Sunday night TV: Amazing Race and Austen

Oh how this season of The Amazing Race gets better. The goths are gone, but now, so are the most grating team this side of Jonathan & Victoria. After the debacle of the all-star season (the last few episodes I have yet to watch), this has got to be a great improvement, and it definitely is. Although the first few legs were hit-and-miss, the episodes are presented in such a way that you really are hanging on to your seat, figuring out, more often than not, who is eliminated.

Take this most recent leg (spoilers if you haven’t seen it yet): three teams are scrambling after the Detour, all within minutes of each other, to avoid being Philiminated. The editing around Nic & Don’s, TK & Rachel’s, and Nate & Jen’s jockeying for position is well-done. I believe that this episode, or the one with involving the goths’ Philimination, should be the one presented to Emmy judges.

As soon as I was relieved with Nate and Jen’s elimination, I hopped over to PBS for the first week of its Jane Austen film festival. Persuasion started it off. Strange as it was to have the most sombre of Austen’s six novels to kick off the series, and to be compressed in under 90 minutes, I thought it managed to convey that atmosphere. The incidental music, mostly sparse piano, evoked Anne Elliot’s anguish over seeing Captain Wentworth again.

I also seemed to catch bits of self-pity, as expressed by Anne-as-diarist. That probably wasn’t in the novel text, but I suppose this makes the viewer more sympathetic to Anne’s situation. I did cringe with the penultimate scene – are they or aren’t they going to kiss? Whatever. Overall, I thought this Persuasion was an OK adaptation – 6/10 if it must be rated numerically.

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