I'm Giving Up on the Tudors

I had really high hopes for this show, but I’m really dissapointed. I’d hoping for years that they’d do a really good show on this era, and . . . well, I’m still hoping that they will someday.

I made excuses during the first episode: “*Well, you know, they’ve got a lot of characters they have to introduce. Once they’ve got that done, the show will get more compelling.” * But it didn’t. The second episode offered no more character development, and somehow managed to make one of the most interesting periods in history sort of boring.

So, I fell back to the factor that often rescues a film or show set in a historical period: costumes and sets. It didn’t help.

The sets are pretty good. I find myself recognizing elements I’ve seen in historical paintings (such as the gilded pillars in the audience chamber in tonight’s episode) but the costumes set my teeth on egde. Women are running around with their hair hanging loose, with nary a gable hood or veil to be seen.

The costumes, while pretty, are grossly inaccurate. Off-the-shoulder dresses, bodices which conform to the shape of the woman’s body instead of vice-versa and boobs-a-poppin from sweetheart necklines’. Anne Boleyn was wearing a short sleeved gown in tonight’s episode, and Mary Tudor was wearing sparkly platform shoes during the love scene with Brandon.

For some reason, the series has Mary married to the king of Portugal. I don’t mind so much the fact that the events are out of sequence, but that bothers me for some reason. I can only surmise that it’s because they wanted her to have a long sea voyage to set up the romance between Mary and Brandon. But honestly, isn’t the real story so much more interesting? It looks like in the previews, Brandon is going to try to talk Mary into marrying him, instead of the amusing scene that’s reported in Brandon’s charmingly befuddled letter to Henry VIII. Then, tonight, she smothered the king in his sleep. Yeesh.

Anne Boleyn, who was famous for her “black and beautiful” eyes has blue eyes in this series. A minor point, sure, but couldn’t they have had the actress wear contacts? I fear to watch any further because I have a sinking feeling that a sixth finger is going to figure prominently.

It looks like they’ve combined Thomas Wyatt and Henry Percy into one character. Understandable, I suppose, but they missed an opprotunity to explain why Anne disliked Wolsey. Well, they missed a* lot* of opprotunities to explain her motives.

Is the choir singer with the messy hair going to be Mark Smeaton? Is the character of Cromwell being set up to be motivated by religious differences with Wolsey?

It’s sad. What we’re left with is a soap opera which is only loosely based on historical events, performed by people in “Tudor-inspired” costumes and modern haircuts. There’s nothing compelling about any of the characters, who just seem like carboard cutouts of themselves, devoid of any character development other than the occasional eye-rolling from Anne Boleyn. Rome may have played fast and loose with the facts on occasion, but at least that show had interesting characters.

Maybe my expectations were just too high. Then again, I haven’t seen threads on this show the way there were for Deadwood and Rome. I take that as a lack of interest from the Doper community. I think it’s a dud.

Thanks for the headsup.

Yeah, I think it’s way below other HBO and Showtime shows. Way below. So it’ll probably go on for five more seasons.

I think I’m about to give up on this one too. In addition to the things that have already been mentioned, one of my biggest issues is the casting of Henry. We all know that by this time in the story, Henry was middle-aged and getting to be quite a large man. Yet here he is, cast as a handsome, thin (and rather small, if you ask me) man of 30. I’m having a hard time getting over that. While watching the Sopranos last night I commented that if they can cast Tony Soprano as a middle-aged, not exactly drop dead gorgeous guy who women still want to screw because he’s powerful, why couldn’t they have cast Henry VIII that way?

I gave up too. I don’t know enough to recognize inaccuracies in costumes, but I wanted more depth and texture. I think I’ve been spoiled for historicals by Deadwood and Rome – all that dirt made for incredibly rich backgrounds. The Tudors has no texture. Everything I saw could have been filmed on a stage.

