Have You Joined Team Sidlotte?

Have You Joined Team Sidlotte?

For generations, Jane Austen’s devoted fans have loved and cherished her six major novels: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park.

But today, the Jane Austen novel that’s getting the most attention is a novel our dear author never finished writing: Sanditon.

Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Jane Austen was able to write only twelve chapters of her story about a young woman visiting an up-and-coming seaside resort town in Regency England; Miss Austen’s declining health prevented her from finishing the novel before she passed away in 1817.

But a modern made-for-TV adaptation of Sanditon has taken Jane’s fragment of a story, expanded it, and presented an entirely new period drama for Austen fans.

Comprised of eight episodes, season one of Sanditon the TV drama has already aired in the U.K. Here in the U.S., episodes one through five have aired. Episode six will broadcast this Sunday evening on PBS TV stations across the country.

The main protagonists of the show are Miss Charlotte Haywood (played by Rose Williams) and Mr. Sidney Parker (played by Theo James).

Sidney is a brooding and distant hero—a little like Mr. Darcy, but more prone to passion.

Charlotte is smart, independent, feisty, witty, and a bit naive about the real world. In other words, she’s a true Austen heroine.

On the most recent episode, spunky Charlotte joined the men in a spirited game of cricket, and showed them all how it’s done by scoring a point for her team.

Austen purists have argued that Jane Austen never would have written such a scene (as well as a few others that appeared in early episodes), and that the show’s writers have taken too much license with their script.

I have to confess, I’ve been unsure whether I liked a few of those scenes myself, especially after I read an interview with one of the writers who freely admitted he wanted to “sex up” the story.

Charlotte Heywood is a true Austen heroine with 6 inches of mud at her hem.

But Sanditon the TV drama has grown on me. And after giving it some thought, I’ve decided I don’t mind this updated take on Jane Austen. In fact, Sanditon (the TV version) at its heart is really just fan fiction. In the same way we JAFF writers ask “what if?” and write stories with new challenges for our favorite Austen characters, Sanditon does the same, using film as its medium.

And in the process, Sandition has struck a chord with a modern-day audience. Fans of the show are vocal and busy. They share Sandition-based fan fiction stories on Wattpad, Tumblr, and FanFiction.net.

They post favorite images from the series on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with hashtags like:

#Sidlotte
#SanditonSisterhood
#TeamSidney

On YouTube there’s at least one Sanditon tribute video with over 1 million views, as well as several others with impressively high viewing stats. (Warning: this one contains one of those questionable “sex the story up” scenes I mentioned earlier.)

Having faithfully watched the first five episodes of Sanditon, I can state I’m definitely #TeamCharlotte. I’m also a proud member of the #SanditonSisterhood.

And this Sunday evening I’ll be parked in front of my television set, ready to watch episode 6 of Sanditon.

How about you? Are you watching Sanditon?

What do you think of the series so far?

34 Responses to Have You Joined Team Sidlotte?

  1. It has been about a month since the end of “Season 1” and I still cannot believe that there is any question about a Season 2. I have re-watched all 8 episodes more times then I should admit to and each time I LOVE Sanditon more and more . But I am haunted by the ending. Shed tears along with Charlotte every time. If , as a hope, this is just the ending of the first season then it was a great cliffhanger BUT if this is the series ending then that is beyond heartbreaking. I have never had a show stay with me like Sanditon. I have never bought show related product before , even if I really loved the show. But with Sanditon I have bought 3 books ( including the complete collection of Jane Austen-reading Sense and Sensibility currently) , 2 DVDs (US and UK editions) and downloaded the beautiful music. Everything about Sanditon is PERFECT . The writing, the acting-perfect casting, the clothing, the sets and the music are OUTSTANDING!! Count me in as a member of any Team that will bring us Season 2 ( and hopefully 3, 4, and….).
    Until we get Season 2, I will continue the re-watch Season 1 and all the wonderful videos people have put together ; which have been a great comfort in letting me know that there is a very strong , passionate group/ team of us all working to get Sanditon back.

