It was an interesting first episode but suffered from trying to cram too much in
Yes, I agree; but I wasn't convinced that Sebastian Faulks had anything especially insightful or original to say. I began to feel as it went on and on I was listening to him declaim a thesis he'd written as a student. I do wish he'd stopped and dealt with one or two characters, and focused on why he felt they stood out.
I also found it a bit tricksy - oh look, there's a clip of Robert Hoffman in the old Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
TV serial, clambering round a tropical island - oh, and now Sebastian
is clambering around in among some tropical plants...
Still, perhaps he'll give it more time to breathe as the series progresses...
Agatha Christie is included??? But no Alexandre Dumas????
Dumas is the wrong century, to be on the same list as Christie.
I'd also have to say that I can't say I've ever thought of Dumas as anything more than a writer of pot-boilers: highly entertaining stories, but not the best written, especially if you go through them in their entirety, rather than focusing in the selected episodes that tend to get filleted out when they are adapted for stage, screen or radio, or served up in young reader versions.
In that sense, Christie and Dumas are in some ways the same - journeymen writers, who deliver a solid product which diverts.
However, as she rarely has the excess padding of the Dumas novels, always played fair with the reader when setting a puzzle in a mystery, and invented many of the staples of modern whodunnits, I'd probably take Christie and Hercule Poirot over Dumas and d'Artangnan.
Dumas is okay, but he's no Victor Hugo...Note:
Sorry, I see I was editing this as mondrian pointed out the time-line issue of Christie and Dumas below...