Wives and Daughters

Season 1
Molly, the forthright daughter of the local doctor, is the focus of this coming of age romance. At the hands of her stepmother and stepsister, Molly is introduced to the worlds of love and betrayal, social expectations and family secrets.
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  1. 1. Wives and Daughters Episode 1
    This video is currently unavailable
    December 14, 2002
    1 h 14 min
    A protective Dr. Gibson sends Molly away from a pupil who has confessed his love for her. At the Hamley's - Molly's new residence - she falls for the eldest son, Osborne, and then trouble erupts. Molly learns of her father's plans to remarry.
  2. 2. Wives and Daughters Episode 2
    This video is currently unavailable
    December 14, 2002
    1 h 17 min
    As she comforts Mrs. Hamley, who is upset about Osborne's banishment from the house, Molly realizes the declining state of the frail woman's health. Molly anticipates the arrival of Cynthia, her new stepsister. Molly overhears Osborne's secret.
  3. 3. Wives and Daughters Episode 3
    This video is currently unavailable
    December 14, 2002
    1 h 15 min
    Events before and during the Easter Charity Ball cause Molly to suspect there is a history between Cynthia and Mr. Preston. Mrs. Gibson stops Roger from seeing Cynthia until she eavesdrops on a conversation between Dr. Gibson and Osborne.
  4. 4. Wives and Daughters Episode 4
    This video is currently unavailable
    December 14, 2002
    1 h 17 min
    Mr. Preston's true identity is revealed, and Molly puts her reputation on the line to save Cynthia from him. The Squire meets his daughter-in-law and grandson due to an unexpected tragedy. Roger and Molly acknowledge their feelings for each other.

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4.6 out of 5 stars

1338 global ratings

  1. 82% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 6% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

JessicaReviewed in the United States on February 9, 2016
3.0 out of 5 stars
Great series, poor quality DVDs.
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I normally would give this 5 starts because it's one of my favorite movies/tv series. However, the quality of this dvd set is VERY poor. Also, the aspect ratio is 14:9. (Not widescreen, not full screen.) So no matter how you adjust the settings on your tv, it always looks squashed and stretched. When I watched this on Netflix, it was in widescreen and the quality was excellent. I guess they just didn't keep the same quality when they put it on dvd. I returned mine the very next day.
By the way, I've searched and searched on the internet and can't find this anywhere in the widescreen format. Heads up for anyone that finds the widescreen version at Best Buy: Another user's review stated that when they watched it they realized it was not widescreen but in fact full screen.
23 people found this helpful
JayliaReviewed in the United States on September 25, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautifully done
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I enjoy shows like Breaking Bad and Hell on Wheels, etc, but it's such a wonderfully relaxed pleasure watching Wives and Daughters and never having to look away because of violence or gore. Based on Elizabeth Gaskell's novel of the same name, Wives and Daughters is a gorgeous costume drama of love and class that becomes more rich, suspenseful and layered with each episode. The story is centered around Molly Gibson, the lively, unaffected daughter of the town doctor, who's a widower. Their lives are turned topsy turvy when the father marries a Mrs. Bennett like widow with a daughter of her own who's just about Molly's age but as flighty as Molly is reliable. Even though the girls are a study in contrasts they love each other, and when they fall for the same man they both, in their own way, try to do the right thing--the plot is too layered to make the stepsister a villain. Mrs. Gaskell was unable to finish the novel before her death, but the miniseries conclusion is satisfyingly sigh inducing. Wives and Daughters is the third series based on novels by Mrs. Gaskell that I've adored, so I love that this set includes a 55 minute "short" about her.
17 people found this helpful
J. GrayReviewed in the United States on January 13, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautifully made, beautifully acted!
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This is a miniseries worth checking out! I was initially hesitant at purchasing it since I hadn't heard much about it. I'm so glad I did! There are a whole host of great actors in this- particularly Michael Gambon, who plays such an emotionally heart-wrenching widow and father to two grown boys, his eldest of whom, Osborne, consistently disappoints Gambon and his wife, arguably leading to her illness and death.

