“Do you hear the people sing?” Apparently not in this new television series adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.
The new six-part TV show by BBC and directed by Tom Shankland tells the story of the novel in full, without the music but with all the drama, throughout its six hour-long episodes. Multi-awarded screenwriter Andrew Davies took extra care to include scenes from the book that have only been referenced to in the musical and stay faithful to the narrative, consequently providing us viewers a totally different watching experience.
Shankland’s Les Miserables features a pretty star-studded cast too. Dominic West (The Affair) plays Jean Valjean; David Oyelowo (Selma) plays Inspector Javert; and Lily Collins (The Mortal Instruments, and Love, Rosie) plays the misfortunate single mother Fantine. Even Olivia Colman is part of the group, playing Madame Thénardier, the innkeeper who took young Cosette into custody. Meanwhile, Ellie Bamber and Josh O’Connor costar as the young lovers Cosette and Marius, and Erin Kellyman stars as the luckless Éponine.
If you’ve been dying to read Hugo’s novel but found themselves too lazy to sit through hundreds of pages of text, then Shankland’s Les Miserables is worth watching.
You can catch it every Sunday on PBS starting April 14, 2019.