It’s the early 1950s. Lionel is an army officer, and Jean is an army nurse. They meet. They fall in love. Then Lionel gets shipped to Korea. Communication lines break down, and their relationship ends. End of story? Nope. It’s just the beginning.
As Time Goes By begins forty years later, when this lucky pair is given a second opportunity. A chance meeting puts them back in touch with each other, and their relationship begins anew. The story of the couple’s rekindled romance is slow-paced and tender, liberally sprinkled with gentle humor. Jean (Judi Dench) and Lionel (Geoffrey Palmer) have a delightful chemistry, and their relationship seems very loving and real—their playful banter, their arguments, their loving endearments…the whole shebang. (The character of Lionel is about twice my age, and he’s not exactly a Greek Adonis, but I still find him attractive. It’s just weird that my husband doesn’t feel threatened by this fact…)
Jean and Lionel’s lives aren’t just about each other, of course. A wide range of supporting characters add interest to the storyline–Alistair, an overenthusiastic, and often annoying publisher, and Rocky, Lionel’s unrestrained and adventuresome father, are among the many gems. (Some of these individuals are more over the top than the very relatable Jean and Lionel, but they still don’t exist outside the realm of possibility.) After Lionel and Jean’s relationship is well established, many of the later episodes follow relationships involving these secondary characters.
This is a long series, featuring an impressive nine seasons of episodes. I would recommend that new viewers start the series at the very beginning, so they can follow the progression of the storyline and the development of the characters. It may take a while to finish all that viewing, but a quality, well-scripted show like this one is worth every second!