Is there anything more comforting than a Jane Austen happy ending? Why PBS Masterpiece’s Sanditon desperately needs another season.
If you love period drama (or Jane Austen), then you likely have seen Sanditon by this point. And, if you’re anything like me, the ending has driven you absolutely crazy. Surely, a Jane Austen adaptation deserves a Jane happily ever after!
Jane Austen’s Sanditon
For those unfamiliar with Sanditon, the manuscript is Jane Austen’s unfinished last work. She wrote eleven chapters about a delightful seaside town full of intriguing characters when her illness prevented her from continuing and finishing one last promising and witty novel.
Unfortunately, that also means we will never know her true intended ending. Indeed, Sanditon’s conclusions will only ever be fan fiction seen through the eyes of several creative minds.
Over the years, there have been a few standout continuations, including Jane Austen’s Sanditon: A continuation, by Anna Austen Lefroy (Austen’s niece). But even that novel, with the author closest to Jane, remains unfinished. (And if anyone knows where to read a copy of Lefroy’s continuation, please let me know!)
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The latest version of Sanditon comes to us as a romantic period drama from Andrew Davies, the same writer who gave us the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
First aired in the UK, Sanditon finally made its way overseas on PBS Masterpiece, capturing the hearts of several period drama aficionados only to announce its cancellation, marking this Sanditon as yet another incomplete version of Jane Austen’s last novel.
Sanditon – What It’s About
In the TV series, the story revolves around Charlotte Heywood, a spirited, bookish, and intelligent farmer’s daughter who encounters a carriage accident. With excitement, Charlotte helps an enthusiastic entrepreneur (Kris Marshall).
In return for her kindness, Tom Parker (the entrepreneur) invites her to Sanditon, a seaside town he’s developing into a resort.
Charlotte accepts, with an eye for adventure, and enters into the new and exhilarating world of Sanditon. It’s a world of dancing and swimming. There are new friendships and fascinating dinner parties.
Of course, Charlotte meets an ensemble of captivating characters at these Sanditon parties. From the miserly and rich Lady Denham (Anne Reid), the Antiguan heiress Miss Lambe (Crystal Clarke), to social “brother and sister” schemers attempting to inherit the mean Lady Denham’s money.
But it’s Tom Parker’s brother Sidney Parker (Theo James) making the biggest impression. He’s her Mr. Darcy, and these two characters clash almost instantaneously.
With a fantastic ensemble of characters and an ideal setting, Sanditon is a textbook setup for a period drama series to last more than one season, which was, of course, Andrew Davies’ original intention. But, for a series meant to continue, this addictive period drama, also ends rather unsatisfactorily.
So, rather than write out a typical review, I emphasize seven great reasons this lavish period drama not only deserves a second season but also needs one desperately. And, if you haven’t watched Sanditon yet, here are seven reasons why you should! (MINOR SPOILERS INCLUDED.)
#1: Theo James as Sidney
Theo James truly knows how to brood with the best of our period drama leading men! He just has that ‘it’ factor with intense stares and smoldering chemistry with leading lady Rose Williams.
Sure, we initially despise him and all of his rudeness, but that’s what makes his performance so convincing! By the end of the season, we feel for poor Sidney, who must sacrifice everything to save his brother and his family.
#2: Rose Williams as Charlotte
What is a good Jane Austen drama without a wonderful female protagonist? Charlotte is our eyes into the seductive world of Sanditon, and Rose Williams (also fantastic in Reign) plays her to perfection. With her wide-eyed naivety, Charlotte still holds her own with fierce independence and outspoken opinions.
Add in her good nature and kindness to characters like Miss Lambe, and you’ll be sure to love Sanditon’s heroine despite the terrible cliffhanger. Surely, Charlotte doesn’t deserve that ending. Right?
#3: A Diverse Jane Austen
Surprisingly, Jane Austen introduced the Antiguan heiress, Miss Lambe, in her first eleven chapters. However, we will never know her original intentions regarding her first black character.
That said, Andrew Davies’ interpretation of the romantic Miss Georgiana Lambe, who gets tangled in bad situations and plots, was a pleasure to watch. I would love to see what happens to her character next as her story also remains sadly unfinished.
#4: The Swoony Young Stringer
Aside from the central love story between Charlotte and Sidney, there’s the sweetest secondary love interest, Young Stringer (Leo Suter). He’s an idealistic architect who has dreams and ambitions to better his life despite his poor background. There’s beautiful equality between Young Stringer and Charlotte that almost made me want to root for them instead.
Nevertheless, he’s so kind and sweet, that a second season could introduce a new story and perhaps romance for Young Stringer. Stringer needs some love, right?
#5: The Layered Female Character Esther Denham
Esther (Charlotte Spencer) is cold and seemingly without feeling, but underneath she’s independent and full of intense emotion. Her stepbrother has manipulated her for years, and that has kept her from real happiness.
How she breaks free and reveals her true self, is lovely to watch. Honestly, we need more layered characters like Esther Denham.
On a side note, Lady Denham is also a fascinating female character. She’s the one in power, and she won’t let anyone forget it! Her negativity made for great entertainment.
#6: Did I mention the smoldering chemistry?
When you find onscreen magic, why throw it away? The chemistry between Sidney and Charlotte is so palpable that their interactions are both fiery and compelling. You just can’t look away. We need more romantic scenes between Sidney and Charlotte. Things were just getting good…
#7: Sanditon Deserves a Happy Ending!
Break the curse! Give Sanditon and Jane Austen fans a real ending. Amid all the darkness and tragedy in the world, we need more light. We need more happy endings. Surely, Jane Austen and now Andrew Davies meant for Charlotte and Sidney to find happiness in the end.
