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The Tudors - The Complete First Season (2007)

Television movie directed by Alison Maclean, Brian Kirk, Charles McDougall, Ciaran Donnelly, and Steve Shill

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Mastering the World through Velvet, Leather and Tights...

  • Jan 10, 2008
Pros: lush, seductive and enthralling

Cons: more style than substance, historical inaccuracies

The Bottom Line: The Tudors could easily reset standards for historical dramas in years to come, and I find myself thinking... Huzzah! and long live the King!

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

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.

final thoughts:

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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October 07, 2010
I bailed after a season and a half of streaming on NetFlix. It just seemed like a lot of historically inaccurate sex. Wait, I don't mean the sex was historically inaccurate. It just bored me and I wanted to like it. I much prefer the BBC's "Six Wives of Henry the VIII.
October 07, 2010
I'm sure the BBC's was more accurate, although they did clean that aspect up a Lot after all the heat they took over it during the first season. Tudors is sort of like the Knight's Tale, entertaining but not terribly realistic. The costuming alone in Tudors is more than enough reason for me to adore it though... and of course, there IS Meyers. If they ever put him and Brendan Fraser together in a film entirely about brushing their teeth... they'll make millions!
October 07, 2010
LMFAO. I'll give you the costuming (and that other thing), but it was so slow. The king of France was pretty hot too...
More The Tudors - The Complete Firs... reviews
review by . May 12, 2009
I had no intention of watching this series until one day I was channel surfing and saw an  attractive woman traipsing around.  So...I decided to tune in to see if she could act as well, and I was hooked into the series by all its creative facets - acting, writing, cinematograpy, art direction, etc.  I found out the show was The Tudors and that I was watching the first episode of the 3rd season.  I had to find out how it all started!I just finished watching the first series...Everything about the …
review by . December 25, 2008
I love all things Tudor. This is an excellent series. Lushly produced, fabulously designed costumes. Quite possible that some inaccuracies exist -f rom other historical books i have read, but this quite well done. Thoroughly enjoyable. I can;t wait for the next season! Highly recommended !
review by . September 26, 2008
I would never expect Showtime to produce first rate historical drama. That is not what they do. Showtime is in the business of slick entertainment, and that's exactly what they've given us in The Tudors. With the exception of PBS and, at times, The History Channel, it is fatuous to count on the entertainment industry to teach us history.     Viewed as mere entertainment, The Tudors is a success. It's got visual impact, conspiracy, treachery, sex, arrogance, and power plays. And …
review by . January 12, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
"The Tudors"    Gorgeous to Watch    Amos Lassen    If you love beauty then you will love Showtime's "The Tudors" the mini-series based on the life of Henry VIII. Henry had a tabloid life and we seem to love tabloids. However, this a tabloid with gorgeous costumes, sumptuous sets and beautiful actors. I must admit that I am a tad skeptical about the programming of historical drama on prime time television. Showtime has done a beautiful …
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Quinn Blackburn ()
Ranked #125
Hello, my name is Quinn. :o) I also answer to Mom, YaYa, and occasionally Entwife. I enjoy Beauty wherever I find it... Nature, Music, Art in all its forms... I believe these to be true and sacred things … more
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About this movie


The Tudors: The Complete First Seasonmay cover the same subject matter as the 1970 BBC seriesThe Six Wives of Henry VIII, but in every other respect it is a different idea of historical drama. Sexy and violent,The Tudorsenvisions Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) as a young man of both passion and ambition, driven by boundless sexual energy and the desire to establish a legacy early in his monarchy. When he isn't sleeping with any available beauty--heedless of whose daughter or wife a lover might be--he's getting fired up about going to war with France. He is amenable, however, to alternative ideas, including the counsel of his Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey (Sam Neill), who wants his king to sign a treaty of universal peace with all of Europe. Henry's fiery temperament endangers such a move, but Wolsey persists in hopes of gaining France's support for his own, possible ascendance to the papacy. His ambitions are not to be, however, and his fortunes go downhill as Henry's desire to wed Ann Boleyn (Natalie Dormer) puts Wolsey in the position of petitioning Rome for a hearing on the legitimacy of Henry's marriage to Queen Katherine.

Henry's shrewd alliance with the king of Spain is also testament to his desire to have more influence over European affairs. But his even greater desire for another woman proves an obstacle there, too. Over the course of the ten episodes on The Complete First Season, Henry's confidence grows as a monarch while his ...

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Screen Writer: Michael Hirst
DVD Release Date: January 1, 2008
Runtime: 556 minutes
Studio: Showtime Ent.
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