16 Benedict Cumberbatch Things to Watch After You See Doctor Strange

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall in “Parade’s End”. (Photo: HBO/BBC Two)

Parade’s End

A swoony adaptation of a series of Ford Madox Ford novels, Parade’s End is a five-part British period drama set during the end of the Edwardian era. Bendysnoot Candybar plays Christopher Tietjens, conservative English aristocrat and general honorable man. Rebecca Hall plays his generally terrible but fun to watch socialite wife Sylvia, who does awful things with abandon. Sumptuous costumes and smoldering glances abound and everyone is various shades of unhappy or tortured. Especially after Tietjens meets spunky feminist neighbor girl Valentine (played by Adelaide Clemens).

Cumberbatch plays a perfectly uptight British aristocrat, and he’s great at it. But it’s Hall’s performance as Sylvia that’s worth watching. Her damaged villainess schtick is often infuriating, but there’s a real pain under the surface that’s hard to ignore.

Besides the love story business, Parade’s End also grapples rather extensively with social issues. From the decline of the British aristocracy to the rise of the suffragette movement, Parade’s End tries hard to be about something bigger than one man’s love triangle. It doesn’t always succeed, but it tries. When this originally aired a lot of critics referred to Parade’s End as a “more highbrown” Downton Abbey. This isn’t *precisely* true. (There’s also nothing wrong with Downton Abbey as it is, either.) But if you’re looking for something that’s slower and more serious than Downton, here you go.

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