Friday, July 29, 2011

The Tudors

I suspected this would be the case but wasn’t sure it would happen. Finishing The Tudors has swept me up emotionally to great sadness mixed with a myriad of other emotions. Pride? Nostalgia? Sympathy? Joy? So unusual to feel these when I think about this show. Pride at monarchs that had nothing to do with me. Nostalgia for lives I have not lived, just witnessed fictional accounts. Sympathy for the hardship they all went through. Joy... that one is harder to explain. This story has culminated in positive feelings but they are so hard to identify or interpret. There is simply a feeling of grandness.

It does stem from having spent 4 seasons with this story and characters. I was reluctant to watch oftentimes, most of the characters are hardly likable, always so busy scheming to further their own ambitions and status. Although at times their machinations were simply a defensive act. I also have realized while watching Game of Thrones recently and comparing it to The Tudors, both shows seem to think lack of likable characters can be made up for by sexy scenes with beautiful people. And it doesn’t, it really doesn’t. Up until now I would’ve said Rome was one of the best shows I’ve watched. Primarily in terms of greatness of story, a story well-organized and well-presented. I felt that way because if I can feel sorrow at the end for one of the characters that was a conniving, manipulative bitch much of the time, then they have done a good job. And that same measure applies here. At the end I feel such sorrow for King Henry, who much of his life was angry and capricious. Executing and ruining whoever displeased him. Even to his own regret at times. A character who was often not loving nor sympathetic. Yet I still felt for him.

But inevitably you look back at what they all went through in their lifetimes and it is tremendous. And well shown by flashbacks during the last episode. But even before that I couldn’t help but remember Henry and Charles as young men in the beginning of Henry’s reign in the first season. And how much they changed. I think that is what strikes me at the end of some of these shows, how much the characters have grown and changed. Dollhouse I especially noticed that. And with The Tudors it was definitely the case as we covered their whole adult lives. How do you not change over that long a period, or in the case of Dollhouse, over such major events?!

Overall a very fantastic show and a good jumping point to learn more of the history of that period. Almost after every episode I found myself going online to read more about the people and events portrayed. The biggest negative of this series is perhaps its historical inaccuracy. But from whatever I’ve read of actual events, I personally find they were acceptable digressions from reality to make the story more interesting or easier to follow considering how long a time period they had to cover. As the creator Michael Hirst put it in one article, and I wholeheartedly agree, “Mr. Hirst decided that any confusion created by the changes is outweighed by the interest the series may inspire in the period and its figures.” Which is what I believe historical dramas should be: interest-inspiring first, accurate second. Because after watching them you still have learnt the essence of what happened but fleshed out with feelings and people.