Fix: Jane Austen, Historical Romance, Theo James, Theo James in Breeches, Theo James in Top Hats, Theo James Taking a Naked Dip In the Sea
Platforms: Amazon Prime (You can watch it for free by signing up for a 7-day free trial of the PBS/Masterpiece Subscription.)
Writer Andrew Davies brings Jane Austen’s unfinished last novel vividly to life. The village of Sanditon is becoming a fashionable spa resort full of intrigues and dalliances. Changing alongside it is the unconventional Charlotte Heywood.
OKAY, so Sanditon was Jane Austen’s last, unfinished novel, of which she completed 11 chapters before passing away. People have tried to finish it in the past, but now we get a Masterpiece PBS series with Andrew Davies (he of 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice fame) at the helm. Charlotte Heywood is a smart, chill country girl, whose life is turned upside down when the carriage of one Mr. Tom Parker crashes outside her house. Parker and his wife were in the country searching for a physician for his new seaside spa resort, Sanditon, and after Charlotte nurses him back to health, he invites her to come stay at Sanditon for a bit. There, Charlotte meets all kinds of people, including Tom’s asshole brother Sidney, who is unfortunately extremely hot, and Sidney’s charge, Miss Georgiana Lambe, a black West Indian heiress who is richer than all the white people around her.
Rose Williams as Charlotte Heywood
Rose-as-Charlotte is such a Pisces (I wrote this then Googled it and turns out that I was right – Rose is a Pisces). She’s sweet and sympathetic, but never afraid of standing up for herself and her friends, nor does she shy away from getting her hands dirty when needed. Rose’s filmography list is still a bit on the short end, but I really hope to see more of her soon.
Theo James as Sidney Parker
Dear sweet Jesus you only THOUGHT Theo James was hot. He is truly panty-melting as Sidney Parker. A bit of a dick, which makes it all the more satisfying when he eventually comes around to Charlotte. Also: leather vests.
Kris Marshall as Tom Parker
The entreprenurial Mr. Parker, founder of Sanditon and general failure at time and money management, is played by Kris Marshall who looked so familiar that I let out an actual squeal when I realized that Kris is Colin Frissell, the Brit who goes to Wisconsin to find an American girlfriend in Love Actually. I am sure that Kris has a long, storied acting career, but this is obviously the most important thing.
Leo Suter as Young Stringer
It speaks volumes about the hotness of Theo James that THIS GUY plays second fiddle to him on the show. Stringer is a hot architect who is adorably in love with Charlotte from the moment he meets her. He’s kind, hardworking, passionate, driven, talented, hot, and has the most perfect hair curl situation happening. He’s perfect, except that he’s not Theo James, I guess. My Sanditon hot take is that I’m firmly #TeamStringer, feel free to agree or disagree in the comments.
Crystal Clarke as Georgiana Lambe
Not only does Georgiana become a great friend to Charlotte, her story adds a lot of depth to the show. Despite having more money than any of the people around her, everyone treats Georgiana like an outcast because she’s biracial and from the West Indies. No one misses an opportunity to point out the fact that her mother was a slave. Like Rose, Crystal’s IMDB list is on the short end despite two roles in the most recent Star Wars trilogy.
Charlotte Spencer as Esther Denham
In addition to the Charlotte-Sidney-Georgiana-Parker family dramas, there’s another storyline about Sanditon’s richest benefactor and the niece and nephew who are plotting to get her inheritance. The niece and nephew are stepsiblings, but there’s an implied romance between them, making them seem extra ominous. Charlotte Spencer plays Esther, whose character arc was one of my absolute favorites on the show.
Couch-Sharing Capability: High
God I WISH I had someone to watch this with me! My husband wasn’t really into it (no surprise there) so I have been tweeting the #SanditonSisterhood non-stop and texting my one friend who watched the show to gush after every episode. The men are TOO HOT and I feel like that wealth should be shared, ya feel? A fellow Austenite would really sweeten the deal, so you can discuss at length how much darker and sexier Sanditon is than the Jane Austen you know and love.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Wait For it…
You don’t need to be drunk for the first seven episodes of Sanditon, but I will write this post with a warning: the showrunners put a freaking cliffhanger at the end of the last episode in hopes of getting a second season. And…guess what? They didn’t get one. So yes, the last 15-20 minutes of this series is disappointing AS HELL and you should probably be white wine hammered by the time you get to that point. But I enjoyed the rest of it so much, I still bought the whole season and watched it a second time.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Austen Fix
If, like me, you’re always on the hunt for something that will fill the 2005 Pride and Prejudice shaped hole in your heart, then Sanditon is for you. It’s Austen, it’s balls and sexy dancing, it’s hot dudes and hot-headed women who stand up to them, it’s enemistry so intense you want to scream, it’s gorgeous seaside cinematography and sexy villainous women with incredible redemption arcs, and, most importantly, it gives us this:
Have you watched Sanditon? Are you brave enough to watch, knowing it doesn’t end well and won’t get renewed? Were you lucky enough to see the Theo James’ butt in the British version? Meet me in the comments to discuss the important stuff.