Say goodbye to Hogwarts with the latest trailer for [The Casual Vacancy](series:1370192), a new BBC miniseries based on J.K. Rowling's first book for adult readers. Rowling has already dominated our formative years with Harry Potter's generation-defining adventures, and now she may just be taking over our adulthood as well.
Rowling trades magic and friendship for secret desires and deceitful opportunists, and The Casual Vacancy does not pull any punches when it comes to its advanced themes. In short, don't expect the fun of Harry Potter when watching this devastating story, a reality that the trailer makes abundantly clear. Think all the Death Eaters' dirty dealings brought into the stark light of reality, and you've got the tone of this series.
The story follows the seemingly idyllic town of Pagford, brimming with a lush English countryside and overly friendly neighbors. Underneath the unassuming surface, however, is a culture of contention. As the BBC's official description puts it, Pagford is a "town at war: rich with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils." At least in terms of that last example, maybe there is some overlap with Harry and his conflicts (if Umbridge makes an appearance, I'm all for war).
Anyway, the trailer sets up this premise excellently, starting out with beautiful shots of nature and ending on total devastation. It chooses to create an anxiety-ridden atmosphere instead of focusing on specific characters. Check out all of the tense moments here:
Like I said earlier, we're certainly not at Hogwarts anymore. Amid all of the distressing glances and dissonant music, here's a breakdown of what the trailer offers us.
To avoid spoiling major events in the story for those that haven't read the books, I'm going over just what the trailer presents to us and how it may carve out Rowling's story of this little town with big secrets.
"You look like happy people to me."
But, something is boiling under the surface. An extremely positive claim like that said so early is just asking for suffering to follow, and it looks like that's exactly what we're going to get.
Dumbledore #2 (Michael Gambon) gravely declares that there is a "situation"
With none of the *knudge knudge wink wink* humor of his wizard character, it looks like he's setting up the central problem of Pagford, which quickly affects its residents.
And faces quickly wither with grief
If this reaction shot is any indication, this situation looks especially dire. To make matters worse, this scene looks like it takes place in a school, which has especially devastating implications.
A death could lead to answers
Or, more likely, it will lead to more problems. How will this fractured community deal when someone close to them dies?
The huge cast of characters begin to implode
With so many people from so many different backgrounds represented, we start to see a variety of dangerous coping mechanisms. The trailer leaves us wondering if they'll ever escape, or if the miserable underbelly of Pagford is where the story will finish.
Either way, this is looking like a rough ride, and I need some Harry Potter to get me through it.
Ugh, of course Snape would show up and approve a story about misery and secrets. Too typical.
The Casual Vacancy miniseries comes to BBC One on February 15th.
What did you think of the trailer? A welcome departure from Rowling's fantasy world, or a little too much ominous heartache for you?