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The Cazalets
updated 11.8.2001

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Talk about Fate! I just today finished listening to the last volume of The Cazalet Chronicles on tape. (I also own the books.) I knew the books had been brought to film but had no idea that PBS was about to air the film tonight. Imagine my surprise and delight when I looked at the weekly TV Guide and discovered that tonight you air the first part.

They say the mark of a good book is your hating for it to end. I felt that way today at the end of Casting Off. I cannot wait to see how you have translated this compelling series. Counting the minutes to airtime!

Janet Reilly
West Newbury, MA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Bravo, Masterpiece Theatre! I just saw your first episode of The Cazalets & was hooked right away! I can hardly wait for the second episode. I've been a fan of Masterpiece Theatre since the days of Upstairs, Downstairs & Brideshead Revisited -- absolute top quality presentation of top quality stories by top quality actors! Thank you for continuing that tradition with this new series!

Kelly Damude
Oakville, ON

Although we're often credited with having aired Brideshead Revisited, that show was actually not a Masterpiece Theatre production! See our FAQS page for more information.

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I wasn't aware that your station isn't subject to the same "moral" guidelines as the others that broadcast in the Los Angeles area. I have been outraged recently about the language that has been used on television and now find myself almost at a loss for words. My 13-year-old son and I were going through the channels at 9:15 tonight when your program was being shown and all of a sudden there is a bare-breasted woman on my television screen. Are you out of your minds? This is not Europe and this is still television, not an R rated movie theatre but our home. At this point I'm not at all interested in what context this story was emerging but just that my son and I had to suffer the embarrassment of this. Hello! There are still families in this country that have moral character. This has been an unfortunate experience and at the least you owe my son an apology. Thank you.

Judith Notchick
Bellflower, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
It was with great pleasure that I saw the first episode of The Cazalets last evening. The layering of both domestic and political issues has been extremely well done. The emphasis on the personalities and challenges for the children growing up during such difficult times is particularly relevant today. Thank you.

Cornelia Miller
Chicago, IL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I'm bewildered by the scene where Edward attempted to seduce his own daughter -- I realize the shock I feel may be meant to mirror what Louise feels, but it seemed just bizarre that Louise didn't appear at all in the second half of the broadcast. What's going on? I hope the series is going to deal with this in subsequent episodes and that incest isn't just one more "family thing" we're supposed to be taking in stride ("Oh, that rakish Edward.")

Gwen Orel
Montgomery, AL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I'm not much of a TV watcher, but this movie has really got me hooked! It's got everything -- it appeals to everyone, in one way or another. I'm quite impressed and I intend to watch every episode. This can truly be called a masterpiece!

Noreen Beauregard
Johnstown, PA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Superb! I have always been "hooked" on Masterpiece Theatre. My daughters as well. Keep up the good work.

Carmen Duclos
Orlando, FL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I really loved the first installment of the marvelous new program The Cazalets. Everything was first rate -- the acting, sets, scenery, costumes, hairdressing, music, etc. I can't wait for the next part...

Richard Wyland
Tucson, AZ

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
As a longtime, enthusiastic fan of Masterpiece Theatre I've been eagerly anticipating The Cazalets. I read and loved all four volumes of the extraordinary novels.

Well, I saw the first episode last night and, sadly, was a bit disappointed. The depth and richness of characterization, as well as the sense of involvement for the reader which made the books such a joy, was lacking in these initial two hours. I think most of my interest was due to my having read the books. Still, this is just the beginning and there's time for improvement! I will continue to watch in the hope that the drama proves worthy of the books!

Beth Schuffrin
Winnetka, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Instead of moving Masterpiece Theatre to Monday nights, why not move it to weekdays at 1:00PM so that this trashy soap opera can compete with the rest of the trashy soap operas on the networks? Let's see... dysfunctional families, incest, adultery, uncaring stepmother, unfit mothers and fathers, alcoholism, explicit sex and attempted rape... Just throw in destruction of the rain forest and a tad of homosexuality. There you go. "The Days of Our Cazalets."

Jean Laino
Amherst, MA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Last evening was a major disappointment for several reasons: 1/The British middle class had no corner on the market for having their lives messed up by World War One or Two. 2/The actors seemed "uncomfortable" with each other, with the era and the set. This is not in the tradition of British actors. 3/Somone must have had this in the archives to haul out for the next war, which unfortunately is not waiting in the wings. 4/The American public is being force-fed a heavy dose of "Ain't war awful, but how grand it is." I think I have made myself "perfectly clear."

Don Zook-Slagel
Waldoboro, ME

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Last night I watched the first episode of The Cazalets, which claims to "examine the role of war in the collapse of the British aristocratic class." Not so. This program instead did nothing but examine the role of sex in a multi-layered dysfunctional family, including adultery, rape, homosexuality, and threatened incest. Yes, the sex in the program did include normal, intimate relations between spouses but, as with the abnormal sex scenes, this was done with too much graphic detail and greater frequency than was necessary making the story line a parody of soap opera plots with the role of war a flippant afterthought.

I do not deny that sex is a valued part of life, but when it becomes the overpowering element in a drama, the program slides toward pornography which belittles the entire program, writers, producers, stars, and viewers. There is already too much of this shallow programming on daytime television.

Masterpiece Theatre has always been a great favorite of mine, but no more. I did not find The Cazalets praiseworthy. Its opening scenes reflected the current foul potty humor of television sitcoms -- the distribution of chamber pots setting the off-color tone for the entire evening. It was trash, which I will not watch, with its abuse of sex overpowering the dramatic elements which might redeem the story.

What happened to the taste, quality and good writing that characterized Masterpiece Theatre? You seem to have gone from Upstairs, Downstairs to the muck of the gutter. I will not watch again.

Elizabeth Wach
Lake Havasu City, AZ

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
The first episode was excellent and I was looking forward to its sequels. However, PBS totally destroyed the intrigue by divulging plot details on their Web site. As a result, I've lost interest in the series and don't feel compelled to watch it.

Paula Johnson
San Francisco, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I'm really disappointed in The Cazalets. I used to turn to Masterpiece Theatre for quality programming. I don't think this show is up to Masterpiece Theatre standards.

I can't care much about these people. I know a great deal about their sex lives, but nothing much about other facets of their character. And this is supposed to be a happy family? This first show, frankly, left me with a yucky feeling. I don't think I'll be watching the others.

Thank you for generally having high-quality shows that I like a great deal. Wives and Daughters was delightful. I enjoyed The Ponder Heart.

Another that was not so good was The Merchant of Venice. I didn't enjoy the whole homosexual thing. Give me a break. Thank you for your time.

Lindsay Varnum Cano
Shakopee, MN

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