    • Deb, there are so many fans of the show who feel exactly as you do! It’s hard to imagine why the TV powers-that-be decided to end the show when and how they did. Like you, I’m enjoying the wonderful videos and memes some very talented fans have put together as I wait and wonder if there will be a Season 2. I hope you enjoy reading Jane Austen’s other novels, and the happy endings they provide!

  2. I have loved this so much and I’m hearing they aren’t doing a second season??? This is gut wrenching. We need a Jane Austen ending, that’s all I ask. Is this true that there will be no 2nd season??

    • I feel your pain, Cara! Sadly, that was the “official” announcement this week: no Sanditon Season 2. There are so many disappointed fans of the show, and I’m one of them. I think we’ll have to find Charlotte and Sidney’s happy ending in the wonderful fan fiction that’s being posted online.

  3. I can’t tell you how much I love this show! I am consumed with it as I have never been before. It is so well done, that you don’t catch everything the first go round. You have to watch at least one more time, but I have lost count at this point. LOVE Sidney and his back story. LOVE Charlotte and watching their relationship progress. Babbington is a true gentleman. Crowe supplies the comedy. It would really be a disservice to the audience to let it end as is. It feels like a betrayal of sorts. I have reached out to PBS, even created a twitter account in hopes of persuading those with the power, to give us a season 2 so things can me made right again with Sidney and Charlotte.

    • It really is an enjoyable show, for all the reasons you mentioned. I’ve recorded every episode so I can watch them again! And I have to believe PBS would not have optioned Season 1 if they weren’t certain there was going to be a Season 2. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. 😀 Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about Sanditon!

  4. Absolutely wonderful, perfect casting, beautiful clothes and scenery …… what else could you possibly want?? SERIES 2 and happy endings for so any of the people ‘left up in the air’ As a Sanditonsister – please, Series 2

  5. Have devoted the last 3 + months of my life to all things Sanditon. Can not tell you how much I adore to watch and rewatch. The relationship between Charlotte and Sydney fills me with delight. When we have our longed for HEA in season 2 then Sanditon will be a true classic of its time. Sydlotte all the way.The Sanditonsisterhood can’t all be wrong.?

  6. I’ve been watching fanvideos of the show since it aired in the UK and eagerly awaited the airing in the US. So far, I’ve enjoyed it although I’ve been surprised at how often Sidney loses his temper and yells at Charlotte. I’m hoping their relationship will start to improve with the upcoming episode and I really hope that the show gets the numbers that are needed to give us a season 2.

  7. I have seen it all and I didn’t like it. The step brother/step sister thing was just plain yeuck!!! I would be interested in your final thoughts when you see the last episode!! I have bought the dvd because I too collect Austen dvds and I intend watching it again to see if I have a change of heart having read all the comments about it. Enjoyed reading this.

    • I’m glad you liked the post, Teresa. I had a “Wait, what?!?” moment myself over the step-brother/step-sister romance; but I tend to think that’s a modern day reaction. Remember that in her novels, Jane Austen married first cousins to each other! Arrgghh!

  8. I have been waffling along on this adaptation. There are things that I love: Costumes, scenery, music and for the most part the casting of characters. There are some things I question: Charlotte walking out alone (though Elizabeth did in P&P but she lived all her life in the area – Charlotte has not), or running an errand to a work site, There are some things that just don’t sit right with me: The ‘forbidden undertones’ to relationships (not that they didn’t happen during that time period, but I feel Jane would not have necessarily ventured there) and whether or not step-brother/step-sister would have lived in the same house together (this I haven’t looked into). The back story of Clara. These just give an overall ‘seedy’ feeling for me. Not that the characters aren’t pulling it off as they obviously have to make me feel this way. Yes, I will continue to watch just to see what happens with Lady Denham and Miss Lambe. Thanks for asking and for listening!

