DVD Review: The Tudors – The Complete First Season
By June L. Jan 3, 2008, 12:50 GMT
"The Tudors" four-disc set presents the rarely dramatized, tumultuous early years of King Henry VIII\'s nearly 40 year, omnipotent reign (1509-1547). In addition to his famous female consorts and 20+ year marriage to Catherine of Aragon to the infamous dalliance with Anne Boleyn, the series delves in to Henry\'s most notable political relationship and the deconstruction of the Roman Catholic Church in England. ...more
Henry the VIII never looked so good….or, well, maybe he did! Actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers (who plays Henry in this production) says that the majority of people tend to think of Henry as a bloated bearded lecherous old guy with a turkey leg in one hand, the epitome of hedonistic living.
Meyers is quick to point out that actually the young Henry was handsome, athletic, musical, virile, courageous and intelligent.
The Showtime production of The Tudors is good, and with it now available on DVD, we can enjoy more fully the nuances and details found in both performances and design.
For history buffs, be warned that there are quite a few jolts to the veracity of the storytelling, such as the decision to combine Henry’s two sisters into one, (played by Gabrielle Anwar) calling her Margaret (name of the elder sister) and giving her much of Mary (the younger sister) as storyline.
And there are dramatizations of events and characters simply for atmosphere or sense of the time period, and most any website will give you a list of anachronisms. These are mostly forgivable transgressions when one looks at the production as a whole. Cast and crew have worked to create the look and feel of young Henry’s court for modern audiences.
While some elements are fabrication, the essence is believable, and the time period is brought to life with drama and intensity, making it very, very interesting to watch. One would hope that it might also inspire viewers to do a little more research on the court of Henry VIII and discover things for themselves.
The story begins with young Henry VIII a few years married to Queen Katharine of Aragon (Maria Doyle Kennedy), which has enabled a fairly strong diplomatic relationship with Spain. The brutal slaying of the King’s uncle by the French, makes it necessary for Henry to consider going to war.
All the men around the King are young and fierce, with the exceptions of Cardinal Wolsey (Sam Neill) and Sir Thomas More (Jeremy Northam), and it isn’t difficult to get a consensus among them to fight back.
The King declares war on France and then excuses himself from the council to return to his “play,” which is bed-play with the wife of one of his courtiers. In this production, Henry has the life of a rock star.
The Tudors – The Complete First Season is presented in 4 disc boxed set, widescreen format with a running time of 556 minutes. Special Features included are featurettes on costuming and production, favorite sites for filming in modern day London for The Tudors. Also episodes of other Showtime series are available via N-Technology.
This is one of those series that people seem to either love or hate. It is a lot of fun, most interesting to watch, inspiring to the viewer to read more about the actual characters whether from political or private life point of view, and definitely NOT for children.