Show Business: A Grand Elegy to the Raj

THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN, PBS, Sundays through March 17

The first things swept aside are the conventions of TV drama. There is no 21-gun pageantry here, no coffee-table scenery. Most of the characters, and there are more than 100, keep their secrets to themselves. When, after 14 episodes, all the subplots converge, none of them ends up resolved. Nonetheless, The Jewel in the Crown, which comes to the U.S. after conquering viewers and reviewers throughout Britain, delivers a sovereign account of the decline and fall of the British Empire. Slowly, painstakingly tracking its...

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