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"Please tell me it gets better.....please" Topic

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Private Matter07 Jun 2010 7:29 p.m. PST

I decided to us my first Netflix rentals to order Sharp's Rifles. I liked the books as they were an entertaining light read but the first of the TV series is absolutely dire. Please tell me the next episodes get better.

sneakgun07 Jun 2010 7:38 p.m. PST

Sharpe gets mad, kills people, gets the girls, survives a lot of wounds..Harper helps him…what's not to like?

50 Dylan CDs and an Icepick07 Jun 2010 7:43 p.m. PST

Errrmm… well, the music certainly doesn't get better, no.

As for the stories, well, they sort of get better for a while, and then get worse. After about the fourth or fifth one, most people are done. There just aren't that many variations on the story line.

BravoX07 Jun 2010 7:43 p.m. PST

Nope they are all the same.

But I happen to like them anyway.

Though I could pass on 'Sharpe and the GoldenEye' but the triology 'Sharpe and Hobbits' wasn't so bad.

Fergal07 Jun 2010 8:11 p.m. PST

I'm about six audio books in (started with sharpe's Rifles) and am totally hooked. I have three of the DVD's and I'm not in a hurry to get more, but I will when the books are done.

I think it's simply a matter of competition. There is none, if you want entertainment in this setting, Napoleonic Wars, then you've a couple of feature films and sharpe. Got to give it some leeway, I suppose.

Lord Ashram07 Jun 2010 8:25 p.m. PST

Books are wonderful fun, the shows are TERRIBLE. Just inexcusably bad… don't bother with them at all.

John the OFM07 Jun 2010 8:45 p.m. PST

They are not all the same story.
Sometimes, Cornwell changes the girl's name.
Sometimes he changes the year.
Sometimes he changes the Spanish city.
Sometimes he changes the name of the Evil French Guy.

The Sentient Bean07 Jun 2010 9:11 p.m. PST

What's not to like? Pete Postlethwaite's Obadiah Hakeswill is worth the viewing alone.

Oh, I'm gunna get you Sharpie….

DeanMoto07 Jun 2010 9:13 p.m. PST

The last ones I watched (on PBS), he was in India – yep, Harper was there too. Oh, and there were a couple of French guys too – go figure.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2010 9:17 p.m. PST

They are entertaining enough to have on while painting…

And as Sentient Bean says, Obidiah makes those 3-4 episodes…

throughthegap08 Jun 2010 1:40 a.m. PST

The shows are not that bad, they need to be seen as what they are – mainstream drama.

What wargamers etc constantly forget is that these types of shows, along with any other tv historeical drama or documentary, are aimed at a mainstream audience, not a few thousand geeks who scream because the Grenadiers are in the wrong position. Sharpe has pulled in millions of viewers for nearly a decade – so it must be doing something right.

Sane Max08 Jun 2010 2:22 a.m. PST

No, this is not a Historical accuracy issue, or a Bricole question – it's a Quality issue.

The Sharpe Books are Chewing Gum for the eyes. I enjoy them for what they are.

The Sharpe TV shows look like they were made by an Amateur Dramatics Group during a credit crunch, with the best actors behind the camera. The dialogue is weak, the casting shoddy, the music tooth-gritting, the acting largely wooden, the plots obvious, the editing shakey.

When you have to cut out vast chunks of Bernard's already sketchy plot and character development to fit it on TV you know it's going to be bad.

The 'ten-man Talavera' and 'Waterloo with 6 blokes and a horse' are the pitiful icing on the ghastly cake.

Best of all, my wife really likes them – I found a box set of the series on DVD in a skip (I kid you not) and she will watch them 'til the cows come home. It gives me a lot of reasons to go paint.

Oh, and OP? No, they get WORSE not better.


Mister Rab08 Jun 2010 2:26 a.m. PST

I always rather enjoyed them, although I suspect a considerable part of it now is teen-nostalgia. And the 'heroic' guitar music is an integral part of it for me!

