’t think it needed to be as long as it was. Some of the battle sequences were a little stretched out, and the passage of time was a little bit wonky. While Paul Dano’s performance was all sorts of tremendous, didn’t it seem a little quick for him to suddenly be Leonardo DiCaprio from “The Reverent”? (On a different note, Dolokhov actually had a few moments where he was not entirely terrible!)
While we’d say that both the premiere and the finale this season have had some fairly slow-moving moments, there is still little question as to what Andrew Davies, the writer of this series, has been able to accomplish. It’s extraordinary visually, the music is wonderful, and some of the performances have been beyond our expectation. This could be the definitive adaptation of “War and Peace” for some time. There are many little intricacies that the show brought out in these characters; as a viewer, our prevailing feeling is satisfaction. Grade: A-.
While there will not be a second season of “War and Peace” on the BBC, you can still head over here to get some further insight into more of what we think it could look like! Also, sign up over at this link right away to get some other TV news on everything we cover, sent right over to you via our official CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: BBC.)