Conclusion: Parade's End is initially a bit of a tough slog, and its difficult to care about anyone in Stoppard's adaptation of Ford's novels. Given time to breathe and develop, though, both the characters and the story become absorbing; so much so that, by miniseries' end, I was riveted, melodrama or no. HBO Home Entertainment's Blu-ray release certainly helps, thanks to a terrific video presentation and solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track.
Excerpt: Lately, Benedict Cumberbatch is all over the place. His turn as Sherlock Holmes in TV’s Sherlock was well received and he played a great villain in this past summers Star Trek Into Darkness. He has several films on the horizon and for what it’s worth, he is certainly a good actor. Parade’s End is a 5-Part HBO mini series and part of what works in its favor are the performances.
Excerpt: The British Empire was on the wane in the early years of the 20 th Century. Emblematic of this decline was the changing moral structure of the aristocracy and a new feeling of egalitarianism sweeping the country. British playwright Tom Stoppard has adapted Ford Madox Ford’s series of four novels, covering the life and times of a proper English gentleman in that tumultuous era for the country.
Conclusion: It may be too dramatic for 'Downton' fans that like their drama light and fluffy. Cumberbatch is good enough to demand attention. As a matter of fact the entire cast is pretty stellar. It's just that it's so grave, so solemn, that it's hard to justify spending five hours watching these characters wallow in self-loathing. That said, at least you know you're getting a great audio and video presentation, as is par for the course with HBO.