04 May 2017

The Tudors Season #1 Review

Season 1

Director: Michael Hirst

  • Henry VIII, King of England: Johnathan Rhys Meyers
  • Catherine of Aragon: Maria Doyle Kennedy
  • Anne Boleyn: Natalie Dorm
  • Princess Mary: Balthnaid McKeown
  • Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk: Henry Cavill
  • Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex: James Frain
  • Sir Thomas More: Jeremy Northam
  • Cardinal Thomas Wolsey: Sam Neill
  • Margaret Tudor: Gabrielle Anwar
  • Francis I of France: Emmanuel Leconte
  • Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor: Sebastian Armesto
Genre: Historical Fiction/Drama

Rating: Mature Audiences

Brief Plot Analysis: The Tudors is a modern day adaptation of the reign of King Henry the VIII. While it does focus on his six marriages, there is also a heavy analysis of the king's court, foreign relations, and political climate. Season one solely focuses on Henry's marriage to Queen Catherine of
Aragon and arranging the marriage of his daughter Mary to the dauphin of France. During the later half of the season, the audience will become introduced to Anne Boleyn as she acquires Henry's affections and he begins to seek out a divorce from the Catholic Church. In the background of this struggle, the audience is also privy to the relationship that Henry has with Cromwell, More, and Wolsey who are all fighting to establish themselves as prominent figures of the Catholic Church as well as the king's court. Other characters such as Margaret Tudor and Charles Brandon get their own story line as they attempt to navigate through the hardships of being a part of Henry's court.

Film Features: I'm a junkie for historical films and their settings so of course I absolutely loved the features of this first season. The costumes and the locations were clearly well planned and thought of and the viewer gets the perception that they are being transported back into 16th century Europe. The part I think I enjoyed most was seeing and understanding how lavishly royalty lived in comparison to their counterparts that lived in the cities or the country. I mean these people had money from their clothing down to the banquet halls that served the food. It made me even more interested to take a look at the social consequences of living such a wealthy life when individuals in your country suffered so badly.

Characters: It took a while to get into the characters. Some I truly adored and some I truly despised. Two of my most favorite characters include Charles Brandon and Catherine of Aragon. Charles Brandon isn't the most upstanding guy in the show; however, I really resonated with his personality. He was fun to watch and for that reason I feel as though he was able to keep Henry more balanced. My appreciation for Catherine of Aragon solely comes from the fact that she was a truly
compassionate woman and even after finding that her husband wanted to divorce her, tried to maintain her faith and the validity of her relationship. Honestly, Henry, towards the end of the season, treated her without much respect. I understood that in that time women were not granted much in terms of being able to speak the minds and opinions; however, Catherine really did not deserve the treatment she acquired as a result of Henry longing for another woman. In terms of least favorite characters I would have to say that I mainly had one and it was Cromwell. Everything about him rubbed me the wrong way. Granted I am writing these having knowledge of 3 additional seasons; however, from the first time he was introduced on screen he appeared to have his own agenda.

Overall Thoughts/Feelings: I really enjoyed the first season of this series. It isn't the most historically accurate show and the director/writer did take liberties with how certain things were
depicted; however, for the most part I loved everything about it and I must say I learned a few things that I didn't know even after majoring in history as an undergraduate. What I really appreciated was the fact that the show was made/designed to reach a wide audience. It isn't too historically driven to drive away those who find history boring and it wasn't too risque to drive away those that love shows that focus on facts. To me the show had a great balance. The acting was great, the set and costume designs were well planned, and I really think it had enough historically accurate information to draw viewers. I have already watched seasons 2&3 and I'm halfway through 4 so I'll be doing a review of those very soon.


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