Filed under: The Show
The Tudors, a 10-part series from Showtime, gives a startling makeover to this English monarch. Say goodbye to the portly glutton of old movies. Here’s Henry, sexy young thing (Jonathan Rhys Meyers).
This complicated soap opera delivers striking pleasures: compelling women, stunning costumes, juicy storytelling. This clan is nearly as randy, as violent and as coarse as the Sopranos.
But there are two major impediments: first, the script. Series creator Michael Hirst makes no apologies for taking liberties. In production notes, he recounts telling Showtime executives that 85 percent of the script was based on historical material. Then Hirst adds that he invented the figure.
Second, there’s the star. Henry VIII needs to be robust and commanding. Rhys Meyers is petulant, passionate, pouty. His Henry is ready to pose for Vanity Fair. Without the right Henry, The Tudors often seems like an expensive game of dress-up.
The series runs from 1520 to 1530 and charts Henry’s crumbling marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon (Maria Doyle Kennedy), who gave him a daughter but no son as heir. The king grows increasingly enamored of Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer), later the mother of Queen Elizabeth I.
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