Our Mutual Friend

PBS, Jan. 3, 9 p.m. E.T.

It hasn't been contemporized, stars neither Gwyneth Paltrow nor Ethan Hawke and features no recordings by Tori Amos. Yet this three-part, six-hour adaptation of Charles Dickens' last completed novel succeeds in seeming terribly modern. Considered by many critics to be the author's finest work, Our Mutual Friend takes a look at the perversions of capitalism in mid-19th century London through two parallel love stories. Suspenseful, subtly rendered and well acted (with an especially compelling performance by Steven Mackintosh as John Harmon, a wealthy young man trying to conceal his identity), this Masterpiece Theatre production should put bad memories of 1998's Great...

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