Back when I saw the first season of this pretty piece of candy, it take the entire series to convince me it’s good. At the start of the second series, an entire year passes. The ambitious John Moray (Emun Elliott) is exiled to Paris after spurning his fiancée, Katherine Glendenning (Elaine Cassidy). Subsequently he also gives up ownership of his prize, The Paradise. A well-to-do shopper’s haven, Katherine’s father take ownership after Moray breaks his daughter’s heart and now it’s in Katherine’s hands. Heartbroken over a break from Moray, Katherine has since married a widower and military man, Tom Weston (Ben Daniels).

After her father’s death, the Weston’s settle into Katherine’s childhood home, which is no longer full of joy. This drives Katherine to transfer her energies to raising Tom’s daughter and prompts her to send for Moray to again manage the store. Though apart, the love between Moray and the young shop girl, Denise (Joanna Vanderham) blossoms. Over letters, the two reaffirm their love and upon his return Denise accepts his marriage proposal. When the return of Jonas stirs up old feelings of resentment, financial strains and clandestine meetings, the waging of wits happens.

TV SERIES REVIEW | ‘The Paradise,’ Series One
‘THE PARADISE,’ SERIES TWO (2013) #TVarchives Click To Tweet
‘THE PARADISE,’ SERIES TWO (2013). Return to the department store for a second year of drama, and romance in this BBC series. Text © Rissi JC

One thing to know about these characters is that while there’s lines between good and evil, all of the characters manipulate someone. Figuring out motives is tough, we’re always hesitant to what ends that ambition will swing. Despite this, I will say that I still quite adore The Paradise. It’s not just a sweet confection that is pretty to look at, there’s darkness around corners and fretful personalities.

Some faces are missing this season, and there are some new characters who adequately replace them. In place of the silly shop girl, Pauline is now Susy, and of course there is the return of the main characters in addition to Clara and Dudley. The most unforgivable add-in is the pursuit of more politically correct material. The girls encounter a feminist (and more) as well as an introduction to a photographer who catches Clara’s eye. Denise changes the most drastically in this season and grows all the more comfortable in her role, so much so it makes us pause and wonder if she and Moray are nothing more than lovers who will never commit.

‘THE PARADISE,’ SERIES TWO (2013). Return to the department store for a second year of drama, and romance in this BBC series. Text © Rissi JC

Ironically, there is a shift of personalities and in some sense power. Denise gains more power (and if possible, more confidence) and Katherine becomes a figure of pity. She has her moments that leave us with a bad impression yet overall, it’s almost as if we regret her not getting what she wants. Almost. Mostly, I was still not as fond of her as other characters. The Paradise is part complex study and part dazzling, but underneath there’s ugly secrets and what’s more, unfortunate characters.

In the end, I did enjoy its brief two-season run. This series has heartwarming joy and pretty moments between Denise and Moray even if I don’t always respect their love story.

Content: there’s an implication that an unmarried couple is intimate and a married man propositions more than one woman. Much ado is made over a bi-sexual character [for one episode] and there is one same-sex kiss. There is some minor violent content.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


    1. Overall, I probably enjoyed the first season better as well, Ella. Both sure were pretty though! No, it won't be back, the series has been cancelled. In a way, it would have been nice to get one more season to firm up things, however it was a nice run and thankfully, neither season ended on a terrible cliffhanger.

      Glad you enjoyed this one, Ella! Wonder what the BBC will bring us next?? :)

    2. Thanks Rissi!!!
      I thought it was probably canceled since I couldn't found out anything about another season online.

      I haven't heard about new bbc shows, but ABC has some new shows starting in the fall that look good.

    3. It's sad to see because these period dramas are gorgeous, and despite some flaws here and there (which everything has), they are superior. :)

      Here's hoping BBC brings us some new goodness. What ABC shows are you anticipating?

