History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

11 April 2007

I'm Henry the Eighth, I am, I am!

So I heard all the buzz about the new series The Tudors, but I read it with a little sadness. I don’t have Showtime, so there was no chance I’d see it until it hit DVD. Which is fine, really. I have a huge TV problem and I didn’t have room in my too-big lineup to accommodate it. And then. . .

Then! I saw The Tudors listed on my Tivo Guide and clicked on it with a lot of doubt. Some sort of preview? A "making of" special? But lo and behold it was the series! Whaaaa? DirecTV cruelly previewed two episodes of the show in a brutal attempt to make me sign up for Showtime! Well, it didn’t work, but I did watch the first two episodes.

This isn’t my time period and it certainly isn’t romance (*cough*wife killer*cough*), but I did enjoy it. I may have enjoyed it more than someone who DOES know about the time period. I wasn’t concerned with costuming, and I actually don’t know what’s going to happen, aside from the obvious wife issues, so I was surprised when the big, sexy, slightly-crazed duke was beheaded.

Also, I’m not very familiar with court traditions in any time period, so although I had some idea that the king was waited on by nobles (and that this was supposed to be a great honor) it was still shocking to see the great duke standing at attention, holding the king’s washbowl for him, a titled servant to his majesty.

The costumes seemed accurate, but I’ll leave that opinion to better Hoydens than I. The fabric was absolutely gorgeous; even a simple black wool cloth was woven with a different black thread to add texture and pattern. This is the kind of thing I find difficult to portray in my writing without feeling that I’m offering an aside that interferes with the flow of the story.

I thought Jonathan Rhys-Meyers made an excellent King Henry. He’s sexy spiced with a clear threat of danger. I feel very strongly that I would NOT have wanted to be a king’s mistress. Talk about playing with fire! I read a very, very interesting take on this time period in Time or Newsweek or some such. (Yes, we have a magazine problem too. Ahem.) And as I was watching the show, I saw the set up for the huge religious problems to come. Henry’s closeness with Cardinal Wolsey. His love for his advisor (a cousin?) who’s a deeply spiritual Catholic. In the magazine article, a history scholar said people these days don’t understand just how huge an upheaval it was when Henry stepped away from the Church. He said it would be as if our president fell in love with a Muslim woman, married her, and made every single person in the country convert to Islam. Imagine the chaos and rebellion and turmoil. This really drove the point home for me, and I wish I could watch the rest of the show.

All in all, I had a good time with Henry. For me, it wasn’t as delicious as Rome or Deadwood, but both those shows are over soon. (Or was that the last episode of Rome already? It seemed like the ending, but HBO didn’t have the courtesy to tell me!) The soapy aspects of it seemed appropriate, considering Henry’s life, and I liked the way they tried to modernize it. We got a nice, long time with Henry’s muscled arms when he was trying on a new doublet sans sleeves and shirt, and then decided to have a meeting mid try-on. *g*

So have any of you seen The Tudors? What did you think? Historically accurate? Just fun? Or neither?


Blogger Unknown said...

All I can say about this show is *YAWN*, and that's pretty sad considering how excited I was about it.

And the costumes pretty much. They look like they're made from some granny's sofa, the women all seem to be missing their shifts, the hats are an atrocity, and it’s best to just not get me started on the armor . . .

10:14 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That was supposed to be "the costumes pretty much suck".

10:15 AM  
Blogger Victoria Dahl said...

I got the feeling the first two episodes were sort of a set up for the rest of the series. I think it will get more interesting once Anne Boleyn (?) starts working her magic.

I think they are trying to do what Rome did. . . Span decades in the course of a couple of seasons. Rome worked magic in this way; I thought it was brilliant. But I'm not sure The Tudors series is exploring the individual players closely enough to pull it off.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

ROME rocks. It's amazing. I got hooked mid-way through season two (when we already knew it was canceled) and now I'm watching season one on DVD. Man I love this show.

THE TUDORS just left me yawning. I have zero desire to tune in beyond epsiode one (and that's a sad, sad thing).

11:59 AM  
Blogger JRMullany said...

Oh, he was MUCH better as Elvis, which I saw the night before in a strange piece of tv cross-marketing (if you loved the King, you'll love the King. You have to give them credit for trying). I'm pretty sure Henry VIII didn't have an Irish accent either.

Kalen, I agree--Rome was brilliant.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't seen it yet. but I've taped last weeks and this weeks. So you guys think it sucks. Man I hope not. That's 2 hours I'm going to have to sit through. I love that historical stuff.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Victoria Dahl said...

I wouldn't say it *sucks*, per se. I'd definitely say that my fascination with history would keep me around for a few more weeks. But I doubt there's a huge audience just for that, you know? I think it was maybe overhyped and I also believe that it's about to get sexier. But it's got nothing on Rome or Deadwood, yo.

Let us know what you think after you watch it!

11:28 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm harder to please than the average bear . . . I thought the latest movie version of Pride and Prejudice “sucked the white wonder out loud” as my mother would say, but plenty of people love love love it. *shrug*

8:00 AM  
Blogger Victoria Dahl said...

I'd say that your opinions seem to be black or white with little in between. *vbg* That's why we love you, Kalen!

8:26 AM  
Blogger Jessica Trapp said...

Argh! I missed it! I don't get that channel so I will have to wait for the DVD. Bummer.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Victoria Dahl said...

Kalen, isn't HBO doing just a little bit more of Deadwood? I seem to remember hearing that there would be two two-hour final episodes or something. If there is more, we should do a dedicated post to those last episodes!

God, I love that show.

Okay, I just checked the web. Yeah, it's supposed to come back for two two-hour shows. And get this: All of which was real purdy, of course, but also real expensive. An episode of "Deadwood" costs about $4.5 million, Mr. Albrecht said, with a very large ensemble cast and expenses such as horses, wagons and livestock coordinators.

Oh my gosh! 4.5 million?!?

4:41 PM  
Blogger lacey kaye said...

Er...we just cancelled our extra channels! doh!

7:26 PM  
Blogger SaucySam said...

I am also a huge rome fan and just watched the first 3 episodes of the Tudors. I actualy rather liked it. I thought they captured the political climate of the time very well. I am interested to see how they do the whole Anne Bolyn thing. It is also interesting to see a young hot Henry before the behedding, obesity, and the syphilus... But that's just me. It is deffinatley not rome but, I still kinda dig it. Hey was anyone else disappoined in the ending of rome?

1:24 PM  

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