• Deborah Yaffe

A surfeit of sequels

Jane Austen never wrote a sequel. Among her many excellent qualities was a sure sense of when to leave well enough alone.


Alas, too many people who have made movies based on her work don’t seem to have learned the same lesson. Recent reports suggest we may soon see new installments of two Austen-inspired series that overstayed their welcome long ago:


* Earlier this summer, Ryan Paevey, the blandly handsome star of Hallmark’s dreadful “Mr. Darcy” movies – Unleashing Mr. Darcy, from 2016, and its sequel, Marrying Mr. Darcy, from 2018 – told TV Insider that he’d love to make a third.


“We’ve been ready to go since we walked off the set of number two,” Paevey said. “I think we’re good to go. It’s a question of if the powers-that-be want to do another one. I know fans are pumped about the potential.”


As blog readers will recall, Unleashing Mr. Darcy loosely updates Pride and Prejudice to the dog-show world, while Marrying Mr. Darcy is a generic romcom with virtually no Austen connection beyond its hero’s last name. For my money, both were badly written, badly acted, and altogether charmless.


Please, Hallmark powers-that-be: Just. Say. No.


* Meanwhile, across the pond, word on the street – or at least in the pages of the Sun – is that a fourth Bridget Jones movie may be in the works.


I am not a huge Bridget fan, but I kind of enjoyed the first of the series, the 2001 movie Bridget Jones’s Diary, mostly because of its well-known, yet still hilarious, postmodern trick: It’s a Pride and Prejudice update in which Colin Firth plays a character named Darcy who was inspired by a character named Darcy played in an onscreen Pride and Prejudice by . . . Colin Firth.


By the time that Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason rolled around three years later, however, the glitter was wearing off, and it was entirely gone by 2016, when the unfunny Bridget Jones’s Baby arrived.


And yet it seems we’re in for another one, this time the story of how Bridget is managing the job of parenting Part III’s eponymous baby, now a school-age child.


“The producers always knew there was a huge market for another sequel when the right story was available,” says a helpful Sun source identified only as “a source.” “Fans will be desperate to find out what happened. It’s a British classic.”


A British classic, eh? Who am I -- a mere American -- to disagree? Reportedly, production starts later this year.

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