When it comes to adaptations of Agatha Christie novels, my favorites are usually part of the british Agatha Christie’s Marple TV show. More like a group of made-for-TV mini movies, Agatha Christie’s Marple is an updated take on the famous mystery novels.
Now, perhaps they are not the most faithful adaptations, in fact the show takes novels that didn’t normally contain Miss Marple as its detective and sort of slips her in to add them to its show. Still, it is a great modern adaptation with many many surprises even for those familiar with Christi’e work.
The title character, Miss Marple, is played by two separate actresses throughout the show. Geraldine McEwan begins the show, taking the character from seasons 1-3 and Julia McKenzie takes over seasons 4-6. Of the two I prefer McKenzie’s portrayal as she is a little less frail. However both actresses are superb and take Marple’s charm and intelligence without making into a shallow quirk.
One of my favorite surprises during each episode is discovering familiar actors guest starring in each. Jack Davenport, Benedict Cumberbatch, Burn Gorman, Sean Biggerstaff, Richard Armitage, Rupert Grave, and many others have had roles in the show. I love sitting down to watch and going, “OMG, it’s Petunia Dursley!” or something similar. There’s usually at least one per episode.
Like BBC’s Sherlock, this show has long form episode. Because of this each season only has either 3 or 4 episodes per season. I do wish the series went of for longer, if only to cover more of Christie’s work. Every episode is well done, my two favorites being MURDER IS EASY (featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, yum) and ENDLESS NIGHT.
This show is a good example of an adaptation that, while it is not particularly faithful, still does a good job of telling the story. They absolutely nail the portrayal of Marple as a character and give Christie’s plots a good deal of respect.
If you enjoy British TV and Agatha Christie I highly recommend giving this show a try. The whole series is available on Hulu.
What is your favorite TV adaptation of a book? Share in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,