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Are there any fans (or even regular viewers) here of The Tudors? A British-scripted drama produced for Showtime and CBS that is loosely based on the life of Henry VIII.
I am absolutely loving it because I have been fascinated with this period of English history ever since learning about it in high school. Which other English King could be so bold as to have six wives?
Although it idoesn't make any claims to historical accuracy, it presents a very vivid and likely portrayal of all of the events involved. Season 1 mainly revolved around Henry's desire to nullify his first marriage to Katherine of Aragon in order to marry the "seductive witch" Anne Boleyn. Sam Neill played an excellent Cardinal Wolsey, the chief machinier of the wily behind-the-scenes moves while always keeping his personal ambitions in front.
We (in the UK) are now at the end of Season 2 where, after several miscarriages, Henry is tiring of Anne Boleyn and her ill-fated attempts to bear him an heir while Jane Seymour is entering the picture as a potential new wife. Anne is soon to be famously beheaded. Sir Thomas More has been victimised and executed for sticking to his principles in the midst of a fanatical zeitgeist whipped up by the King's marriage to Boleyn and also resisting the rise of Lutheranism, which was becoming inevitable as Henry had undertake steps to legally eradicate Vatican and Catholic influence over his politics and ensure the sovereignty of the King as the sole head of state. Peter O'Toole has played a fantastically cynical Pope Paul III. It has been great to see how these personal and private dramas have been played out against the backdrop of religious turmoil and political upheaval.
This is such a great and fascinating period of history. This drama is excellent because, as mentioned before, it is not strictly historically accurate but it strives very hard to reflect all the dramas, betrayals, tragedies, romances and deadly intrigues that go along with a story as controversial and convoluted as Henry VIII's. It's probably a good thing that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is handsome enough for the role in order to make it believable as the real Henry was decidedly an ugly fellow. It was because of him that England is a Protestant country today.
Of course the other thing about this drama is that it offers a great insight into how people actually lived in those days, the class differences between the haves and the have-nots, the respective prejudices and privileges high birth bestowed upon you, the snobbery and the snootiness, I love it. I like reading about olden days and the experience of life in those times.
I personally preferred Season 1 because the affrontery of Henry trying to nullify his marriage in favour of a "common whore" was really addictive to watch. The machinations it involved, I cannot describe it because it just has to be watched.
Roll on Season 3!