The recent BBC adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérabes will premiere in the US on Masterpiece on PBS in April, according to the new trailer that was recently released. Though it has already aired in the UK, this new six-episode adaptation of the classic novel is hastily making its way to the US just a few months after its run across the pond. The move is similar to other popular UK series, like Bodyguard and Collateral on Netflix, or Informer and The ABC Murders on Amazon Prime, making their way over the the Unites States much sooner than they would have just a few years ago.
The newest miniseries of Les Misérabes offers up a more faithful adaptation of the novel, which means this telling of Jean Valjean’s quest for redemption for stealing a loaf of bread won’t come with a compulsory sing-a-long, as this iteration eschews the musical numbers from the stage production or Tom Hooper’s Academy Award-winning film version from 2012. What it does offer is an impressive cast that includes The Wire’s Dominic West as the aforementioned Valjean, David Oyelowo (Selma) as Javert, Oliva Coleman (The Favourite) as Madame Thenardier, and Lily Collins (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile) as Fantine. It’s also written by Andrew Davies (House of Cards, Bridget Jones’s Diary).
The miniseries earned good reviews during its original run, and it looks to be one of the bigger attractions coming to PBS in 2019. You can check out the full trailer for Les Miserablés below:
Given the cast and the positive reception of the miniseries earlier this year, it’s surprising that Les Misérabes will air on PBS and not one of the streaming behemoths — Netflix or Amazon Prime. In that sense, the project does seem to fit in more along the lines of, say, the Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman Sherlock series or Downton Abbey, both of which were big hits that were made available to US audiences via PBS.
Whether or not as many people will tune in for this new version of an oft-told story remains to be seen, but given that most viewers likely know it in its musical form first, this strictly dramatic retelling of Hugo’s novel should offer something different for those familiar with the story.
Les Misérabes premieres Sunday, April 14 @9pm on Masterpiece on PBS.