The period drama genre has long had a fairly indisputable king: Julian Fellowes created in 2010 a series that has the status of global phenomenon as 'Downton Abbey'. With the second film underway and a new fiction for HBO, the screenwriter was in charge of adapting himself with 'Belgravia', a six-episode miniseries that arrives this Friday on Movistar +.
This time it goes back a bit in time with respect to what we are accustomed to starting on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, where the supplier of the British army, James Trenchard (Philip Glenister), and his wife Anne (Tansim Greig) are invited by Edmund Bellasis (Jeremy Neumark Jones), suitor of his daughter Sophia (Emily Reid), at the Duchess of Richmond's reception.
Twenty-six years after the battle, the newly developed area of Belgravia in London will be the cause of a somewhat awkward reunion in which we will see how that bygone era drags the odd secret between the Trenchard and Bellasis families.
Knowing who the project comes from, and having that 'Downton Abbey' as a great reference, it is not surprising that we can see 'Belgravia' with that feeling of "I've seen this before." We have changed the countryside for the city ... but not much either since although it promised more urban drama of London society, we navigated between various scenarios.
Another, I think grateful, change compared to other similar fictions (and even taking into account that the 'Downton Abbey' cohort had characters of all ages) comes to focus on some protagonists who are already older and refreshingly gray and wrinkled. . Here it is not so much interested in the love affairs and circumstances of the next generation but in those ghosts of the past and managing a long-hidden situation.
A touch of soap opera but not enough to hook
An intention to dispense with trivial youthful vicissitudes that you can almost see from the beginning. Dancing and seeing young men and women courting is not so important as influencing, on the one hand, tense calm and intrusiveness. The reunion between the two family matriarchs has more to probe a hostile territory for those who do not have "blue blood" than to catch up or even advance the plot.
Beyond sharing the signs of identity of Julian Fellowes' work (careful production, period, high society goings-on, sharp dialogues, etc.), 'Belgravia' is noticeably done with a broad brush even with an interesting reflection on class alienation .
Although it can attract its fans thanks to its soap opera tone and its proposal, the fiction lacks enough appeal to ensure the interest of the viewer. Something that, ultimately, ends up weighing down viewing.