When a classic is remade, the most frequent and frequently irrelevant question concerns how much has been changed from the original. The happy answer regarding the PBS “Masterpiece” presentation of “Around the World in 80 Days”: Much.
You can probably still spend 80 days going around the world if you book on certain U.S. airlines, but in the days of Jules Verne—the grandfather of fantasy fiction, who published his most famous novel in 1872—such a trip was considered not just impossibly fast but beyond belief. As the eight-part series commences in London, an article in the Daily Telegraph is expressing the theory that such a journey is possible. At the luxe Reform Club of London, where the musty all-male membership dines on gelatinous brown soup and boiled beef, the report is dismissed by most members as twaddle. Piffle. Bosh.