09 October 2020 12:38
The Haunting of Bly Manor The Great Good Place Season 1 Episode 1 Editor's Rating 3 stars * * * Photo: Courtesy of Netflix In the opening minutes of the series — long before we lay eyes on Bly Manor itself — we get our first glimpse of the ghost that haunts our protagonist, Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti): a strange, shadowy figure with yellow lights for eyes, staring at her from the reflection in a passing car's window. Long before The Haunting of Bly Manor opens the front door of its stately, titular English country house, we learn that Dani is already haunted. Whatever is waiting for her inside Bly Manor, she's bringing her own ghosts with her. (I'm not quite sure why these partiers all agree that they want to hear a ghost story, even if Carla Gugino is the one who offers to tell it.) After a little hemming and hawing, Dani gets the job, and she's on her way to Bly Manor. She's clearly running from something, and you might think a full-time job in a remote, old house would be enough to get her to safety — yet her habit of obsessively covering every reflective surface in a room with a cloth screen certainly implies that whatever chases her is never far behind.
At Bly Manor, Dani meets the rest of the skeleton staff charged with looking after the place: Owen, the cook (Rahul Kohli); Jamie, the groundskeeper (Amelia Eve); and Hannah Grose, the housekeeper (T'Nia Miller). This is the big gamble of The Haunting of Bly Manor — can it find two child actors capable of the nuance and ambiguity required to make every aspect of this story work? Yes, something is wrong at Bly. So when Miles and Flora lock Dani into a closet at the end of the episode, is it a childish prank gone wrong or something more sinister? It's here that the connection between these two ghost stories, separated by both geography and time, finally becomes clear. • Hidden ghosts: I am by no means an expert ghost hunter, but I'll do my best to spot those hidden in the background throughout Bly Manor (a trick that series creator Mike Flanagan also used, to brilliant effect, in The Haunting of Hill House).
To that end: "O Willow Waly," the song that opens Bly Manor, is also sung by Flora in The Innocents. And in James's original, the governess remains unnamed, but Bly Manor calls her Dani Clayton, an apparent tribute to Jack Clayton, the director of The Innocents. Bly Manor gives him the name Wingrave, which is borrowed from another Henry James ghost story, "Owen Wingrave." • The residents' repeated insistence that Bly Manor is "a great good place" is an homage to yet another Henry James story. • The wedding that opens the episode is a framing device half-borrowed from The Turn of the Screw, in which the main story is recounted by a narrator at a Christmas Eve party. • As Ryan Murphy has done with American Horror Story, Flanagan is treating his Haunting of [Insert Spooky House] series as an opportunity to cast his favorite actors in different roles.
In his latest series he's provided another revisionist take on an iconic haunted house, this time focusing on Bly Manor – the property at the heart of Henry James' chilling horror novella The Turn of the Screw, first published in 1898. Like Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor is not necessarily a direct adaptation, but there are nonetheless a fair few similarities between the two works – we've taken a look at how closely the two resemble each other below. Get Netflix and on demand news and recommendations direct to your inbox Sign up to receive our newsletter! How similar is The Haunting of Bly Manor to The Turn of the Screw? While Flanagan has taken James' story and turned it into something rather different, there are nonetheless a fair few similarities – right down to the fact that both begin with a narrator regaling the chilling tale to a captive audience. The central premise and set-up to the Netflix series is more or less identical to the novella: a governess arrives at Bly to look after the two orphaned children, with their uncle wanting little to do with the property. Of course even with the set-up there are a couple of changes: the action in the series takes place in the '80s – much later than the late 19th century setting of the original, while in the novella the governess does not arrive from the US, as is the case in the show. Anyway, in both the series and the novella, the governess begins to fear that the property is haunted – seeing spectres that closely resemble two deceased former employees at the manor and suspecting that the children are also aware of the ghosts, though they deny it. The love story aspect is completely new for the series – indeed the character Jamie does not exist in the source material, nor for that matter does the chef Owen. In the novella, Jessel and Quint, deceased former employees at the property who had been in a relationship with each other, had had very close relationships with Flora and Miles and continued to exert control over them as ghosts – which is similar to what happened in the book. But in the series we dig far more deeply into their pasts both in the house and even beforehand – while Quint is given an altered backstory as a business associate of Henry Wingrave. While it is The Turn of the Screw that serves as the main inspiration for The Haunting of Bly Manor, Flanagan has worked in aspects of some of the writer's other works. Most prominently featured is the 1868 short story The Romance Of Certain Old Clothes, a loosely adapted version of which forms the narrative of an entire episode later in the series – working as a backstory for Bly Manor itself. Meanwhile Dani Clayton's surname is likely a reference to director Jack Clayton, who helmed the 1961 film version of The Turn of the Screw, titled The Innocents. Here's when The Haunting of Bly Manor is set and the full timeline explained without any spoilers. The Haunting of Bly Manor is out and fans are already obsessed but one thing that's confusing some people is when it's set. Unlike The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor takes places primarily in the UK. The Haunting season 2 takes us to Bly Manor, a fictional house where Dani (Victoria Pedretti) moves to work as the new governess for two children, Miles and Flora Wingrave. READ MORE: Is Haunting of Bly Manor connected to Hill House? When does The Haunting of Bly Manor take place? What year is The Haunting of Bly Manor set in? The Haunting of Bly Manor opens with a mystery narrator telling a ghost story to a group of people the night after a rehearsal dinner for a wedding. However, the story which the narrator tells becomes the focus of the series and that's set in the 1980s. The story is, of course, the tale of Dani and her experiences working at Bly Manor. Dani begins working as a governess at Bly Manor in 1987 and the majority of the series is set then. However, there are a few flashbacks throughout the season and, as the series progresses, we learn more about the history of Bly Manor and exactly what happened before Dani moved there. In the first episode, however, it's revealed that the governess who worked at Bly the year before Dani, Rebecca, took her own life. There are various flashbacks to Rebecca's story within the season, as well as ones further back which explain the history of Bly and its inhabitants in more depth. With The Haunting of Hill House set in the 90s and modern-day and The Haunting of Bly Manor set in the 80s and modern-day, we can't wait to see what time period the series goes travels back to next.