Colin Teague (4 episodes, 2013)
James Kent (3 episodes, 2013)
Jamie Payne (3 episodes, 2013)
Malcolm Campbell (2 episodes, 2013)
Emma Frost (8 episodes, 2013)
Philippa Gregory (10 episodes, 2013)
Lisa McGee (1 episode, 2013)
Nicole Taylor (1 episode, 2013)
Based on the novels written by Philipa Gregory
On Air: June 16th – August 18th, 2013 (mini-series, 10 episodes)
Network: Starz! together with BBC
The Hook: Historical Fiction and that tag line! “Men go to battle, Women wage war” << AWESOME!
Since we all know I’m an aspiring historian, it should be surprised that this show landed in my queue. I was trying to make the most of my semester break and this popped up on my “recently added,” or may be my “because you watch,” list and so I decided to give it a go. And I loved it!
Plot: The overall story arch follows three women of the era: Margaret Beaufort (mother to the future King Henry VI), Anne Neville (daughter of Lord Warwick, advisor to King Edward), and Elizabeth Woodville (wife of King Edward IV and grandmother to King Henry VIII) with the central focus on Elizabeth. The story takes place during the War of Roses, where the House of Lancaster and the House of York fought for the control of England. These women made certain decisions, some good and some bad, that cemented history as we know it and this mini series provides some insight to that.
Since the plot is based on actual events, originality points are above and beyond. The screen play for each episode was awesome, though. You know there are points were history was embellished a bit and of course they may not get it 100% correct, but they mirror similar reactions we’d have today so I say it was well done. Not to mention that attitudes and behaviors were different back then, especially when it came to wives and women and such. And while history suggest Elizabeth’s heritage as a descendent of a river goddess is not taken so literally in today’s modern world, I’m glad to see this element added in the series. They married pagan beliefs with Christian beliefs very well and I’d imagine that that’s how people of the time would have done it.
Cast of Characters:
As mentioned above, the overall plot goes back and forth between three women:
Margaret Beaufort – portrayed by Amanda Hale
Anne Neville – portrayed by Faye Marsay
Elizabeth Woodville – portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson
These women played their parts so well. They portrayed strength, determination, and yes, fear. They embodied royalty if you ask me.
I also loved Max Irons as King Edward IV. He did such a good job. I haven’t seen him before this show, but I hope he goes places. He did so well. And the chemistry between Irons and Ferguson was awesome. They made the perfect power couple. Of course they had challenges of their time, but wow. I loved watching them.
And of course I have to mention the bad guy, right? James Frain was awesome. He made you loathe Lord Warwick. I mean, seriously. And I’ve seen Frain around before, but I liked seeing him in this character. He’ll be memorable, and forever known as Warwick, after this one. At least to me.
So many other characters made their way in and around this series, in a good way, and to mention them all would be a super, really long post, but I can say they all do a fantastic job. They really did.
Overall: This show didn’t disappoint. And it served its purpose. If the story wanted to highlight the troubled times through the War of Roses, they hit their mark. I can’t tell you how many times I searched “war of roses,” “Elizabeth Woodville,” and “House of Lancaster” while binge watching. I wanted some background information so I could keep up and of course … spoilers!
If you’re one to critique historical accuracy, I can’t vouch for all the details, but they seemed to stick close to what happen in history. I’m an aspiring historian, not an expert, so don’t bite my head off if this is a misdiagnosis. And if it is, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it so post in the comments.
If you love watching period pieces, you definitely need to give this one a shot.
And while I really would love to see this cast continue their storytelling, you really can’t do much when you’re working with a historical plot line and staying true to it. They wouldn’t be able to justify a second season so I didn’t expect them to return. They did a really good job with what they did and I’m glad they did it at all. BBC never seems to disappoint though so I’m looking forward to what they’re going to do next.
Credits: Show info – IMDb.com, Photo – speakgeekytome.com