Review of “The Buccaneers”: This period drama on Apple TV is more depressing than brash

Review of "The Buccaneers": This period drama on Apple TV is more depressing than brash

Unlike other period dramas, Apple TV+’s The Buccaneers features anachronistic elements like pop-rock music.

The show examines the difficult realities of matrimony and casts doubt on the idea of happy endings.

The major characters’ friendships are well-portrayed in The Buccaneers, despite the fact that they frequently become strained and fall apart throughout the course of the season.

The Buccaneers makes it obvious from the very first episode that this won’t be your typical historical drama. Olivia Rodrigo’s music appears in the series trailer, which may have been your first hint in that direction.

Review of "The Buccaneers": This period drama on Apple TV is more depressing than brash
Review of “The Buccaneers”: This period drama on Apple TV is more depressing than brash

However, if you’re the kind of person who prefers to see a show without seeing any previews, the series’ use of pop-rock artists who are anachronistic is something that starts almost immediately and doesn’t stop throughout.

In a scene straight out of a ’80s film, each of the key characters parades down a marble staircase with glowing neon letters spelling out their names over the screen to the tune of Miya Folick’s “What We Wanna.”

The first of the titular Buccaneers to find love is Conchita Closson (Alisha Boe), whom we first meet on her wedding day. Her stuffy English in-laws, however, aren’t too happy about this once-rebellious party girl who is about to marry Richard (Josh Dylan) and become the next Lady Marable.

As we soon find out, Mabel Elmsworth (Josie Totah) is not at all interested in snatching a spouse for herself. In the meantime, she is accustomed to not being viewed as particularly attractive when standing next to her sister Lizzy (Aubi Ibrag).

The other two sisters in the group are Jinny (Imogen Waterhouse) and Nan (Kristine Froseth) St.

George, but Nan is the one we should focus on because, in her own words, she “was never supposed to be the main character,” content to let her friends and sister fight for attention.

However, whether she’s ready for it or not, Nan also finds herself in the center of the season’s main drama—a convoluted, messy love triangle—as she is ultimately divided between the prospect of a romantic relationship with Theo, Duke of Tintagel (Guy Remmers), or Guy Thwarte, one of his closest friends (Matthew Broome).

Wharton herself can be held responsible for some of the darkest themes in The Buccaneers.

One of the reasons the BBC miniseries’ adaptation of The Buccaneers garnered criticism for deviating from the original storyline when it was released was the author’s refusal to accept that all of her novels might have a happy conclusion.

However, some viewers of the Apple TV+ series may not be aware of the exact number of pages that have been adapted from Wharton’s original novel for the screen.

This translation seems more keen on following the route that Wharton probably would have chosen for her heroines if she had had more time to finish writing, even though it does feel more defiant in other ways, adding a deeper commentary on both race and queerness into the plot.

In the world of The Buccaneers, marriage is viewed as a means to an end rather than the happy ending to an enthralling and passionate relationship; one may only aim for a match that is at least somewhat bearable.

For other characters, even the routine components of married life are burdened by issues like extramarital affairs, illegitimate offspring, and physical abuse that occurs first in private before becoming more visible.

Even the elderly are not exempt from these issues; Christina Hendricks, who plays Nan and Jinny’s mother, is a captivating actress who endures turmoil in her own marriage while still hoping for better for her children.

The series’ main narratives have a heavy emotional weight that distorts the glamor and splendor of the Gilded Age; just a few of them provide a faint hope for a resolution.

The Best Part of “The Buccaneers” Is When It Focuses on Friendships
The Buccaneers’ EnsemblePicture sourced from Apple TV+
The Buccaneers is fundamentally a series about a close-knit group of friends, and every time these young ladies appear together on screen, the show gets better and better.

Regrettably, as the Buccaneers grow increasingly isolated from one another due to their separate obligations, these incidents occur less frequently during the season.

The female characters in The Buccaneers save the program from being overly disturbing, since so many of the fictional males would genuinely prefer to engage in toxic behavior rather than seek therapy. So why does the show frequently divide them up?

Though the show’s brave creative decision to embrace pop music and its many society events where its core quintet dons an array of exquisite gowns, The Buccaneers isn’t likely to live in the same positive period drama universe as shows like Sanditon or Bridgerton.

Even if the show occasionally dabbles with romance by including a variety of scenarios, such as individuals falling madly in love with one another or hands caressing covertly, romance isn’t the major goal.

The final touches, on the other hand, are more realistic and frequently cynical; nonetheless, whether or not they will leave a bad taste in the mouth relies solely on what the audience is expecting to see from the story itself.



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