Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tudors Part Deux

So I made it all the way through Season 2 of The Tudors on DVD, and then completely flaked and forgot to write about it.


With the premiere of Season 3 lurking just around the corner on April 5th, I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to bring you all up to speed.

Ok, so basically everyone knows the plot, right? Anne Boleyn seduces the King away from his wife, Catherine of Aragon, but since Henry and Catherine are married and the Pope won't grant an annulment, Henry breaks with the Catholic Church, creates Anglicanism, declares himself the head of the Church of England, and marries Anne. Unfortunately for her, she has only one daughter and then keeps miscarrying and pissing Henry off in various ways, so he declares her a witch and chop chop, there goes her head. Henry then marries wife #3, Jane Seymour.

Along the way there's sex (though not as much as season 1, boo), political intrigue between Henry, the cardinals, his council, and English Catholics, and papal assassination attempts!

I basically found Season 1 unwatchable; I think my friend Chris and I only made it through 3 episodes or so before giving up, but I was much more impressed with Season 2. For one, things moved along at a good clip. Catherine, who did nothing but sit around and look sad about her lot in life, got the boot fairly quickly, Henry purged his Court of those that pissed him off around episode 3, and he and Anne began to fall apart about halfway through the 13 episode season. And did I mention the Pope was played by Peter O'Toole, one of my most favorite people?

I thought Jonathan Rhys Meyers was terrible as Henry in Season 1, but he seemed to have stepped up his game in Season 2. At least watching him act wasn't physically painful for me this go around. The real surprise was Natalie Dormor as Anne. On one hand, she plots along with her family to bust up Henry's family and become Queen, so, bitch, but then when she is married she seems to actually love Henry and yet has to put up with his constant infidelity, play the part of the dutiful Queen while also trying to make sure she bears a son, so, sympathetic. She also genuinely believes in the Church of England which is kind of a refreshing spin on the whole "Anne uses religion to get what she wants" angle. Natalie Dormor had a delicate line to walk in portraying her, and I thought she was great.

All in all, Season 2 is worth watching, and definitely doesn't require viewing of Season 1. The production values on this show are staggering (the costumes alone, wowza), and overall, the acting is high quality. If it was any more than a 13 episode season it would drag, but the show does a good job at keeping things moving. And despite knowing how it ends (chop chop), there was a great deal of tension leading up to the finale.

Hopefully Season 3 can keep it up, although since I don't have Showtime I'll have to wait a while to find out.

For a preview of Season 3, check out Showtime's The Tudors website here.

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