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Focus on the Frightful: Picnic at Hanging Rock

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Picnic at Hanging Rock – The Series

After watching the movie, reading the book and doing a post on Picnic at Hanging Rock I felt like I should watch the Amazon series to kind of round it out. Well, dear readers, I tried. I really, really tried. It might seem unfair to judge a whole series by the admittedly small portion that I watched but after fifteen minutes of squirming I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I’ll sum up what I saw, how it differed and why I didn’t want to finish the series of Picnic at Hanging Rock.

When I first heard they were making a series I was doubtful, to say the least. The poster for it didn’t draw me in at all either. That may sound petty and superficial but that is a lot of pink. So I kept pushing it back. But I finally gave in and at least started to watch it. After fifteen minutes (and many pausings) I gave up. I didn’t want to see anymore. I watched as Mrs. Appleyard toured the insanely huge mansion. From her internal monologue we can assume that she’s not a real widow, was possibly a prostitute and is in hiding from…someone. I’m sure I would have found out had I continued the series.

So in the first few minutes we learn that the staid, English Mrs. Appleyard (book) is now the mysterious Mrs. Appleyard with a past. Joy. We also know that she’s lower class and scandalous because…because…she said “tits”! Oooh. Bestill my heaving bosom. 

Then we get an introduction to one of the girls sneaking out to play in the orchard. Or whatever she was doing. And we also get the lovely spot of her peeing into a chamber pot. I had my fingers crossed that this wasn’t Miranda. It was. Irma showed up shortly after as a tall blond. Even though she’s described as having black, curly hair. Apparently the girls that were looked up to in the school as friendly and kind were now the ‘rebels’ of the school and couldn’t wait to wear sheer bosoms. Gotcha. Sarah, rather than being subtly defiant of Mrs. Appleyard is now just straight up violent and jacks another girl in the jaw.

They go to a party for soldiers heading off because no movie is complete without showing pervy old men and judgey old women in a party setting. And, of course, it gives the chance for the younger men to be all rapey and stuff. I actually didn’t get that far. Just guessing. Said Old Perv (who is apparently Michael’s uncle) wants Irma to come for a visit. When Mrs. Appleyard chastises him by saying that her girls are not ‘consorts’. He invites her to come along (with very obvious undertones) and she agrees. In front of said judgey old ladies. Uh-huh. Click. Bye.

That’s where I shut it off. I knew it would just be a long drawn-out, painful chore to watch the rest. I did not like the enforced requisite ‘pasts’ that everyone seemed to come with. I did not like the radical character changes. And at no time whatsoever did I feel like I was in 1900 Australia. Everything felt way too modern – from their clothes to their speech. This might well be the shortest Focus on the Frightful I’ve ever done but I don’t feel like this series deserves any more of my time.

For anyone who has watched the whole thing and liked it, please, drop me a line. I’m willing to be convinced otherwise!

Published inFocus on the Frightful


  1. I had something akin to that reaction while watching “Vikings.” I wanted a TV series about Vikings, not a soap opera about backstabbing 21st century TV characters.

  2. I’ve not watched it and probably won’t. It doesn’t catch my interest. I’ve had something similar happen with a couple of shows I tried. Just too many out there to try to muddle through ones that don’t grab me right away.

    • I just get very tired of series that are supposed to be set in a certain time period totally disregard that time period. When you add in that it’s adapted from a book and movie that did capture those things well. That kind of makes me want to stab my eyeballs out with a spork

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