Picks and Pans Review: Middlemarch

updated 04/11/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/11/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

PBS (Sun., April 10, 9 p.m. ET)

B

Masterpiece Theatre takes on another daunting task: dramatizing George Eliot's labyrinthine 1871 novel. The sumptuous re-creation of life in a provincial British town in early Victorian times dines on social injustice, self-seeking, dashed idealism, poor judgment and outright folly.

There are numerous plots and myriad characters. Chief among them is Dorothea Brooke (played by Juliet Aubrey), a sensitive, serious-minded young woman who makes a rash marriage to a bloodless old pedant.

The miniseries is beautifully acted and Eliot's ingenious plot is ultimately involving. But there is no gainsaying that this is demanding and ponderous fare. Middlemarch is a thick, rather bland pudding served out formally over six Sabbaths.

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