Justine Waddell plays the lead female role of Molly, the neighbor to Gambon and his family, and she does so handidly. She plays Molly so intelligently and with poise, but also sticks up for what she believes in. Molly and her doctor father make a family of two for several years until she reaches the age of 17 and he decides to remarry the governess, Hyacinth, of a very wealthy lady. Hyacinth has a grown daughter of her own, Cynthia, who is about the same age as Molly. Eventually both Hyacinth and Cynthia come to live with Molly and her father. Initially, I found myself liking the governess/step-mother and found Molly's difficulties with her to be over-stated, but as time wore on (the production is 300 minutes long) I too became annoyed with the step-mother. She is, as many step-mothers go, pretty insufferable. She's spoiled, selfish, pretentious, and obsessed with her daughter marrying well. The step-sister, Cynthia, isn't so bad. I was expecting her character to be pitted against Molly's in a very Cinderella-esque plot line, but they actually become close friends. Perhaps too close as Molly quickly finds herself embroiled in a controversy with Cynthia and her many attachments with men. Her reputation is put at stake as the busy bodies in the town think Molly is having trysts with a much older man, a scoundrel of a gentleman who is actually interested in Cynthia, and has been for many years, to the point of being dangerously, scarily obsessed. All of this is going on simultaneous to Cynthia having accepted an engagement to Gambon's second son, Roger, a scientist who proposed to her before heading off to Africa on an expedition. Molly doesn't realize it fully before Roger proposes to Cynthia, but once he does Molly realizes how much in love with him she is. She has known him all her life but Roger hasn't taken much notice of her, except to acknowledge Molly as the sister he never had.

I thought I would find the scenes of Roger on expedition tiresome and something the viewer merely had to get through for the plot to progress in order for him to come back and realize that he actually loved Molly not Cynthia. In actuality, the scenes of him in Africa were actually pretty interesting and poetic as we listen to his letters to Cynthia and the discoveries he's made.

Perhaps the saddest part of the plot is the story surrounding Osborn, first born son of Gambon;s character and his wife. There were high expectations set for Osborne, which of course, he fails to meet. He fails out of school and doesn't seem to find something to succeed at, aside from spending his father's money. He secretly falls in love with a french servant and once their affair is discovered she loses her job and must return home to France. Osborne couldn't live without her and pursued her to France, marries her and gets her pregnant. Perhaps I'm a little jaded, but I really thought a wealthy man such as Osborne would have left her because his father really disapproves of anything or anyone French. Nevertheless, he sticks by her, sending her money and visiting her whenever he can. Sadly, their happiness was not meant to last as a tragedy occurs and Gambon must come to grips with the news that his oldest son was so afraid of him he was never able to tell him the truth about his life. I was immensely, ridiculously pleased and happy however, when Gambon accepts the woman and Osborne's son into his household and dotes on the toddler like a good grandfather ought to. That was perhaps the best part, and I think Gambon was my favorite character followed very closely by Molly.

I love that one could probably make a case that Molly Gibson is a feminist in a story originally written in 1865. She's so amazingly forthright and stands up for what she believes in. I love that her father raised her to be an educated young woman. Of course, he doesn't necessarily like it when she helps Cynthia out of her romantic fixes, but he does allow her a pretty decent amount of freedom for a single girl who technically ought to be married already.

