According to The Hollywood Reporter, PBS’ Masterpiece Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel focuses on poverty, struggle, and revolution. Hugo’s novel is about a group of characters in revolutionary France who lived during the historical period that preluded the anti-monarchist June Rebellion. The story is not new, in fact, it has been told many times on screen, on stage, and as a record-breaking musical. Les Miserables, originally made for the BBC differs from the previous adaptations since it focuses on the original source and offers a drama rather than a musical version.
According to RatioTimes, “the key difference, though, is that this TV adaptation goes into a great deal more depth in the students’ realisation that their cause is hopeless. In the musical, they realise this fairly late in the game and only have a brief final defence after learning the truth.” They are able to learn that the barricades have come down much earlier in the episode, therefore giving them the time to send home those who do not need to be there, prior to starting a longer battle scene than the one offered in the musical version.
The series has a great cast: Dominic West (The Wire, The Affair) plays Jean Valjean, the man at the center of the story who spends almost 20 years in search of redemption and a normal life after stealing bread to feed his starving sister. David Oyelowo (Selma) plays Javert, the police officer who dedicates his life to making sure that Jean Valjean will never be a free man. The rest of the main cast includes Lily Collins (To the Bone) as the orphan Fantine, who ends up working as a sex worker after becoming a single mother, and Ellie Bamber (Nocturnal Animals) who plays Cosette, Fantine’s daughter. The Oscar winner Olivia Coleman plays Madame Thénardier together with Adeel Akhtar, her cruel and authoritarian husband. The couple plays a vital role in Fantine’s story since her daughter Cosette ends up living with them, however, they abuse her, said The Hollywood Reporter.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new series Les Miserables is a high-end production that is mainly concerned with poverty, struggle, and revolution. It is quite relevant with the current discussions about wealth, class, and the prison industrial system, “a narrative about redemption, justice and the reach of the law seems just as relevant as it was when it was first published 157 years ago.” Les Miserables debuts April 14 on PBS.