Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: Moving for the English, hilarious for Americans.
Quick synopsis: The story of Elizabeth II coming to power.
Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: It’s Downton Abbey, only real.
Fun Fact for History Nerds: Elizabeth II is kind of a dim bulb. See below.
My Take: This is a very classy show that does not skimp on great acting, sets, or even having some fun at royalty’s expense.
The show starts with showing how Elizabeth II came to power after the death of her father. This show is expensive, and it looks it. All the actors are great, especially Matt Smith who plays a whiny man-child without being completely irredeemable.
I was more surprised by the way in which the show does not shy away from revealing some serious flaws in each of its characters. I won’t spoil too much, but the show will draw you in with some of the most mundane topics. And a quick google search shows a lot of these things are true or at least well reported rumors.
There are two things I find absolutely hilarious that I need to mention. First, I am a Catholic. As a Catholic, it is INSANELY FUNNY that English royalty was extremely concerned about people getting divorced. They considered it a scandal. This is what we call historical irony, people. Anglicanism was created for Henry VIII to get divorced! And don’t come at me with any of the other reasons. The egomaniac just wanted to shag Anne Boleyn. Full stop.
Second, as an American, this show is a weird dichotomy. You will be watching a very well written monologue delivered by a superb actor. Many of these speeches try to purvey the importance of kingship/queenship. And I LAUGH. I actually said to my TV, “This is why we kicked your asses out 250 years ago!”
I’m an ugly American. I’m okay with it. U-S-A! U-S-A!
Verdict: This is a really good show. If you have any interest in these people or the time period then you will be very happy.
If You Liked This Try: *Note: Not all are historically accurate, but they are lots of fun. Some are ridiculously inaccurate (but enjoyable) trash.
- Hatfields and McCoys
- The Tudors