Before I left New Zealand my parents and I sat down together to watch a television miniseries called Parade's End. The show, directed by Susanna White and written by Tom Stoppard, is an adaptation of the Parade's End novels by Ford Madox Ford. The story follows an extremely intelligent Anglican Tory civil servant, Christopher Tietjens, who is often sweetly oblivious to his tumultuous personal life. With WWI approaching as well as the battle for women rights (led by the suffragettes) and modernity in all its forms, an array of political and personal dramas confront Tietjens thus creating an appropriate setting for all sorts of emotional twists and confrontations.
On watching Parade's End my family quickly concluded that it was the 'smart person's' Downton Abbey as we enjoyed the intricate dialogue which we could barely keep up with (in a good way). Furthermore, the beautiful filming of an unbelievably well chosen cast (which includes a melange of new and old faces such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall and Adelaide Clemens) makes for perfection within perfection. In my eyes, Parade's End has made its way to the top of the peak from which only a handful of special shows can stand and admire the view below.