All together now – "Over the hills and far awaaaay…"

ps – I got the full set of paperbacks, new, for a song in a remainder shop (I'm up to 'Rifles') and they are considerably better than the TV, but I still imagine the characters as they look in the show, regardless of the descritpions in Cornwell's writing.

Hazkal08 Jun 2010 2:33 a.m. PST

*Shrug* I like them. I've probably seen each one at least 3-4 times, and I think there are definitely some better than others, but they're generally good viewing.

Yes, the budget is shoestring, and they have "battles" with about thirty men on each side, but I can overlook that because it's fun.

I'm reading my first Sharpe book now (Sharpe's Havoc) and I'm not finding it nearly as fun as the series. The writing style seems to be in dire need of an editor, which spoils the experience.

Dexter Ward08 Jun 2010 3:46 a.m. PST

The books and the TV series are both pretty dire; I read about 50 pages and couldn't take any more stereotypes.

drummer08 Jun 2010 3:49 a.m. PST

Thanks all. You have saved me time and money. I was considering renting these. Now I'll skip the videos and just read one book. That should tell me all I need to know.

Private Matter08 Jun 2010 3:56 a.m. PST

I truly enjoyed the books and while I was not expecting the shows to be as good, I was hoping for something better. I think Sane Max hits the nail on the head with his discription based upon the first episode.

I am not knowledgable enough to question accuracy nor do I ever expect accuarcy in a film, but in the opening credits the british are moving a 6 pounder by hand and the bricole is obviously of Russian pattern from 1816……

John de Terre Neuve08 Jun 2010 4:20 a.m. PST

What a bunch of highbrow twits……….

It is a TV show!!!!!!!, better than 99% of what is on TV. I echo the Sentient Bean, what is there not to like!!!!!!

I suspect you are the same people who will argue away about what colour to use for French Blue.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse08 Jun 2010 4:44 a.m. PST

Sharpe is so bad it's good, thats the point,

And nobody of you dare you diss Over the hills, it's great great, John Tams rules

The only remotly true good episode is the second one, sharps eagle

Fergal08 Jun 2010 5:00 a.m. PST

Think about it like porn, you already know what's going to happen, the acting won't be top notch either, and stereotypes abound. But you are really watching for the action and the costumes.

Clay the Elitist08 Jun 2010 5:04 a.m. PST

How are you going to get the full experience of that Sharpe's skirmish game at the local con if you haven't seen the TV show?

Mike Target08 Jun 2010 5:19 a.m. PST

Its true, the books are awful, the tv shows are worse, but will that stop me from reading them till the paper wears out or watching them till the dvd breaks?

Not a chance! Its brilliant Napoleonic Warporn!

1815Guy08 Jun 2010 5:23 a.m. PST

Well, somehow every time I reach for the remote to change channel Liz Hurley gets her threepenny bits out again, and somehow I dont quite manage to channel hop………

kehanubaal08 Jun 2010 6:22 a.m. PST

My first language is not english, but I read the first book of the Sharpe Series in english and I quite enjoyed it. Yes, I think Sharpe himself is the cliché of the rough, clever, just, if ruthless, hero of humble origins, but that's what makes him fun. So I was wondering why you people say that the books are horrible, why do you think it needs editing?
I read the Alfred books form Cornwell and Agincourt and I liked them better than Sharpe's Tigers (IIRC), but still I thought the last one was a nice book. I thought aso that the Agincourt hero looks a lot like Sharpe.

About the TV Series I watched it before I read any book from Cornwell and I got what I expected: a low bugdget 80's kind of TV show. Still, I enjoyed the characters and the story, even if they are somewhat stereotyped, and I also liked the irony or the comedy moments. I also liked the accents… but I am from Italy… ;)
I am glad I bought the DVD's, I also think that, being a very popular TV show of the early '90's, it gave me another glimpse of the modern British popular culture… I liked it.