I’m enjoying it. But in my mind I’ve completely divorced it from historical reality. In my mind, only the names are the same and I see the rest as pure fiction. I like most of the characters and love the scenery and costumes. Let’s put it this way, it’s better than 90% of the other shows that are on network TV.

If you read the HBO’s message boards about Deadwood and Rome, people there are practically foaming at the mouth at what they saw as inaccuracies. I stopped reading there because it was making me a little crazy and I wanted to enjoying the shows just for the incredible writing and acting.

Maybe because there hasn’t been a TV show about this era before, I’m really trying to enjoy it because it is different. Anyone know how many seasons they plan on having?

I believe that is what as known as “damning with faint praise.”

I’m sure if I knew anything at all about the history I’d be as annoyed with the show as anyone, but since my knowledge of the history is derived largely from “Anne of the Thousand Days” and, from a little later, Bette Davis in “The Virgin Queen,” I’m OK with just looking at the pretty, pretty people. Although I did find myself looking at the Wikipedia articles for Henry’s sisters for more information about the murder of the King of Portugal and didn’t see anything about it. I take it none of them actually married and then murdered any such kings?

I read the HBO boards while Deadwood was on. Didn’t notice that many people had problems with inaccuracies, except for those who complained about the language. “Fucking wasn’t used as an adjective until 1947!” Stuff like that. :slight_smile:

I missed, because of traveling, last night’s episode. I’m going to watch it later tonight, and if it’s as bad as the first two I’m giving up as well. The inaccuracies in the costumes are bad enough, but the messing with history is the worst. I can get around characters not looking like their known portraits, if the acting is good, but with the exception of Jeremy Northram, it isn’t.

Not that Jeremy Northam isn’t grossly miscast, let us add. The man is supposed to be a romantic supporting character, preferably in lighthearted films. Mr. Knightly. Ivor Novello. One doesn’t need to grapple with a Sir Thomas More who might, at any second, burst into a Noel Coward chorus.

Nope. Princess Mary married Louis XII, king of France. She did sort of kill him, but no one could ever call it murder.

Princess Mary was sort of a spoiled brat. She was widely renowned as the most beautiful princess in Europe and her hand was highly sought. When Henry betrothed her to Louis, she made him promise that he would let her pick her next husband. Of course, Henry probably had no intention of honoring that promise, and Mary knew it.

She married Louis and basically pleasured him to death. Louis was besotted by his pretty bride and Mary (contrary to what was in the show) behaved herself very well. She flirted with the old king and he swore she made him feel decades younger. The old fool was soon out on the dance floor and staying up to all hours with his new wife. His courtiers warned him that all of this vigorous activity would probably kill him and, well, it did. I doubt that Mary was much grieved by this.

Henry sent Charles Brandon to fetch his newly-widowed sister. Mary was living in a convent at the time, waiting the designated period to make sure she wasn’t pregnant before the new King of France took the throne. She hinted that the king-to-be was sexually harassing her in her letter to her brother and urged haste.

Brandon had probably been in Mary’s heart even before she married Louis. From all of the things I’ve read, he was considered handome, but not terribly bright-- a bluff, good-natured man but not a thinker. Mary set to work on him the moment he arrived, pleading and crying for him to marry her. She claimed her brother would sell her off to another monarch the moment she got home to England and that she would enter a convent unless he married her *right now. *

“She weeped”, Brandon explained in his letter to Henry. “I have never seen a woman so weep.” Before he really knew what was happening, Mary had him standing in front of a priest, having been assisted by the new king. (Francis probably saw it as advantageous that Henry was going to be losing his sister as a pawn on the royal marriage market, and he had a wicked sense of humor. I imagine he laughed his ass off about it later.) “I say it plainly-- I have married her and lain with her heartily, insomuch that I fear lest she be with child.”

Mary knew her brother would be royally pissed (pun intended.) So, she stole a portion of the French crown jewels and sent them to England along with the letter she had written to formally announce her marriage.

