Set against this backdrop of World War I, the story follows English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens (Cumberbatch), trapped in a marriage to an unfaithful wife Sylvia (Hall) who has given birth to a child that may not be his. Christopher becomes entranced by Valentine Wannop (Adelaide Clemens), a fearless young woman who unexpectedly turns his world upside down. As war breaks out across Europe, Christopher, compelled by an outmoded code of conduct, feels obligated to remain loyal to his wife as he leaves a heartbroken Valentine to fight in France. Christopher struggles to adapt to his new life as an army officer. When he returns to England briefly, suffering from shell shock, he is alarmed to discover himself the target of vicious rumors. Rejected by his father and brother, alienated from Sylvia, with only Valentine to support him, he attempts to hold on to sanity and meaning as the old world order collapses amidst tremendous upheaval.
All told, it looks like the kind sumptuous story we love to settle into, and given how much a theatrical wasteland the multiplex is for the next few weeks (mostly), this is certainly a nice diversion. The five-part "Parade's End" will air over three consecutive nights starting on February 26th at 9 p.m.