I think the worst thing is the electric guitar, but hey "…Over the hills and faaaar awaaaay"

aecurtis Fezian08 Jun 2010 6:30 a.m. PST

"The Sharpe Books are pointy sticks thrust into the eyes."

Couldn't have said it better!

"I found a box set of the series on DVD in a skip…"

You shouldn't interfere with reviews.


Lord Ashram08 Jun 2010 6:32 a.m. PST

I always hated the casting of the TV show… I love Sean Bean, but not in that role, and everyone else is TERRIBLE… the guy who plays Harper makes my heart hurt.

In my eyes, a younger Daniel Day Lewis would have made a good Sharpe, and a young Brendan Gleeson (the father from 28 Days Later, had a big beard in Braveheard…) would have been a good Harper.

I am glad I never really watched the TV shows, as my image of the characters from the books was untarnished.

Oh, and I echo what was said before; I am not a button counter, but holy crap everything about that show was cheesy and annoying.

christot08 Jun 2010 6:51 a.m. PST

"What a bunch of highbrow twits……….

It is a TV show!!!!!!!, better than 99% of what is on TV. I echo the Sentient Bean, what is there not to like!!!!!!"

Thats the whole point…its NOT a very good television show. Forget that it happens to be set in the Napoleonic wars. Imagine its a cop show or something..its badly made, badly written and badly acted (though I have a strange fondness for the one with Liz Hurley before she had her nose job).

Constantine08 Jun 2010 7:08 a.m. PST

Hey… Elizabeth Hurley makes it worth while. Well, that one episode….

John de Terre Neuve08 Jun 2010 7:16 a.m. PST

And tell me Chris, you don't laugh at Obadiah with his tic and saying "he needs his scratchings"or Simmerson's face when he looks with horror at the advancing French Column and Liz Hurley is indeed great as Lady Fothergail.

I must being missing something, or is it that the people who do not like the Sharpe TV series actually take the books seriously. They are great entertainment and there is no a whole lot out there in respect to the Napoleonic period on the screen aside from an handful of movies like Waterloo, the Duelists and Goya's Ghost.

Maybe it is because I do not watch TV, that I do not appreciate that there are better programmes on. I find that it is all trash aside from the odd British Period Drama or crime series.

I just wish that someone would do Cornwell's Saxon books on TV which would be another great "ripping yarn" to watch on TV.


Mike Target08 Jun 2010 7:38 a.m. PST

I think the warlord trilogy would be awesome on the big screen, especially compared to other pathetic attempts at a King Arthur film.

50 Dylan CDs and an Icepick08 Jun 2010 7:53 a.m. PST

[I must being missing something, or is it that the people who do not like the Sharpe TV series actually take the books seriously. ]

No, I've never read any of the books. But everything that Sane Max said, applies to me as well.

The whole thing seemed to have been done by some company whose only other film credits were corporate training videos in the 1980s.

VonStengel08 Jun 2010 8:45 a.m. PST

Its fun to watch, the action is good and they do a good line in buxom wenches.

Angel Barracks08 Jun 2010 8:59 a.m. PST

I have them all on DVD and was watching one today.

Yes the entire 95th did only have 30 men in it.
Yes the Spanish were never seen in Spain.
Yes electric guitars were the instrument of choice.
And Yes, brown paper and paraffin oil will cure ALL woes.

The thing for me is as a few have stated the characters.

Sir Henry (Simmerson)
Obadiah Hakeswill
Captain Hastings, sorry, Wellington
Thomas Leroy
Evil Jane
Captain William Frederickson
And all the lovely ladies too.

Great Stuff!!

Mike Target08 Jun 2010 9:05 a.m. PST

Not sure what you meant by there being no Spaniards in Spain….

