It’s possible that more drama has happened around Sanditon the show than the Season 1 plot itself. But it might all end up being for the best. The PBS Masterpiece series was originally conceived as a one-off that “completed” Jane Austen’s last unfinished novel, but after its popular first season was recently renewed for Season 2 and 3. Controversially, one of its main actors—and the show’s primary love interest—Theo James, departed at the same time as the renewal, feeling his character’s story to be complete.
It was uncertain where the show would go next, but a robust new casting announcement and updated synopsis for the upcoming season gives fans hope. And indeed, it gives me (who was not a fan of Season 1 from an Austen perspective) hope as well. The further Sanditon gets from its source material, and the more it’s allowed to be a freer exploration of salacious Georgian narratives on its own terms, the better it will likely be.
According to a press release, “The new series will pick up the action nine months later, as the town is growing in popularity, and will feature characters familiar and new. Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) returns to the beautiful seaside resort and soon attracts the attention of not one, but two new men. And, in her last summer season before turning 21, Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke), keen to forge her own identity, gets up to mischief in the name of love…but will she run the risk of being lonelier than ever before? The Parkers are back, as Tom (Kris Marshall) strives to rebuild Sanditon. But there are many unforeseen issues awaiting him, while the secrets and lies of the dysfunctional Denhams continue to rock the foundations of the sunny seaside town.”
All of this is fine and well, but then we get to the juicy stuff:
The Army arrives to make Sanditon their new base and with them bring potential new romances, friendships and challenges for the residents. New characters this season include Alexander Colbourne (Ben Lloyd- Hughes, Industry), a mysterious resident with a complex family history, who is in stark contrast to self-assured war hero Colonel Francis Lennox (Tom Weston-Jones, Grace), his rival for Charlotte’s affections. We also meet Charlotte’s spirited younger sister, Alison Heywood (Rosie Graham, Outlander), who comes to Sanditon to pursue her own romantic dream. Alison is soon acquainted with the handsome and charming Captain William Carter (Maxim Ays, Still So Awkward). Other intriguing newcomers include Captain Declan Fraser (Frank Blake, Normal People), a courageous character (if a little rough around the edges), and the striking and flamboyant Charles Lockhart (Alexander Vlahos, Versailles), a Byronic artist who arrives to paint portraits of Sanditon’s fashionable and wealthy residents.
Yes! Bring on the romance.
Production has started on Season 2, so while we don’t have a premiere date yet, the new-and-improved seaside drama will hopefully return soon.
Allison Keene is the TV Editor of Paste Magazine. For more television talk, pop culture chat and general japery, you can follow her @keeneTV
For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.