5 September 2013 | The_late_Buddy_Ryan
Nudity, smut and depravity—what's not to like?
With a strong cast headed by two of the stars of the Britcom classic "Good Neighbors" and a rash of complaints from Netflix members about nudity, "smut" and depravity, this '92 UK series seemed like a sureshot. Based on a novel by the renegade daughter of an old-school military family, it's a brisk, gossipy account of the martial, marital and extramarital adventures of an extended family of cousins in the early years of WW II. The Martha Stuarty title might be misleading; the lawn in question adjoins a cliffside house in Cornwall that belongs to most of the other characters' Aunt Helena (Felicity Kendal!), the exasperated wife of Uncle Richard (Paul Eddington!), a cranky, appeasement-minded, one-legged veteran of "the last show" (WW I). Also in residence is Sophy (an amazing debut performance by 11-year-old Rebecca Hall), a sensitive younger cousin who's being raised, haphazardly, by Richard and Helena. It's true that some of the characters, in their youthful self-involvement, can be a bit much (notably flashy, posh-voiced Calypso, a nice juicy part for Jennifer Ehle), but the series is consistently involving and occasionally quite moving. Paul Eddington totally nails a scene in which Richard, portrayed as a squawking grotesque till then, discusses sex and marriage with Calypso in a sweetly unguarded way; the last episode, set in the 1970s—by which time adorable Sophy has grown up to be a cranky Claire Bloom—is watchable but disappointing.