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TV Series Review

We all know what a bad road trip feels like. It's generally a little too long, a little too cramped, with a few too many arguments and a dead body or two to toss out into the ocean depths.

Well … maybe we haven't all experienced that last bit.

But the Sky One show Jamestown—from the producers of Downton Abbey—suggests that the women heading to the first British colony in the Americas, in the year of our Lord 1619, endured all of that and more. For five months these young women suffered all manner of torment as they made their way to the other side of the world to meet their future spouses.

Once arriving in port, though, hopeful thoughts of exotic new-world beauty are replaced with the blood and pig-slop of a dirty settlement packed with disease. Oh, and turns out, the men—the ladies' intended future hubbies—aren't all that great, either. All the sorts of things you wouldn't want to write home to Mom about.

Assemble the Town

Jamestown features three main female characters, all of whom hew to a handful of stereotypes.

There's the good and helpful Alice Kett, who's betrothed to a brute of a man but drawn to his handsome brother. We meet the fiery and streetwise Verity Bridges, as well, who finds herself snarlingly connected to the town pub owner and local drunk. And let's not forget the lovely Jocelyn, a borderline aristocrat running from a dark past, who's betrothed to a gentle-spirited man in need of some feminine nudges.

Amidst the men, who have by-and-large been without female companionship for the last 12 years, we find a number of stereotypical sorts, as well: Sir George Yeardly, the recently knighted governor, who's barely holding onto his power; secretary Farlow, the finagling second-in-command pulling oh-so-many political strings; and Marshal Redwick, the brutish lawman who's willing to compromise and take a decent bribe for the greater—that is, his greater—good.

The Ladies Who Lunch and Manipulate

If that all sounds like the makeup of a typical afternoon soap opera, well, that's actually pretty close to what you get in this nicely styled period piece. As the show's press materials state, the women of Jamestown are "thrust into a new world of love, desire, power and survival."

That translates to a group of women leading, manipulating, cuddling and cajoling the sometimes hapless men around them. And they do it all with a surprising amount of feisty 21st century verve, considering the show's 17th century setting. If you're looking for historical accuracy you might want to crack open an encyclopedia or something in the history section at the library, instead. You won't find much of that here.

What you will find, though, is some occasional rough language, a lot of underhanded lying and manipulating, thumping rough-and-tumble violence between men, and some off-screen mishandling of women, all wrapped in a relatively easy-to-watch drama filled with likeable characters.

It may not end up sailing in as your favorite TV drama, and some sexualized moments are dark indeed. But for some, it might be better than a bad road trip.

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Episode Reviews

May 5, 2017: "Episode 1"



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Naomi Battrick as Jocelyn; Sophie Rundle as Alice; Niamh Walsh as Verity; Jason Flemyng as Sir George Yeardley; Stuart Martin as Silas Sharrow; Steven Waddington as Redwick; Max Beesley as Henry Sharrow; Burn Gorman as Nicholas Farlow; Gwilym Lee as Samuel Castell






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Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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