Lost in Austin Austen*

In all things WordPress, I bow to Allyn Gibson. If my own ability to put a site’s design together falls over, I will whimper at him until he helps out. So, given his posts about the joys of upgrading wp, I naturally approached my first live upgrade with some trepidation. It took less than five minutes. So that’s another time-wasting plan foiled. Only a few days left till I submit the novella, so I need some rocket fuel today.

I’m thinking about writing a review of Lost in Austen for shiny shelf, but I suspect my current editor – who also writes for t’shelf – might spot that. My emailed rant, the morning after, runs something like:

Someone suggested that watching Lost in Austen on ITV1 was a Bridget Jonesy thing that would count as research. It was not and does not. It takes the amusing conceit of The Eyre Affair and stamps on it until it becomes that Austen spoof episode of Red Dwarf but with less jokes. It demonstrates the depths Alex Kingston‘s career has reached. It doesn’t cut back to Lizzie Bennent on a binge-drinking session whilst watched a DVD of Colin Firth. And it has a Darcy about whom the only comment [big magpie] could produce was “he needs to brush his hair”.

Sorry, I can’t believe I wasted an hour on such drivel and I’d like to vent. The best thing about it was the advert for Paignton Zoo in the middle.

Naturally, any actual review will be more measured, and point out that, actually, Alex Kingston does a good job on playing this revisionist version of Mrs Bennett, and that Hugh Bonneville was a very good Mr Bennett. It might mention Lost in Austen not only in the context of The Eyre Affair but also the long tradition of Pride and Prejudice professional fanfic such as Pemberley or Pride and Promiscuity.  None the less, the tv series is lazy and presumes the central conceit will carry the viewer over the lack of convincing dialogue or original characters. Unlike Sam in Life on Mars (a series Lost in Austen is drawing much comparison to), there is zero empathy towards the contemporary character stranded in this strange world.

*I’m not the only one to think a comedy of errors in the style of the early Coen brothers and called Lost in Austin would be better, right?

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9 Responses to “Lost in Austin Austen*”

  1. Kitty Says:

    Oh dear. Oh dear.

    That review-let just made me look it up on youtube and…

    …I really liked it. WHOOPS. But I *am* pretty easily amused.

  2. Mags Says:

    You do have the ultimate excuse these days!

    I suspect my response is in part because I knew I should be writing and I meant to be, but I got lured into it and thus felt annoyed that I’d abandoned my meisterwerk for this.

    I have since
    a) read ‘How to Read a Novel’ by John Sutherland (review pending)
    b) spent 24 hours sans interweb or tv and written several thousand words.

    I think the lesson is clear.

  3. Allyn Says:

    Mags, Mags, Mags, you’ve never needed to whimper. I’ll code for digestive biscuits. :D

  4. Mags Says:


  5. Kitty Says:

    24 hours sans interweb or tv

    …the mere thought of this terrifies me. D:

  6. Stuart Says:

    I love it – not least because Alex Kingston is playing Alison Steadman playing Mrs Bennett, rather than playing the character directly, whic makes the undercutting of Mrs B’s usual role as mad handwringer later on in the series all the better.

    Try the next couple of episodes – it’s a slow starter and episode one is the weakest…

  7. Mags Says:

    I just don’t realistically have time: it’s already had 60 minutes and I don’t want to give it more. ;)

  8. barb Says:

    I just cryed my eyes out at the last lost in austin n need to seriously go back in time! Aw the bliss of living in a wonderful country side setting!!

  9. moosifer jones’ grouch » Blog Archive » Joan Fontaine – still not dead Says:

    [...] lost in austin learn to spell, people. Austen, not Austin.   [...]

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