Encore of 2009’s windswept Heights airs on PBS
If Wuthering Heights is now considered one of the most classic love stories in the history of literature, why won’t my autocorrect feature let me type in Wuthering? It keeps “fixing” it to Withering.
And despite all those undergraduate and graduate school English courses, I still wasn’t sure what, exactly, wuthering was, on a height or otherwise. I looked it up. Turns out it means windblown — wind-blown with a roaring sound.
That makes sense. As you’ll see when PBS encores the Masterpiece Classic adaptation of Emily Bronte’s only novel beginning at 7 p.m. today, the heights are, indeed, wuthering, as are the passionate souls of Cathy and Heathcliff.
AETN is a good place to retreat to if tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones (8 p.m., HBO) is too intense for you. There may be no fire-breathing dragons on the remote moors, but, as PBS puts it, “the fiery romance of Heathcliff and Cathy reignites in this thrilling new adaptation.”
Part 1 of the tale begins at 7 p.m., followed by Part 2 at 8:30.
There have been a number of adaptations of the 1847 novel that was first published under Bronte’s pseudonym of Ellis Bell, but I best recall the 1992 version with Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche.
Tonight’s adaptation, airing first in 2009, features strong performances by Charlotte Riley as Catherine Earnshaw, and her future husband, Tom Hardy, as Heathcliff. The couple married in 2014.
When it was released, the film had the tag line: “The deepest passion. The deepest obsession. The deepest despair.”
Viewers may know Riley from her roles in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and London Has Fallen. Hardy has been in a number of films, but received an Oscar nomination for The Revenant.
I won’t go into a detailed plot summary here. If you’re familiar with the tale, then you know what happens. If not, well, I don’t want to spoil it for you.
I’ll just say that the gypsy boy Heathcliff was an orphan living on the streets of Liverpool and was adopted and brought to live at Wuthering Heights by Catherine’s father, Mr. Earnshaw.
The fostered outsider is initially resented by Cathy and her brother, but she grows to love Heathcliff over the years as he grows up to be passionate and tormented.
Cathy eventually marries the weak Edgar Linton, who offers her a life of comfort and wealth. Heathcliff is then consumed with jealously and hatred.
Trivia: Edgar is played by Andrew Lincoln, who went on to fame as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead.
Tragic things happen “as a man unable to have the love of his life seeks vengeance against anyone who comes between them.”
■ Sharknado tonight. C’mon. You know you’re going to watch no matter how bad it promises to be. You’re emotionally invested, having suffered through the first four incarnations. One more won’t kill you. Probably.
I’ve written before that this series “jumped the shark” after the second film, but Syfy just can’t help itself. The thing has become a force of nature and an annual entity unto its own. Sharknado: The 4th Awakens was so bad, I had to make myself watch it even though it’s my job.
As one critic put it, “What began as an ironically entertaining exercise in straightfaced silliness has devolved into a pandering slog of product placement and pointless cameos.”
At least it’s nice to see that Ian Ziering and Tara Reid can still pull down paychecks in moribund careers that died long ago.
In case you’ve missed them, Syfy has been milking
this shark stuff all week with “original, shark-tastic programming” that will culminate with the worldwide release of Sharknado 5: Global Swarming at 7 p.m. today.
You’ve missed such fare as 5-Headed Shark Attack and Trailer Park Shark, but if Wuthering Heights is just too literate for you, there’s this.
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming tells the tale of what happens as shark-infested storms grow stronger and more complex and the world braces for the inevitable — a global sharknado. Tagline: “Make America bait again.”
How wacky can it get? In Sharknado 5, “it gets personal for chainsaw-wielding Fin Shepard (Ziering) and his bionic wife, April (Reid), when their young son gets trapped in a sharknado and is transported all over the world.”
Cameos? This year they include Olivia Newton-John and daughter Chloe Lattanzi as brilliant scientists, Fabio as the pope (I’ll let that sink in), Charo as the Queen of England, Porsha Williams as an archaeologist, Chris Kattan as the British Prime Minister, Bret Michaels, Clay Aiken, Dolph Lundgren, Gilbert Gottfried, David Naughton, Margaret Cho, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, Greg Louganis and Tony Hawk.
Cathy (Charlotte Riley) and Heathcliff (Tom Hardy) tell the tragic love story of Wuthering Heights.