    • There’s definitely a modern feel to this adaptation, for all the reasons you mentioned, Carole. I find myself sometimes thinking “that’s not what Jane would have written,” and yet I keep coming back for more, every Sunday! Thanks for commenting!

  9. Looooooove Sanditon since it aired in England and never got my life back since then. I’m a proud member of the #sanditonsisterhood and a earlier members at that, and I never got a day out of Twitter since the finale, claimoring and begging for a season 2. There is hoping, agony and much love for this serie. Thanks for your article.

    • If you saw it in England, Tully, you’ve been leading the campaign for a second season long before We Americans joined in. I bet your hard work will pay off and season 2 will be announced soon! Thanks for commenting.

  10. Thank you for the info, Nancy. Although I’m not watching this show, I was disappointed in the clip. Music kept overriding Miss Haywood’s comments, especially those to Mr. Parker, and I questioned why. Even if current audiences are not offended at the nudity, I can picture Jane Austen turning in her grave in mortification. I do wonder what that says about our generation versus Regency decorum and propriety. Some may look at the manners of the 1800’s as restrictive, but there was an element of respect as well as protection that today’s society seems to lack.

    • The video was created by a fan of the show, and though I agree there are some moments when the music overpowers the dialogue, I have to applaud the marvelous job she did putting together her favorite scenes.

      After watching episodes one and two I was really on the fence about this adaptation; but then I recalled all the the strong reactions people had when Linda Berdoll’s The Bar Sinister was published, which (I think) was the first JAFF novel to open the door on D&E’s bedchamber. Like you, I like my JAFF to be more traditional, but the beauty of JAFF is that there’s something for everyone! 😀 Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Gianna!

  11. Well, that video clip certainly put the ‘sexy’ stamp on Sanditon. Whew! He is a brooding hero. that is for sure. Man! One point… what is with her hair? Did they wear it down like that? I know in the 1980s movie series, her hair was shortened but she never wore it down during the day. We only saw it when she was preparing for bed. Just wondering. I haven’t seen the series so I can’t say whether I like it or not. I guess I’ll wait for the DVD. I collect Austen movies and this one goes in my collection. The custumes look amazing.

    • There was a lot of discussion about Charlotte’s hair after the first episodes aired; and a lot of viewers shared research showing young single women did wear their hair down. Seems the production used that fact to give Charlotte her own unique look as the heroine of the piece. I’m with you: I love the costumes, and I’m hoping it comes out on DVD soon to add to my collection. Thanks for commenting!

  12. I absolutely LOVE Sanditon! I have watched the first season too many times to count and I’m always left wanting/needing more! #Sidlotte #SanditonSisterhood

  13. At LAST a review by a true Austen fan who understands the whole point of Sanditon…that it was never meant to be 100% pure representation of Austen as that’s an impossibility, but a fan fiction which has gripped our hearts much more deeply than we could ever have imagined. I suspect Austen would be smiling t this production and perhaps peeking through her fingers at one or two edgy scenes! It is a beautifully put together piece of art…Keep watching. With love from the SanditonSisterhood! x

    • I love what you said about our dear Jane peeking through her fingers! Yes, she probably would have, but she was also a bit of a daredevil herself when it came to writing. In her novels she touched on topics no one else did. I’ve often wondered where she would have taken Miss Lambe’s character, and I’m hoping this series gives her a happy ending of her own. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  14. I have been watching every Sunday! I really am enjoying it! I agree Charlotte Haywood is an Austen heroine in her own right with six inches of mud on her hem!lol Sidney is a wonderful leading man and so handsome! I am sorry though I think the Aunt may not make it.I too will be watching on Sunday can’t wait to see the dance!

    • Poor Lady Denham! It seems every episode has some kind of cliffhanger that keeps us wondering what will happen next. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series. Here’s to Team Sidlotte!

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