jamestown

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There’s this new TV show, Jamestown, about women who were shipped to America to marry the new colonists in 1619. Guardian critic Mark Lawson complained it was somehow ~unrealistic to depict 17th century women having “modern” thoughts like… objecting to rape? And making jokes?

This is so stupid, sexist, and shortsighted, FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS: 

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jamestown

tonight, a show called jamestown starts airing on sky in the uk. it’s amazing from start to finish and it deserves so much attention for so many reasons:

  • set in the early 17th century
  • about british women who were sent to colonise jamestown, virginia
  • the horrors of colonialism do not go unaddressed
  • good, respectful representation of the native americans
  • and they are all actually played by native americans!!!!!
  • the female leads are really well written
  • fiesty irish barmaid! scheming rich bitch! soft gentle farm wife!
  • strong female friendships! healthy platonic male/female relationships!
  • the supporting characters are great
  • nothing terrible happens just for the sake of the ~historical drama~
  • cinematography is absolutely stunning
  • covers so much history of the era, from witchcraft to slavery
  • made by the company who did downton and the big budget is apparent
  • the first episode really just establishes the situation so it’s worth waiting for episode two to really get a feel for it
  • warning: there is a rape in the first episode, but it is not gratuitous and is not exploitatively used as a plot device. it’s handled really well.
Jamestown - a little introduction to the new series on Sky 1

( l to r, Jocelyn, Verity and Alice)

Set in 1620, some 12 years after the first all male settlers established the Jamestown colony in Virginia,  the TV series focuses its story on the three women, who have arrived by ship to meet their new ‘husbands’ who have bought them with 150lb of tobacco, and who they have never met.

Verity, played by Niamh Walsh, Jocelyn, played by Naomi Battrick, and Alice, played by Sophie Rundle have all made the perilous journey across the Atlantic to begin new lives with men who are strangers to them, and of whom they know very little. What drives them to take such risks? Is it perhaps the promise of a new life, a new beginning, a slate wiped clean. But from what kind of past are these women running?

But in the case of Alice, she becomes torn between two brothers, Henry, played by Max Beesley, who has ‘purchased her hand’ and Silas, played by Stuart Martin, who meets her off the ship, and with whom she falls in love.

Inspired by the book A Land as God Made it : Jamestown and the birth of America by Dr James Horn, who acted as historical consultant on the series, and made by the same TV company that brought Downton Abbey to life, the series does not shy away from the harsh and often brutal realities of the new colony. 

And the series has already been recommissioned for a second season….. Sky senses a hit…..