I love anything to do with the gothic genre so when I heard that the BBC were making a supernatural tv series set in the late 19th Century I knew it would be right up my street. The first episode of The Living and the Dead finds a successful Psychologist Nathan Appleby and his photographer wife Charlotte returning to the family farm and quickly having to take it over after the sudden (and suspicious) death of Nathan’s mother.
Early on in the episode in a (fictional) village gathering of a solstice fire is light which is very pagan and hints at a more mystical undertone to this countryside dwelling. The visual was quite beautiful and cleverly used as when the fires dies so does Nathan’s mother. And talking of his mothers death (which will probably remain a mystery for some time) was such a gothic way to go, scared to death by an intruder who perhaps could be a apparition. Now it may sound bad but I loved this part as it reminded me of Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff’s tragic demise.
It’s clear to see that at the heart of the show is an exploration of the boundaries between the supernatural and the psychological and here both walk firmly hand in hand. When Nathan talks to the disturbed (and totally creepy) Harriet he doesn’t believe in ghosts as he illustrates by saying “I have certainly seen people haunted, but only by an aspect of themselves never by a ghost” which is really interesting and as someone who loves psychology just as much as the gothic I loved this quick explanation of Appleby because in most cases that would be exactly true but not in the world of The Living and the Dead. Also something of note is that the show looks to be following the idea that ghosts are fragments of the past piercing the veil of the preset and so in very much the same way the future is also seeping through which made for a very interesting moment at the end of the episode when Nathan comes face to face with a iPad toting woman! WTF!
In conclusion The Living and the Dead had a very promising debut on the BBC last night and I will deficiently watch the coming episodes (but I might have to binge watch the lot on iPlayer). Also for me this show is a momentary relief after hearing that Penny Dreadful has so suddenly ended (I want a season 4!!!) and Game of Thrones so beautifully concluded for a year as well this week, so perhaps to fill this tv show void I should try and stretch it over 6 weeks to give me something to watch…but nah I want it all now, I’m to invested in the drama not to have the conclusion straight away as it is available to me!