This is perhaps, a few days late, but if you missed the finale and are contemplating a DVD purchase it may be of interest to you.
This Sunday past, Return to Cranford concluded. In the previous episode we were introduced to an abundance of new characters and their problems while many previous characters were shuffled off with barely a mention. Although this was certainly bothersome to those that so loved the original series, the comments of those that had never seen the first were very positive. Dare I say that some of us (or just me) became a bit jaded toward the quaint charms of Cranford when we spent more time with characters and their day to day? Possible.
In the second part, however, things do pick up. The major plot is the love story between Peggy Bell and William Buxton, separated by William's stubborn father. The two of them, though initially a bit rushed, finally get interesting in this episode. Though it is hard to believe that after so little interaction between the two (as far as we've seen) they are so very in love and willing to make such sacrifices. Still, Peggy is very sympathetic and William proves himself an extremely worthy man. There is also the ever present railroad making progress as the story does, as well as a subplot about Mrs. Jameison's sister-in-law visiting and the small social uproar it causes among the ladies for varying reasons. The only plot that carries a truly visible hole is that of Harry Gregson and Miss Galindo. Last episode we met the dastardly Septimus Ludlow who posed a threat to Harry and his inheritance. Though we do see quite a bit of Harry and some of the effects of cruelty that was common in the schools at that time, we never really hear how his dealings with the Ludlow estate are sorted out. If they were, I missed it.
The action does pick up in this episode and new characters become more familiar, it is worth the watching, though not as exemplary as the first series. Will I buy it? Depends on the coupons I get from Barnes and Noble.