Parade’s End DVD
Parade’s End was partially financed by HBO and eventually landed a timeslot on the network this past February. The period drama is a 5-piece miniseries, sporting an all-star cast, a great director in Susanna White, and a script that was crafted by Tom Stoppard. What results is a complicated love triangle between an adoring woman, an unhappy woman, and a stuffy gentleman.

A love triangle may not seem like the greatest premise for a miniseries, but the characters are so well-drawn, we could probably watch them within any storytelling frame. In this narrative, Christoper Tietjens (Benedict Cumberbatch) marries a woman named Sylvia (Rebecca Hall) after it is determined he might be the father of her unborn child. Tietjens is an honorable man, and while his wife acts out and even has a fling with another man, there is no real thought of divorcing her. Then, on the brink of WWI, Tietjens meets Valentine Wannop, and his perspective on life and relationships begins to change.

Parade’s End is a period drama, but it isn’t strictly dramatic. The series blends elements of comedy and drama fluidly, creating a series that’s not always consistent, but is always surprising. The amusing moments help to break up some of the more somber ones, where Sylvia is panicking and saying horrible things and where men are getting half of their faces blown off in the trenches.

Based on a set of novels by Ford Madox Ford, Parade’s End might feel a little short by the time it reaches its conclusion. We spend so much time with these characters through the first four episodes that the wrap-up in the final episode is a little unsatisfying, even as the drama’s characters are given a fitting conclusion. If we could linger a little longer within the series, it might be perfect; as it stands, Parade’s End is touching, well-written, and engaging.

Best Special Feature: The only extra on the disc is an interview with Tom Stoppard by KCRW’s The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell. It was a radio interview, so it’s kind of unnerving because there’s nothing visual to look at. However, Stoppard’s an interesting (although softspoken guy) and if you get the chance to give it a listen while knitting or cleaning or whatever, it’s worth a perusal.

Regardless, if you are going to purchase HBO Home Entertainment’s set, you should be doing so for the feature itself. Parade’s End is available for $25.99 over at Amazon.

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