With such a devoted fanbase, why not at least make a two-hour movie? Finish the story. And if funding is a problem, prove the popularity with a fan-funded campaign. It worked for Miss Fisher and Veronica Mars!
Overall Sanditon Thoughts
Sanditon is a must-see period drama with extravagant costumes, excellent characterization, and romance that will knock you off your feet. Sure, some scenes are not very Jane Austen and one moment unnecessary.
Nevertheless, the series still pays homage to the beloved author, particularly in the romance between Sidney and Charlotte.
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Furthermore, Andrew Davies truly embellishes Austen’s original characters with interesting backstories and developments. Like the best melodramas, Sanditon leaves you hanging and genuinely wanting more. Make it happen PBS and ITV! The Sanditon audience is waiting.
Do you hope for a second season of Sanditon? What did you think of the addictive Jane Austen period drama? Sound off below…
Content Note: Rated TV-14 for male nudity and sensuality over an eight-episode span. Nothing overly gratuitous.
Where to Watch: PBS Passport and Prime Video with the PBS Masterpiece Add-On. You can also buy on DVD and Blu-ray.
“You had me at hello.”
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.
I have loved none but you.”
Top Photo Credit: Courtesy of Photographer: Simon Ridgway/© Red Planet Pictures / ITV 2019
13 thoughts on “‘Sanditon’ – Seven Reasons the Jane Austen Inspired Drama Deserves a Second Season”
While I do wish this hadn’t ended on a cliff hanger, I may be one of the few who felt this new Jane Austen offering fell flat. The further into the series I watched, the less I cared about the main characters. I did not like Sidney at all and really felt Charlotte and Stringer were much better matched. The recklessness and stupidity of Charlotte’s host was unbelievable. I did really love the surprise of Esther’s personal journey. I also feel you neglected to mention two of the most endearing characters of the show – the two younger Parker siblings who added much needed light humor to the story.
The show has had a polarizing effect, for sure! Perhaps because it doesn’t quite feel like Jane Austen. But I personally enjoyed it and think it’s important to support this type of content. If there’s too much negativity about the series, they won’t make new period dramas, new Jane Austen adaptations, etc. So, I think the negativity swung too far even though I understand some of the criticisms. But I think there are many people who loved it, and deserve a second season to see their HEA! And yes, I agree, that’s another reason to have a second season. The hypochondriac siblings were entertaining. 🙂
Yes, but they were all supposed to be developed in later seasons! I think there is definitely a transformation in the jovial younger Parker brother. Perhaps he and Miss Lambe down the road? I think he is being held back, albeit lovingly by his sister. Stringer was definitely supposed to be the love in the end. That is the great think about the show! The fact that it slowly developed people and left us all interested in seeing where they went.
I would love to see a season 2 of Sanditon. I feel like Charlotte has more of a story to her. A true Jane Austin heroine I hope for a proper Jane Austin ending for her. Maybe see Stringer rise up in status with career success and money so that he could feel he could woo her. Also like the character of Miss. Lambe, what would happen to an heiress of her background in these times? So many unanswered questions.
I have read many of Jane Austen’s books, and watched all of the adapted screenplay videos. Andrew Davies and Julian Fellows are my two favorite writers, although Patricia Rozema did and incredible job in writing and directing Mansfield Park. It would be a horrible disrespect to Jane Austen’s legacy to end Sanditon as it did in Season 1. PBS and Andrew Davies owe it to Miss Austen to finish the story in the spirit in which she would have..
I loved this series! Although I felt that some of the plot may have not been faithful to Jane Austen, it was certainly fitting for the time period. I would love to see a second series, if that is not possible then at the very least least, there should be a two hour movie made that ties off all the loose ends into a HAPPY ending.
I agree. And I think a two-hour movie would work just fine to give closure to the story!
Such a perfect show! Equally delicious and deeply interesting. Soooooooo devastated that it is not getting a second season. I don’t understand as it is soooooo pitch perfect and interesting.
Also, did anyone realize that Sidney did to Charlotte what his fiance had done to him? We don’t know the circumstances of her breaking the engagement to marry a wealthier man either. I see so many interesting things that could take place in a second season. Her visiting Susan in London! Her becoming friends with Esther! And, as much as I LOOOOVE Sidney, I think the plot was being set up to put Charlotte and Mr. Stringer together in the long run! Her love with Sidney was to mature her and teach her about life……..so sad to not see it!
I’ve just finish watching Sanditon and I loved this period drama. I’ve discovered it in your list “the top 35 period dramas to satisfy your poldark addiction.”
I am so disappointed it was not renewed for a second season that I at once signed the petition on line for this show to be renewed either that on ITV if that is their decision. This show really deserve a proper ending and Charlotte and Sidney need a proper ending. In fact while watching Sandition I had the same feeling than for Poldark : Delmelza redeemend Ross as well as Charlotte redeemed Sidney, she made him a better man. I’ve seen in the comments that some people think Charlotte shoud have ended with Young Stringer may be because they’re from the same social class but I disagree with that : Ross and Delmelza were not from the same social class and they form a great couple as well as Charlotte and Sidney in Sanditon
Hi, Pascale! I’m so glad you found Sanditon to watch. We both loved it and really want there to be a season two. And, I agree. I think Charlotte should definitely end up with Sidney. I like your comparison to Poldark. 🙂
HI Amber, I also love the Original Television Soundtrack of Sanditon which I am often listenning and guess what my favorite track is “Sidney and Charlotte Dance” 😉
Love it! It is a great soundtrack. 🙂