Henry VIII was fat, and a tudor is a style of house, right?
Henry VIII was in the House of Tudor and a tudor is a house and...you get it. Ever the fan of the “period piece,” I eagerly jumped into “The Tudors.”
My interest started with reading historical fiction books in elementary school with titles like “Diary of Anne Boleyn,” and I fell in love with the genre.
Historical fiction is inherently more plot-driven than character-driven. Basically, each film/TV series has the same recipe: 1 cup of history, 2 cups of sex scandal and a pinch of smudging the truth whenever you can get away with it.
Next, they sprinkle in famous leads. For some reason, certain actors love these things. See: Reese Witherspoon in “Vanity Fair,” Keira Knightley in “Pride and Prejudice,” Colin Firth in the other “Pride and Prejudice,” Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth in “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
Okay, I think you’re seeing the pattern.
“The Tudors” stars that soccer coach from “Bend it Like Beckham” (low-key, he’s in “Vanity Fair,” too) as Henry VIII. It details his hella-long reign as king of England and all the craziness that comes with it.
Now, I’m not going to bash having a sexy lead, because we all know my boy Henry got down, but I promise you’ll spend the whole series thinking about what this was like in real life when you look up what the king actually looked like.
If you think TV today is dirty, just wait until you see how scandalous people lived in 1500s England.
Henry’s closest advisor is Cardinal Wolsey, who I originally wrote down as having the “resemblance of Mr. Feeny from ‘Boy Meets World,’” but I laughed at later. With a kind face and a sly tongue, Wolsey is a power-hungry and manipulative member of the church who pretty much solely controls the king.
Henry’s only wife at the time (he has six altogether in his lifetime), Catherine is played by Maria Doyle Kennedy, who you’ll recognize from her brief roles in “Downton Abbey” and “Dexter.”
She’s from Spain, and Henry isn’t really interested in her because she can’t give birth to a son.
The rest of the cast? Well, it’s a historical drama, so there are lots of them and they’re hard to keep track of. Many characters are dry and/or haven’t fulfilled their purposes yet, and mill around in the background.
It’s probably good you don’t be too invested in history if you expect to like “The Tudors.”
Spoiler alert! For instance, according to the series, Henry’s somewhat illegitimate son with his wife’s former maidservant, Lady Blount, dies at only a few years old. In actuality, his son died at age 17 and was married beforehand.
There’s a whole Wiki page devoted to this, guys. It’s awesome.
The writing is only mediocre. No one says anything remarkable, and there’s a lot of telling with not much showing. I know that as viewers we need some historical background, but it’s drawn out and I get bored.
The show’s creator wrote every episode and you can tell it’s his passion, but I’m not completely buying into it.
I’ve been 100 percent obsessed with dramas from the same era with similar plots and even less scandal. It’s the writing the makes them work.
Above I said this genre is inherently plot-driven; “The Tudors” needs to step away from that if it wants to succeed.
Yeah, I know it’s off-the-air, but I’m in season one so I’m advising future seasons anyway.
I need to know Henry’s thoughts, not just what his dick thinks. I need to feel his wife’s heartbreak, but also understand the internal, chaotic reality behind his irrational decisions.
Pride is Henry’s biggest enemy, more so than any country he’ll fight in battle, and more so than anyone trying to steal his crown at home. Pride is a feeling, not an action. So make me feel his pride.
Granted, I cried during an execution in episode two, so maybe there’s a good trend starting up.
“The Tudors” has the potential to be pretty effing awesome. Everyone plays off Henry VIII’s extravagance though; someone needs to take a step back and delve into his heart.
It’s got a good foundation, Netflix. We’ll see if the writing can pull through and make this truly work.