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.