This four disc set offers up the tension, power, and lush sensuality of England's monarchy during the 1500's like pale flesh against dark and bejeweled velvet. Showtime's series, The Tudors, delivers a lavish feast for viewers. The settings, the complex and unique costuming, the stellar array of talent that moves each scene, like the next course in an impossibly well-choreographed fete, even the grace of dramatic lighting conjoins within this show to assemble a magical meal before our wondering eyes.
However, this banquet... like cakes with Queen Mab, doesn't always satisfy and is often more dream than reality. Those looking for true and consistent historical accuracy will not be satisfied by the Tudors savory but hollow sustenance. I could bewail the creative drift, and I won't deny that we have fun afterward discussing the differences between truth and fiction, much as we did after watching another lush and semi-historical series by another studio.
This succulent meal comes with a few unhealthy tidbits, but the momentary indigestion really doesn't make you regret the meal. Ultimately, Tudors is a wonderfully refreshing and appetizing celebration compared to the bland and tasteless fare usually found on television. I could not possibly find enough superlatives to describe in detail the piquant talents combined here. An intoxicating Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, indulgent Sam Neill, fateful Jeremy Northam, riotous Gabrielle Anwar, flawless Natalie Dormer, and bittersweet Maria Doyle Kennedy are just a few of the exuberant talents whose unique performances help comprise our illusory repast.
Season one begins with Henry the VIII's signing of the "Treaty of Universal Peace" and ends with Cardinal Wolsey facing Henry's justice. Between those two events are spread generous portions of intrigue, manipulation, powerful attractions, personal and political disaster, like an infinitely intricate and unfolding puzzle of lives and choices. Truly, a breathtaking sensual feast just waiting for you to pull up a chair and dig in!
This isn't a bare bones edition, but it doesn't offer a wealth of treasures in the Special Features area either. One commentary, and I was actually quite disappointed at finding not a single deleted scene. The Tudors: Production is a 4 minute featurette on production design, and The Tudors: Wardrobe is a 5 minute featurette on a wardrobe that could have easily been an hour long discussion. Both are distressingly brief, and unsatisfying as extras. The Tudors: Locations is a bit better at a 22 minute run time. Professional tour guide, Kevin Conroy, gives us a historical glimpse of London and some of the places that influenced the life of Henry the VIII.
While it was nice of Showtime to include free episodes of Californication, This American Life and Penn & Teller B.S.!, it would have been far more satisfying and enticing to me as a consumer if due attention had been paid to the extras of this show. Don't try to sell me on another product if you haven't fully met my desire to explore the intricacies of the show that originally caught my attention.
Perhaps Showtime should consider supporting the wonderfully seductive gloss they've given this historically inspired show with more substance? Season one certainly captures the attention and even offers some alluring performances for viewers. However, inexplicable departures from perfectly interesting historical facts, and erratic jumps in time from one episode to the next that span months without any warning could be serious drawbacks if the series is to continue evolving.
Season one was nominated for four Emmies ("Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series", and "Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series"), and walked away with two well-deserved awards for "Outstanding Costumes for a Series" and "Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music". Handled properly, each course of this tale could be served to perfection. Additional seasons could right the shows few key misstep, and successfully evolve into some of the most potent entertainment ever offered on television. The Tudors could easily reset standards for historical dramas in years to come, and I find myself thinking... Huzzah! and long live the King!
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good Date Movie
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older
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