Later, Francis discovered that the jewels, including a huge pearl called the Mirror of Naples, was missing. He wrote to Henry pointing out that the jewels were not Mary’s property: they were the property of the French Crown and were merely loaned to the queen. Henry replied with an apology and sent back a couple cheap, tiny rings. “Here you go! Now they’re all returned.” He then had his portrait painted prominently wearing the Mirror of Naples.

Mary took the very wise position of wide-eyed innocence. Of course her brother would be upset she hadn’t gotten married at home but a chivilrous knight such as Henry would keep his promises, right? Henry was trapped. He couldn’t admit to lying, so with a bit of grumbling, he agreed that Mary and Brandon could come back to England, but they had to pay him a hefty fine.

Personally, I think this story, the real story, is so much more compelling than the one they used in the series.

Lissa, your post was more entertaining than the entire series so far. And there weren’t even any, y’know, pictures :slight_smile: .

It’s not even a soap opera, it’s a romance novel ::snicker::

According to IMDb Gabrielle Anwar plays Margaret, not Mary. Margaret had no relationship with/to Brandon; she marries James IV of Scotland.

Oh, wow . . . that’s really bad. The character in the show has a storyline which doesn’t even resemble Margaret Tudor’s.

Margaret really got the short end of the stick in the matrimony game. She tried to do the same thing Mary had, but the guy she chose to marry after the king of Scotland died was no prize. She eventually obtained a divorce from the Pope, which outraged her brother. How could she even *dream *of violating the sanctity of marriage, he fumed. (He saw his own current attempts at gaining a divorce as completely different. He considered his own motives to be pure: a son for England. Her motives were low: love and lust.)

Poor Margaret wasn’t a very good judge of character. Her next husband was even worse than her second. She died of a stroke in 1541

If they followed what really happened the dates wouldn’t match up as far as the story is going now.

From what I read before the show even came out this is all about Henry. It’s all about trying to dispel the idea that he was a fat ogre that killed his wives and portray his as some sort of macho rock star-renaissance man. Even the interviews with Jonathan Rhys Meyers were pretty telling to me. He seemed to have a great sympathy for Henry VIII and seemed to infer that he was misunderstood. It shouldn’t have been called the Tudors because anyone else besides Henry is just eye candy. I think I posted about this before the show came out.

I knew before it started that it was going to be pure fiction and didn’t expect much. If I didn’t I would have been disappointed I guess. It’s watchable to me. I’d love to read an interview with the writers on why they decided to play fast and loose with some of the facts and relationships.

That didn’t bother me so much. I wouldn’t really have a problem with them writing a show so that all of the interesting stories could be used. But they’re not even using those stories!

Well, in his younger days, he was pretty sexy and well-admired. He was the “handsomest prince in Christendom” when he married Katherine of Aragon, and at first, he heavily patronized scholars, priding himself on being well-learned. He had a good foundation-- while his brother Arthur was still alive and destined for the throne, Henry was groomed to enter the church. I have a feeling his tutors wouldn’t have appreciated the use to which he put his theological studies later on.

He was married to Katherine for more than a decade, during which he sort of wandered away from his intellectual persuits and aged naturally into a bit sturdier of a man. He still wasn’t obese-- that didn’t really take off until around the time of Jane Seymour. He was sort of softening. His jousting accidents had put a bit of fear into him because he had no heir, and so he gained a bit of weight from the lack of exercise. However, around the time we’re talking, he was still a pretty good-looking guy.

I saw the same thing and wondered if the actor was just fooling himself or if he hadn’t actually read anything about Henry VIII. Hey, don’t get me wrong, the king did have his strong points, but ultimately, he was a bad friend, a bad husband, a bad fiscal manager and a bad father. There’s no way of avoiding it.

When his father died, he left Henry a massive fortune. Henry was the richest monarch in Europe. Henry used it to build dozens of palaces and to have the most glittering court money could buy. By the 1530s, he was scraping for money and many scholars argue that the Dissolution was motivated more by the king being broke than the monestaries being lax.