A bunch of Hakeswills deserters in Sharpes Enemy were spanish IIRC. The Real Compagnia D'Irelanda (sp?) in Sharpes Battle were a mix of spaniards and Irishmen, and in Sharpes Honour a company of Spanish troops witness the fight between El Matarife and Sharpe. Plus almost every episode involved the partisans. How many more do you want?

Btw I fully agree with your character list!

Trajanus08 Jun 2010 9:08 a.m. PST

There are worse things than the Sharp DVD's – the original books!

Keraunos08 Jun 2010 9:10 a.m. PST

I recall reading somewhere that Cornwell himself now views sharpe as sean bean, some qoute about him being Sean's character now, not his.

so there you go.

as to whether they are any good, well, its good enough in the bits where I look up from the painting table.

"6 volleys to stop a French column, my boys, 6 volleys"

Trajanus08 Jun 2010 9:10 a.m. PST

I Like Boobies – How can you carry a name like that and not like the series? :o)

Trajanus08 Jun 2010 9:14 a.m. PST

I recall reading somewhere that Cornwell himself now views sharpe as sean bean, some qoute about him being Sean's character now, not his

If anyone should give thanks to the Almighty for Sharpe (other than Cornwell, of course) it has to be Beano – Lord of the Rings, Troy, Patriot Games, Ronin, whatever the crap Bond film was etc etc

Trajanus08 Jun 2010 9:16 a.m. PST

TV advert voice overs, documentary voice overs, TV Drama series …………

Ben Ten08 Jun 2010 9:32 a.m. PST

…and now the poor residents of Sheffield (myself included) have to put up with him name dropping film stars and telling us all how excellent he is at acting etc.

Brian Bronson08 Jun 2010 10:09 a.m. PST

Think about it like porn, you already know what's going to happen, the acting won't be top notch either, and stereotypes abound. But you are really watching for the action and the costumes.

What are you talking about? Porn doesn't have costumes. Oh wait… Now I get it.

I like the Sharpe books AND the tv shows. I don't think any of it is the height of writing or acting, but they are fun to read and watch.

raylev308 Jun 2010 10:12 a.m. PST


They are what they are….formulaic, but fun. Not historical, not realistic. But my wife likes them, too.

But maybe that's because of Sean.

John de Terre Neuve08 Jun 2010 11:48 a.m. PST

"Yes the entire 95th did only have 30 men in it"

I believe only a small contingent of the 95th made up the part of the Light company of the 102nd, ie. the South Esssex.


Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse08 Jun 2010 12:17 p.m. PST

And the south essex was only about 45 guys,

John de Terre Neuve08 Jun 2010 12:21 p.m. PST

I believe if I remember correctly, usually only the light company was of the south essex was features in most episodes.


Company D Miniatures08 Jun 2010 12:33 p.m. PST

muskets don't need loading-pistols picked up on the battlefield are always loaded- sgt Harpers seven barrelled Nock is always loaded.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse08 Jun 2010 12:49 p.m. PST

A french infantry column concist of about 40 soldiers, a french brigade is a good 103 soldiers.
Waterloo was a big battle with a wooping 150 british, duch and belgian troops and a nother wooping 100 french.

And ofcourse napoleon has massed a total of 14 cuirassiersw

Mulopwepaul08 Jun 2010 12:53 p.m. PST

Criticise it for what it could have been, not for failing to be what no television programme could ever provide.

You're just never going to get a cast of thousands on a television programme. You're never going to get motion-picture quality special effects or stunt sequences. Get over it; it's television.

People who routinely paint up 24 figures and call it a battalion should be willing to suspend some disbelief.

Mike Target08 Jun 2010 1:04 p.m. PST

Actually IIRC correctly for Waterloo they cut in images of, well Waterloo the film I think, for the advance of the Old Guard. Lots of extras for that….the entire Russian army or something wasnt it?

Mulopwepaul08 Jun 2010 1:20 p.m. PST

Right…stock footage from a motion picture. But you're not going to get original footage of such a spectacle.

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