I highlighted From Mansfield with Love when it first premiered, and wanted to check back in regarding my impressions of it now that it’s aired a dozen episodes. First off, the practical aspects of it as far as adapting Austen’s 18th-century story to a 21st-century world were, and continue to be, very cleverly done – reworking Fanny Price as a housekeeper/maid-of-all-work at a large hotel just makes so much sense and allows so many aspects of the story to fall into place organically and not feel forced. Frankie Price has worked as a housekeeper at Mansfield Hotel for years under a dictatorial manager, with only the support of her best friend Edmund to comfort her. Her brother Will sends her a camera and asks her to makes vlogs to document her life for him.
Now that it’s aired twelve episodes, I’m a little disappointed in the series on the whole. It seems sweet but uninspired (perhaps not entirely unlike the original novel, ha!) There are a few moments and scenes peppered here and there that are just wonderful, and interestingly, they’re mostly the moments that deviate entirely from the novel, when Frankie and Edmund hilariously riff off each other about imaginary scenarios or contemporary fantasy or literary worlds or the line of suitors presumably lining up outside Frankie’s door. There’s a sparkly, very endearing chemistry in those moments that’s kept me tuning in the series. On the whole, however, while the leads are engaging, the writing and dialogue are alternately quite exposition-heavy (i.e. episode 12 detailing exhaustively the details of the Crawford family), or just flat, consumed with domestic and daily details that don’t move plot or relationship forward. I do enjoy the series, but I recommend a light viewing schedule, feeling free to skip episodes or jump around within it to find the most interesting parts.
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