12. Tom Jones
If ever a novel were ready-made for a series, it’s Henry Fielding’s mammoth, picaresque 1749 story of a foundling taken in by a wealthy country squire. Tom (Solly McLeod) falls in love with Sophia (Sophie Wilde), the rich girl next door, but circumstances force him to London, where he gets involved in many mishaps and adventures. The famous 1963 film starring Albert Finney leaned into the novel’s bawdiness. The series takes a different approach, with its writer, Gwyneth Hughes, calling Fielding’s work is “the mother of all romcoms.” This version stays in the 18th century, though, with all its colorful period trappings, and has a terrific supporting cast, including Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham (pictured above) as the aristocratic and vicious Lady Bellaston, Alun Armstrong as Sophia’s doting grandfather, Squire Weston , and James Fleet as Tom’s adoptive father, the wonderfully named Squire Allworthy.
Tom Jones premieres 30 April on PBS in the US and 11 May on ITVX in the UK.
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