Now before I get into this, just to warn you, I haven't read the books therefore I don't know how much (if anything) has been changed from them.
I first watched the first episode on BBC iplayer. It was interesting to say the least.
Mr. Norrell (Eddie Marsan) is a quite quiet, strange little man. Every time Eddie is in something it always seems that he fits the character perfectly, now I don't know if this is because he's a brilliant actor or just generally a quiet and seemingly timid guy. I'm sure it's the former.
Mr. Norrell wants to be known and praised for his magic, real magic but it doesn't come easy and although he is very skilled in performing magic, sometimes feels like he isn't strong enough to pull off certain spells.
Then comes Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) (who first sees Norrell by using a spell), at first he seems like a regular guy but when he starts the magic he exceeds Norrell and it just comes naturally to him which of course doesn't exactly go down well.
They then learn about the Raven King prophecy, about themselves, and a mysterious character known as The Gentleman which Norrell conjured up in the first episode to erm, help somebody out.
Although the show tries to bring the Napoleonic war to the forefront in some episodes, it always falls behind the fascination of what the story is really about. The two strange and eccentric main men and their magic, their struggles of getting along with each other and quite a dangerous villain who I will not name as nothing is what it seems throughout the series.
Although the first and second episode propels us into the world of Jonathan and Norrell, the next few episodes are quite slow. It's still interesting and humorous enough to keep you watching but sometimes I was left thinking "ok, get on with it".
Fortunately it picks up a bit toward the finale, then when the finale hits, it leaves you with the feeling of wanting more.
There's an ending that could be pleasing left as it is although it would be brilliant if we get a second series to see what's going to happen after that ending.
The show has a great cast including Marc Warren, Samuel West, Edward Hogg and more but the scene stealer for me was Paul Kaye as the insane character Vinculus who speaks about the Raven King prophecy.
Kaye just gets better and better in his acting with age and outshines everyone involved in the show.
- The Making Of (25:00) - A behind the scenes look at the show interspersed with chats with cast and crew and some key scenes of the show.
- Deleted Scenes (11:05) - A handful of deleted scenes, 6 in total, none of which needing to be in the episodes. Still entertaining though
- Outtakes/Bloopers (1:10) - I've always loved outtakes of any show/film, and these have to be some of the funniest I've seen for a long time. Shame they didn't mess up more!
- Making-of Shots of episode 1 and 2 - Self explanatory, nothing special but interesting to look at.
- Picture Gallery - Stills from the show.
- Picture Gallery - Behind The Scenes - Stills from Behind The Scenes. I never see the point in adding picture galleries as special features if I'm honest.
The show looks beautiful on a big screen TV and the sound is fantastic loud.
In all I give the show and DVD release a well deserved
Let's keep our fingers crossed for a second series. But for now you can purchase the DVD here or Blu-Ray here.