Magazine article Variety

Indian Summers

Magazine article Variety

Indian Summers

Article excerpt

TV REVIEW

Indian Summers

Series; PBS, Sun. Sept. 27,9 p.m.

writer: Paul Rutman

starring: Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Nikesh Patel

PBS' hunt for another "Downton Abbey" has perhaps been overblown - how often, honestly, does a phenomenon like that come along? - but if "Indian Summers" is any indication, it'll be great fun watching the network try. Picturesque, wonderfully soapy and set against a rich historical backdrop of British colonialism in the 1930s, the series builds in intensity over its nine episodes; the main drawback is that it doesn't end so much as run out of time. Still, that amounts to a quibble given the likelihood of more "Summers," which, in tone and topic, brings to mind "A Passage to India."

Writer Paul Rutman starts in a fascinating locale, an Indian retreat in the shadow of the Himalayas, where the British come to frolic and fornicate as if they were college students on spring break. It's 1932, and while Mahatma Gandhi, discretely offscreen, is pressing for independence, that all seems relatively far away, at least initially.

"No Dogs or Indians" reads a sign on the Simla Club, presided over with circus ringmaster-like gusto by Cynthia Coffin (Julie Walters), a military widow whose disdainful and bigoted attitudes reflect the worst of colonial rule. She has taken a special interest in Ralph Whelan (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), the ambitious young right hand to India's British Viceroy (Patrick Malahide). Whelan quickly becomes involved with an American heiress (Olivia Grant), although as with almost everyone else here, there are secrets in his past he would like to remain hidden. …

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