Great Expectations Official Trailer | Olivia Colman, Fionn Whitehead | FX

Still, the garish style does turn Great Expectations into some beautifully produced dumb fun, cutting the story down to its essentials and squeezing it into six hour-long episodes. However, that expediency comes at a price. A mid-show time jump brings us up to speed with Pip at 18, yadda-yadda-ing whatever connection he has with Estella. He determines he loves her anyway as he’s whisked to London by the über-badass lawyer Mr. Jaggers (Ashley Thomas). Jaggers pushes the show deeper into Guy Ritchie territory as a gun-toting, body-dumping deus ex machina straight out of Sherlock Holmes. Jaggers’ arrival kicks the Dickensian plotting into full gear when, in the back half, all the heretofore unmentioned histories and motivations connect. Yet ah-has of discovery become grumbles of contrivance at the speed with which it all comes to a head.


The show’s ending betrays its darkness. Knight loves imagining how gross the 19th century was, yet constructs a world where all’s well that ends well without a hint of reality. He shellacs the 160-year-old story with plaque scraped from Havisham’s teeth while never revealing new truths. The result is a conflicted and strained yet stylish and breezy interpretation of Dickens that, to paraphrase Pip, is “good enough.”

Great Expectations premieres March 26 on Hulu.