Review: Pillars Revives the Old-Fashioned Epic

They really don't make them like this anymore. And we're not talking about 12th-century Gothic cathedrals. The Pillars of the Earth, a sprawling historical melodrama based on Ken Follett's mammoth bestseller, conjures nostalgic memories of the days of yore, way back in the 20th century, when networks devoted entire weeks to "event" miniseries like Shogun, The Winds of War, The Thorn Birds, Lonesome Dove, to name a memorable few - although in this case, North and South is the best comparison.

Pillars, airing eight hours on Starz over six summer Fridays, represents the best and worst of this long-neglected form of epic storytelling. It's a lavish costume spectacle, racing through the royal and religious intrigues that swirl around the construction of a cathedral in an otherwise unassuming English market town.

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