If Netflix's Bridgerton is any indication, there are going to be tons of production studios and networks looking to period-era book IP's to produce the next show about dramatic scenarios re-enacted by folks wearing bloomer pants, corsets, and pounds of wool clothing to walk outside just so they could mail a letter. The Luminaries is a six-part Starz miniseries adapted from Eleanor Catton's award-winning book and if you're looking for spoilers, then the source material may just provide them.
Like Starz's 'The Spanish Princess,' 'The Luminaries' takes viewers into the past, but post Industrial Revolution.
The premium cable network has its fair share of original programming that takes place a long time ago, like Outlander, and it looks like they're intentionally spanning different eras with their shows.
The Luminaries isn't about a post-WW2 era nurse surviving back in 1743 or a Medieval member of the royal family, but a bunch of 19th century gold diggers (like actual, gold diggers) trying to make it big.
Well, that's a reductionist description of a complex miniseries that was based off of a 800-plus page novel. Catton's title is what The Hollywood Reporter calls a "commentary on 19th century novelistic storytelling" and as a result, the show's also a "commentary on Peak TV storytelling," meaning that it knows how to subvert audience expectations and is very conscious of itself as a show.
Devoted readers who checked the title out even felt compelled to take to the internet to have some of the finer points of the narrative spelled out for them — and it looks like similar head trips are employed in order to fake out the audience and keep them guessing in the Starz show.
For example, the series is kicked off with a violent, dark scene. And not dark as in evil, but that it's literally filmed without much lighting.
While reviewers have stated that the series starts off straight-forward enough, after the third episode some of the narrative elements "fragment" and the show's murder mystery and love tale are told throughout various different threads.
It appears that this same level of confusion has somewhat been lifted from the books, as there are Redditors out there who, after reading the novel when it was released, took to the internet for some additional explanations.
'The Luminaries' Book Spoilers: WARNING.
All right so you can't bring yourself to get to the end of the series, or maybe you just want to emotionally prepare yourself for what you're about to witness. In any event, here's how the book ends.
A final trial reveals the nature of the crimes persistent throughout the show's narrative, and one character in particular gets what's coming to them.
It's revealed that Carver has killed Crosbie Wells by poisoning him with an overdose of laudanum. The trial also reveals that Emery Staines basically robbed Carver of his money. The trial culminates with Anna being acquitted of all crimes and Staines being sentenced to nine months of hard labor. Meanwhile, Carver will have to spend years in prison.
However, if you thought that series bad guy, Carver, is going to just spend a few years behind bars and eventually make his way out into society, then think again. On his way to prison, he's ambushed by Te Rau Tauwhare, who bashes in his head with a greenstone as retribution for Carver's murder of Crosbie Wells.
As everyone else goes off to fulfill their respective sentences, Walter Moody is finally ready to leave Hokitika to begin his life of gold prospecting.
Now, the series could very well end off on a different note or change some of it up, but seeing as the original book was raved about so much, showrunners might not want to mess with the narrative too much — especially when it comes to baddies getting their comeuppances.