I love when there's a character you can root for, one you feel passionately for, and you can feel that for Molly. This is a DVD adaptation that is worth every penny! I heartily encourage anyone who's on the hunt for their next BBC miniseries, like I was when I purchased it, that you should definitely pursue this one!
10 people found this helpful
DaMannReviewed in the United States on September 20, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Very Enjoyable
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A very enjoyable story, “Wives and Daughters” reminds me a great deal of the BBC production of “Pride and Prejudice,” a personal favorite. The story is filled with quirky, overly class conscious characters who find themselves in various uncomfortable positions. The actors and actresses absolutely nail their roles. I genuinely liked the characters and sympathized with them as their stories unfold. The DVD’s themselves are high quality and convenient to use, since my internet service is highly unreliable. I have watched this set over and over and would definitely recommend it.
6 people found this helpful
Connie Rossini. Catholic AuthorReviewed in the United States on November 28, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fans of Jane Austen will love Gaskell
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If you're looking to move beyond Jane Austen in your viewing and reading pleasure, try Elizabeth Gaskell. This is a great story, which could just as easily be called "Fathers and Sons." The settings and costuming are superb. You don't get much better than Francesca Annis and Justine Waddell. There is plenty about class conflict, the proud taking a fall, and the humble being exalted. You could see it as exploring the questions: Who is really a lady? Who is really a gentleman? But it's not a great social novel in the sense of some of Gaskell's other works (such as North and South)/ It's more about individual people and their relationships with family and friends. Highly recommended.
4 people found this helpful
Steven C. MillhornReviewed in the United States on April 11, 2007
5.0 out of 5 stars
The all inclusive receipe for a wonderful movie experience
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What can be said about Wives and Daughters more than all the rest? Could it not be said that this is the Glory of England? This is where the rich, the poor and the middle class all merge together and form a wonderful mix of love, and struggles with mixed up people and their affections. Once again, the old familiar theme of a vituous man (Roger) and a very vituous and good young girl (Molly), are obviously meant for each other, but do not discover it till late in the story. There is the incredible light headed selfishness of the step daughter, the gold digging desires of the good Doctor's wife, and the various gossip by all the old biddies of the town. Even the very rich and elite of the village, come to the aid of Miss Molly and in a round about way, help Roger further his career. The Grand Estates of England and their land rich families have their problems too, but the majority of this adventure story is focused on Miss Molly, her goodness, and of how the people in those days chose their life partners. This is the kind of movie that you want to jump inside the scenery and be a part of their lives and help straighten them out! Oh what a heart warming ending this film has. It has become a regular in our rotation of good English films, a regular staple of what we call Good TV.
9 people found this helpful
Charity BishopReviewed in the United States on August 9, 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Charming Adaptation
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An acclaimed award-winning British miniseries comes to America at last in this intriguing and heartfelt story of romance, mischief, and heartbreak. The tale begins with Molly Gibson, the only child of a well-known and beloved country doctor, whose mother died when she was very young. Spirited and often outspoken, Molly is a vastly different person of society than you might anticipate. With a passionate love for her father, and an undying fascination with bugs, her happy, glittering little world soon comes tumbling down when her father announces his engagement to Mrs. Kirkpatrick. Soon her life has changed dramatically with the introduction of two fascinating young men, a past full of scandal and secrets... and a stepsister that is a glittering social butterfly to her quiet and demur solitude.
The mini-series is excellently filmed and timed, from the writers and producers of Pride & Prejudice. The costuming is absolutely breathtaking, the characters well-portrayed and deep, and it stays faithful to the original adaptation right down to the dialogue. Its only flaw, if any, is that the first hour rather lags, but picks up more swiftly as the plot moves into the second part. In true form, the BBC gives us a glittering array of gowns, horses, sprawling estates, and fashionable arrangements; as well as with a host of humorous side trails and dialogue. It's serious and yet comical; reaching into both areas with great success.
They've packed this release with plenty of "goodies," from a long biography/documentary on the author to interviews with the cast and crew. I found that the featurette was somewhat well done but that the opinions of the actors differed from their characters. Their regards to Cynthia and her mother were more sexual appeal, while I found the film very clean and without any suggestive material. Perhaps I was reading it wrong, or perhaps they overlooked the film's own high points, but in all, a very nice DVD release.
10 people found this helpful
Devon BedfordReviewed in the United States on February 13, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars
First-rate adaptation of Gaskell's novel
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Because this dvd is a Masterpiece Theatre production it moves at a slower pace than a made-for-theaters movie. This allows enough time to develop Elizabeth Gaskell's themes about 18th Century social and economic realities; the changes in men's and women's relationship to the land; and the impact of science and the industrial revolution on the arcane ins and outs of the English class system. Sounds really dull! But it also works as just a really good romance. As usual, Gaskell's points are made using realistic, fully developed, complex characters. This production is also wonderfully cast (the actors are good-looking even by Hollywood movie standards and great actors) and beautifully filmed. It's a good story without any additional context, but it is gets even better with a bit of reading about the period and about Gaskell's life and philosophy. Of course the best read after seeing the movie is the novel itself. After renting the dvd several times, I decided it was, like the 1995 Masterpiece Theatre productions of "Pride and Prejudice" and "North and South" a dvd that I needed to own.
5 people found this helpful
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