    4. Ooo, The Quest sounds interesting! That was the only one I hadn't heard of. The fact that Karen Gillan is in Selfie means – oh yeah – I am curious, and of course, I adore anything Marvel, only it could be a little bit sad to see Peggy without Steve. Once should be epic this year – I mean, Elsa IS coming! :D

      Hmm… let's see, what am I looking forward to. Well, I'm delighted that all of my favorites were renewed and am curious about ABC Family's 'Mystery Girls,' 'Constantine,' (because of Lucy Griffiths) 'Emerald City,' (more miniseries than show) 'Forever,' 'Gotham,' NCIS, New Orleans,' and 'Stalker' (what can I say, I'm a fan of mystery! ;D). Some of the shows I'm interested in because of the cast and will become uninterested in once I read more about them, but some could be new favorites. Gotta' love the new TV seasons, right?? Even if I never try any, it's fun to read about what's coming. :)

      …and I was just reading about 'Galavant.' Huh. Wonder how that will go over?? ;)

  1. You know, I was up and down all the way through both seasons. By the end of season 2, I have to admit I was mostly bored of Denise and Moray. I feel like they just lost their spark and likability…whereas Katherine started to tug majorly on my sympathy by the end. I did enjoy watching both seasons, but I can't say I was disappointed (or all that surprised) when it was cancelled. Still, I enjoyed watching it…loved the costumes and the overall brightness of the show and its set. There was a lot to watch and enjoy…I just didn't connect as well with the characters as I have in some other shows.

    1. That was my feeling for pretty much the entire series run, Melissa. I mean, sure I enjoyed both season one and two, however it just didn't "grab" my attention the same as some of BBC's other delights. Like you say, we lost some of our fondness for Denise and became more sympathetic with Katherine (there were times when I nearly wished Moray did truly love her, and she was able to win him back), but then she'd do something that bugged me. Same with Denise. Really, I think we even felt sorry for Moray in this season whereas in one, we felt more like he was, well, a player.

      It might have been nice to get a third series just to have a more "solid" ending, but overall, I'm with you. I won't miss this terribly much. It was pretty and I liked the storyline (the first department store), however it had flaws. :)

  2. I really enjoyed season 1 of The Paradise and was so disappointed that the show was cancelled. When did Season 2 air? I definitely want to see it. Thanks for the review Rissi. Without it I would not have known Season 2 is available to watch. I am in the U.S. by the way.

    1. Far as I know, this hasn't aired in the states yet, Laurie. I saw it through a region 2 DVD set, however I know there are sites where you can watch this online. Hope you can find it.

      Season two is different in many respects though it still retains some of its charm and oh my, the costumes!!!

      Enjoy, Laurie. :)

    2. That's what I loved Rissi – the costumes!! Ohhhhh….those costumes. Moray and Dudley were dashing in those suits. Thanks so much for the info.

    3. Me, too, Laurie! Ahh… they were just gorgeous. And I agree, Moray and Dudley were indeed dashing. Amazing what a well dressed male lead can do for a costume drama! ;)

  3. I watched season 1 of this when it aired on PBS, but honestly, I didn't like it very much. Well, let me rephrase that…I enjoyed it enough while watching it, but I didn't feel connected to the characters and I never really rooted for Denise and Moray's relationship. I probably won't ever rewatch it, and I won't watch season 2, just because it's not a favorite. I can't explain why, but I just found it sort of disappointing and bland.

    1. Season one was good. I didn't mind it in the least despite the flaws, however season 2 was different than its first and because of that, our sympathies shifted.

      …and I get what you're saying. Being an aficionado of this genre, I *really* liked the series, but did struggle with some of the characters. Certainly Denise wasn't always the "best" heroine. If you don't care to ever see S1 again, then, yeah, you probably wouldn't be a fan of season two. It's not quite as "good" as its first season.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kristin!

      PS: did you watch Mr. Selfridge?

