Les Misérables: Series 1 (2019)

Series 1
Les Misérables

Critics Consensus

Andrew Davies' deft adaptation of the oft-retold Victor Hugo classic affords viewers a newfound intimacy with these outcasts and revolutionaries, who are ably brought to life by a star-studded cast.



Critic Ratings: 30


Audience Score

User Ratings: 107
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Air date: Apr 14, 2019
Air date: Apr 21, 2019
Air date: Apr 28, 2019
Air date: May 5, 2019
Air date: May 12, 2019
Air date: May 19, 2019

Tv Season Info

Victor Hugo's masterpiece comes to television in a six-part adaptation by multi award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies. Dominic West stars as fugitive Jean Valjean, with David Oyelowo as his pursuer Inspector Javert and Lily Collins as the luckless single mother Fantine. Ellie Bamber and Josh O'Connor costar as the young lovers Cosette and Marius. Love, death, and the struggle for social justice in early 19th-century France feature in this beautifully faithful retelling of one of the world's most beloved stories.


Adeel Akhtar
as Monsieur Thénardier
Olivia Colman
as Madame Thénardier
David Oyelowo
as Inspector Javert
Dominic West
as Jean Valjean
Lily Collins
as Fantine

Critic Reviews for Les Misérables Series 1

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (9)

An engrossing treat, featuring a vibrant cast and taking its time to unspool the melodrama and offer loving looks at 19th century France.

Apr 17, 2019 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
Top Critic

There are strong performances from famous actors, gorgeous cinematography and perfectly assembled period sets.

Feb 13, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The script tells and tells and tells. There are few asides, and no subtext; the plot just unspools, like rope.

Jan 17, 2019 | Full Review…

Davies's script has so far hit the main marks and tripped lightly through a thicket of exposition. Sometimes he has been constrained by threadbare material.

Jan 2, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Starring an excellent central cast, the new Les Mis instantly erases the foul stench of director Tom Hooper's unbearable 2012 adaptation, which remains, even years later, one of only four films I have walked out of in my entire life.

Aug 28, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

There are just too many themes about morality, good versus evil, and the idea everything you believe in can vanish in a second, and not enough time to show them onscreen.

Jul 24, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Les Misérables is flawed, but it has elements that profoundly speak to its changing country and the people that call it home, indicative of the massive political turmoil that continues to play out on the streets.

Jun 4, 2019 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

One of the great pleasures of PBS's six-episode miniseries is being reminded of backstories and character development either long forgotten or (for the unread) not yet discovered.

May 15, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/5.0 | Full Review…

Screenwriter Andrew Davies... knows how to fashion a drama, and there's more naughty bits than one would expect in public television drawing room drama.

Apr 15, 2019 | Full Review…

Victor Hugo wrote one of the longest novels in literature... Thankfully, we viewers do get the narrative through-line in this handsome, passionate, near-heroic adaptation of Hugo's moral fable.

Apr 15, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Les Misérables: Series 1

