I rented this mini-series because I watched (and loved) North and South. Both films are based on books by Elizabeth Gaskell.
I will tell you plainly that W&D is not quite as good at N&S for one giant reason: no kissing.
I like Molly, the main character, and I like her relationship with her father. Obviously, the step-mother is ridiculous, and Keeley Hawes as the step-sister is no treat either; I hate it when 1) people go around imposing their will on others just because they can, and 2) people go around putting their own responsibilities on someone else's shoulders.
I'd have liked more development of Molly's scientific studies; every now and then she would be looking in a microscope, but nothing was really made of that. Was she doing research? Satisfying curiosity? I don't know.
I thought the resolution was a bit convenient, but then ... it's a Victorian story. You know.
Still, it's beautifully shot, and there are lots of great dresses.
4 out of 5