  4. As much as I was rooting for Denise and Moray, I actually didn't like series two as much as one. The first series had a light, more romantic, will they won't they, feel to it than the second one. Sometimes you just need fluff in your life, you know? I felt like it was trying too hard to be more dramatic with series two. As much as I loved the first series, I can't say I'm surprised that it was cancelled either.

    1. Well said, Renee. I liked season two, however there was a powerful shift in viewers sympathies and all of our thoughts about certain characters had to be reevaluated.

      I do know – fluff is my favorite thing! It's why I read the books I do. :)

      Glad you shared your thoughts, Renee. As you said, it's really not all that surprising this got cancelled – wonder what BBC will have for us this year?? Eager to read about their newbies. :)

  5. I adored series one of The Paradise and the unfolding romance between Moray and Denise, but I wasn't so fond of series two. I liked Denise's character less and less, almost felt sorry for Moray a few times and the secondary characters were also not as interesting as in series one.

    It's very strange actually, because I also watched Mr Selfridge of which I wasn't too fond of the first series, but I really love the second one I'm watching now!!

    1. Yeah, that seems the general thought, Birdie. It's too bad because The Paradise was really sweet in its own way back when it began, and at the end, as you point out, our sympathies shifted which wasn't such a nice feeling. In the end, I think I was still happy for Denise and Moray. Mostly.

      That IS ironic. I've got S2 of Selfridge to watch but haven't gotten to it. Maybe this weekend I'll begin that journey. :)

  6. I'm watching season one of this right now, so I skimmed over most of your talk of what's happening in the second season, but yay! I'm really enjoying it right now. I'm quite sad there are only two seasons, since I'm liking it so much, but I'm glad to see you've said it's not terribly open-ended. :)

    1. …and again, HOW did I miss your comment, Rachel!? Ugh. This is the second time I've done this – see this is why I now have comment moderation on older posts; so I don't miss a thing! I'm glad to know you were enjoying this and hope you continued to. :)

  7. Terribly disappointed in Season II. dialogue and plots were mediocre. Denise–a strong character, sort of wilted every week. It got so boring, I didnt really care anymore. I had such high expectations after Season I. At least it ended on a decent note. Wish they'd tie up the ending of The House of Elliot.

    1. Denise did change in season two, I agree, Nicole. On some level, it'd have been nice to have a third season (to see how the writer's would change things) and on another, I'm glad it ended as it did. We can imagine our own ending. As for The House of Elliot, I'm often tempted to watch that one, but alas, I've read it doesn't end completely which leaves me skeptical. Thanks for the visit. :)

  8. Hi Rissi. Season 2 just wrapped up here in the U.S. and I loved it! I thought it was every bit as good as Season 1. I found myself feeling a little sorry for Katherine—I think it was her sad eyes and the pain of unrequited love that elicited my pity for her. I feel like Denise grew up a bit in Season 2 and I liked her more assertive nature. Clara changed quite a bit too. I really liked her transformation and thought she was a great character. Jonas reminded me of Mr. Slugworth from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory…always creeping around corners and whispering in people's ears. Loved it! I am not happy that the show was cancelled but I think it ended very tastefully and satisfactorily. I think they could have certainly went on to develop the show further. I hope they reconsider and bring it back. I'm going to have to break down and buy it on DVD so I can watch it again and again.

    1. Same here, Laurie – I felt sorrier for Katherine than I ever did in S1. In the first season, I felt she was manipulative, and she and Moray probably did deserve each other. It's sad to think her husband was cruel to her, though I did enjoy her relationship with her stepdaughter. Yes, Denise certainly did change in this series though I didn't always feel it was for the better or like her – sometimes her method of "dealing" with things didn't do anything to endear her character. Ah, Jonas! That guy is always being creepy, LOL. I remember in S1 being shocked at the mystery turn the show took – like wow!

      Despite the cancellation, I agree. The series ended well enough. We can dream up our own conclusion which is nice and if they do reconsider bringing it back, it might be nice to see a TV special if not a proper series – and I'm so glad you shared your impressions! :)

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