  • Jul 29, 2019
    Absolutely love ! More more more! Dominic West makes this series! Bravo
  • Jul 13, 2019
    This is five star entertainment all day long. Could and should have been double the length. Stand out performances from Lily Collins and Dominic West. Unfortunately the quality does fall dramatically the more Josh O'Connor appears in it.
  • Jul 09, 2019
    a great adaptation while not as good as the musical this explores character arks better you really get a feel of the era
  • Jun 24, 2019
    It's amazinggggg I loveeee it
  • Jun 20, 2019
    A surprisingly enjoyable adaptation. My family and I appreciated how it included a lot of details from the novel that many film adaptations are forced to leave out due to a shorter runtime. It was a brilliant idea to adapt this lengthy novel into a multi-hour miniseries, which allowed more time for more details. Good acting, good pacing (for the most part) and good cinematography. The last episode ended up feeling a bit rushed, and it could do without some random (awkward) moments of sexual tension. Although it is not 100% accurate to the novel, it is one of the most detailed adaptations out there. 4.5/5 stars. I TRULY recommend watching this WITHOUT paying attention to what some of the show-makers had to say about the musical. Unfortunately, most negative reviews you'll see come from those who saw the series through dark-tinted glasses because of certain negative comments found via interviews and Twitter. If you go into this with fresh eyes, you might just enjoy it.
  • Jun 08, 2019
    This series butchers most of the characters but I've got to put in a word for Marius Pontmercy. The innocent young student from the book who discovered love with Cosette is portrayed as constantly horny, finding even visibly malnourished and beaten young street urchin Eponine (who I thought was famous for being friendzoned) attractive enough to fantasize about after passing her in the street once but never considers pursuing her because she's black and poor. This is after he calls his friend disgusting for objectifying her by the way. He later pays Thenardier to become a slave trader and suffers no consequences for this and the story still has the framing of him as a positive character Cosette is fortunate to end up with. The extremely miscast Josh O'Connor looks bored as hell throughout all his scenes, none of Marius' passion or any of his (in the book extensively detailed) traits come through... the SECONDARY PROTAGONIST meant to be half of the couple that end up as the sole hope of the story, the romantic lead Victor Hugo partly based on himself as a youth is portrayed salivating at stripping girls through peepholes like a serial killer and people still call this an "accurate adaption"? This NOTHING character who for some reason attracts the devotion of two girls has zero to do with Les Misérables and everything to do with Andrew "poverty and starving children are sexy" Davies. Who 100% changed the material solely on account of getting a boner watching Samantha Barks in the 2012 film, you can tell. I'd love to see some of these reviewers who apparently loved the show explaining away a scene of Dominic West as Valjean pleasuring himself with those candlesticks as poignant art expanding on Victor Hugo's vision or something, some idiots just eat anything up.
  • Jun 08, 2019
    The leads were good, except for Cosette as an adult who acted more childish than she did as a child! The writing was not up to the book.
  • Jun 08, 2019
    Trash TV Les Mis for dirty-minded old people written by awful people that need to quit it with the victim blaming. Can't believe some of the scenes that were added, might as well have added a scene of Cosette fucking Javert as a form of rebellion from her daddy, maybe Gavroche having his first wank over some dead soldiers, it wouldn't have been more against the source material. Hey, having Cosette fuck Javert would have atleast gotten rid of some of the nasty subtext concerning Aryan Ideal Cosette contrasted with the dirty brown prostitutes. That was Amanda Seyfried's natural hair color y'all, you didn't have to give your actresses those unflattering yellow wigs.
  • May 20, 2019
    While I loved the 2012 musical Les Mis, I am also a fan of films that are lovingly true to the original visions of the books they bring to life -- especially historic novels. It's a testament to the musical and dramatic power of Les Mis that it dislodged Hugo's own rendering of 19th-century France from our minds: As the finale of PBS's recent six-part production of Les Miserables was nearing an end, I found myself saying, "Wait. Did screenwriter Andrew Davies CHANGE the ending of Les Miserables?!" No, Dear Reader! After a quick refresher of the final pages of the actual book, I realized that particular atrocity had happened several years ago! Many people watching and comparing the two probably prefer the uplifting end of Les Mis to the more humble ending of Les Miserables, but that's history for you. Hugo's story attempts to show that French society at this time was ripe for change, but at the time, that was a bitter pill for "the family of men" (not to mention the family of women) to swallow. The belief that poverty reflected an inherent inferiority -- that poor people were lesser humans than well-to-do ones -- was deeply ingrained. If he had given them Les Mis, he would likely have lost them to fits of laughter. Instead, Hugo's narrative strategy is to help readers of the time see and feel the tragedy of Jean Valjean's life by way of a simple faded tombstone. Maybe human compassion, he seems to reason, will help them see that things must change. Then again, who knows. Maybe even Hugo could not envision what comes next: What it would look like to see an individual from this heretofore shunned group be revered in French society. Either could be true: Movers of social change understand that people must be brought along slowly, and lack of vision is common as disenfranchised groups inch their way into the mainstream. Javert's own fate illustrates this perfectly: He was moved to change, but he could not reconcile the change with everything else he knew about the world. It is our current day biases that predispose us to want more recognition for Valjean, but given the historical context, it seems to me Hugo probably had it just right. And so does Andrew Davies. Watch Les Mis if you are feeling low. But if you are in a more realistic frame of mind, tune into this rich, well-acted production. You won't be disappointed.
  • May 19, 2019
    caught this toward the last two episodes.wish id seen it from the beginning, great story and characters.never the musical but i will now.excellent.pbs really knows how to put things together

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