Sunday, April 11, 2010

THE TUDORS Returns For a Fourth and Final Season


They're baa-aack!

The Tudors, my favorite "historical entertainment, returns tonight on SHOWTIME. Subtitled "the Final Seduction" we find Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers, now middle aged and wed four times, enthralled with the beautiful teenager Katherine Howard (Tamzin Merchant). Though Henry has a daughter, Princess Mary (Sarah Bolger) who actually older than Katherine, he decides to marry her anyway. Henry overlooks his new queen's checkered past; and in doing so sets the stage for a virtual disaster for all those concerned.

One of the main criticisms of the show is its bending of certain historical facts for dramatic purposes....and its a legitimate argument. Michael Hirst, the creator and principle writer of the series has acknowledged taking degrees of dramatic license in his presentation. Hirst said he was being commissioned to put together an entertainment, and that's what he did.

The Tudors is not unlike films such as Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas or Casino, where real historical events are presented with fictional characters based on actual people, and some fictionalized events are interspersed as well. For instance, we know that Henry's sister didn't actually marry (and murder) the King of Portugal, but a sister did really marry Charles Brandon (Henry Cavill)....though they really did have a child before Mary's (Margaret in the series) death, she died childless on THE TUDORS.

It is an odd that The Tudors, which will bend the story to make it better, and The Pacific, which strives for detailed accuracy, are broadcast opposite each other in the United States, on SHOWTME and HBO, respectively. Both series are reasons for watching TV (in my eyes anyway), and they'll hold my interest into summer, where I await the return of my favorite, Madmen.

But most importantly, they serve as a diversion from the world of politics...on this blog, anyway. And the way things are going, I consider any scripted series worth watching in the age of unreality reality TV to be a lifesaver.

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