Friday, September 24, 2010

The Tudors: Historically Dramatic

Occasionally hysterically dramatic as well, but overall I'm enjoying the show.

I'm quite glad they didn't go with a true historical representation of the life of Henry VIII. See, thing is, he was married to Catherine of Aragon for close to twenty-five years, taking issue only towards the end there. It was only when he got older (heh, early 40's being 'older' at the time) that he started obsessing about having a male heir. Yet, that's really all anyone seems to remember.

Well, it's not the calm, happy times people want to hear about is it? That Chinese curse about interesting times is true on so many levels. Conflict. Must have it in all good storytelling.

So, the show really plays fast-and-loose with events, and it's come under some fire for that. For my part, who cares? Keep it interesting. One shouldn't be silly enough to turn on Showtime and expect a documentary. Criticism of the nudity and sex should be similarly dismissed. Showtime, right? It's not Skinimax, but pretty close.

Now, my complaint (if we even term it such) is the rather obvious nature of the intrigue. Buckingham plots openly in front of servants and staff against the king. And for some reason this never makes it back to the king's ears? Sure, the guy got whacked eventually, but it took a direct betrayal by a co-conspirator.

The obvious plot against Woolsey is another. The archbishop's detractors are well known at court. Yet Henry seems surprised at their revelations to him about Woolsey's failings. Perhaps this is an attempt by the writers to make Henry seem a very young king, but he's been in power nearly ten years by that point.

That aside, I'm still quite enjoying the show. And in doing a little research the vast differing opinions between the critics and the fans is perfectly predictable. I sometimes wonder if critics ever actually were fans themselves. Hell, I'm a trained writer. It's true that I have a hard time simply reading a book for pure enjoyment without analyzing technique, form, etc. Yet I can still find myself swept along with the story. Critics, with their entire job to be critical, must suffer from the phenomenon even more so. Can't help but feel sorry for them.

And that's my cat-waxing for the day.


  1. Eric, I've been enjoying The Tudors as well despite the historical discrepancies (I'm just starting Season 3). Usually the historical errors would bother me to the point of irritation and distraction, but somehow this show and also Rome (which I absolutely loved) has caused me to not quite forgive, but gloss over the historical errors and just enjoy the story. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the show has a great cast. The intrigue, while quite obvious at times, is entertaining and I enjoy seeing not just the nobility, but also the clergy and servant classes. I think the show does an excellent job showing the religious tensions in all the classes, enflamed of course by Henry's decision to pursue and ultimately achieve a divorce from Catherine (the king is suppose to represent the body of society). It still cracks me up that this was filmed in Ireland (as we all know how much "love" there was and still remains between Ireland and England).

    Regarding the critic commentary... it is difficult to take off those critical lens and simply enjoy a story, especially when you do it for a living. There is certainly pleasure in critically analyzing stories (I wouldn't be in an English Master's program if I didn't enjoy tearing into a story and understanding its structure, function, themes, and then testing it against different lit. theories -- and there is a certain satisfaction one gains from the bloodshed spread by red ink, but this could be just me and my blood-thirsty nature *grin*). However, it can also ruin the simple pleasure of enjoying the story. I have to be in a completely different mindset to read something for fun, but even then, the little critical voice always pips up, for better or for worse. :)

    Anyway, enjoy The Tudors and thanks for the post! (Speaking of which, I should probably update my blog and post something one of these days...) Hope writing is going well for you, post-Taos. Take care and happy writing my friend.


  2. Heya, Hallie!

    They do a pretty good job of investing the viewer in the story, so I agree that the historical inaccuracies are easily dismissed. In fact, there probably aren't many people who would catch the inaccuracies, so I'd call glossing them in favor of driving narrative time well-spent.

    You know, I also saw criticisms of the actors being 'too attractive for the era'. That's another one of those double-take double-boggle statements. King Henry VIII, at the time of these events, was pushing 300. By the end of his life he's been estimated to be over 375. Given the number of sex scenes, I'm pretty sure no one wants to see that.

    The writing goes well. The book should be finished this coming week. :)

    Thanks for stopping by!