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Gentleman Jack

Once again I need to express exasperation at how difficult it is to find good material for streaming. Finding it is like finding a needle in a haystack. Brute force seining through rivers of dreck is the only method I know. I found “Gentleman Jack” while seining through dreck on HBO Max.

The series is not exactly new. According to the Wikipedia article, it was a joint production of HBO and BBC 1 and premiered in the spring of 2019. There are eight episodes in the first season. A second season is now in production.

The story is based on the life of Anne Lister, 1791-1840, a member of the Yorkshire gentry who has been called “the first modern lesbian.” She kept diaries, written in code, that were not deciphered until years after her death.

I’ve watched only one episode so far, but this promises to be one of the best period pieces I’ve seen in a long time. It is excellently cast. The settings in and out of doors are visually rich. Each scene is beautifully conceived. The characters are much more multi-dimensional than what one usually gets in then-and-there social dramas. Anne Lister by all accounts was a highly intelligent and complex woman. The intelligence of the script and the complexity of the characters and situations seem to be doing justice to that.

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