I have somehow become a devotee of The Tudors (via instant queue on Netflix), although at this point I think I just have to know how absurd it's going to get, and how many seasons it's going to go for. I don't watch television (I can't, my tv doesn't "get" tv), so when I do, it has to involve at least some of the following: amazing wardrobe, rich content of historical value, or Don Draper. The Tudors has two of these things. And lots of ermine.
Kind of different from their IRL portraits.
Not that you can learn any more of historical value from the Tudors than you can from Disney's Pocahontas, but at least it looks rad. It is a highly stylized survey of all of the excesses of Henry VIII, which seem way more excessive when portrayed by weird transvestite Jonathan Rhys Meyers. And probably for the purposes of non-horrifying sex scenes, and because no one wants to see JRM in a fat suit (his lips + obesity = remind you of anyone?), the show tries to imply that all of Henry's greatest shenanigans occurred over a period of a few years while he was young and marketable, not grotesque and wheezy.
Oh, and Showtime has plucked two of these names from the annals and MADE THEM GAY. I love that. I guess they can do that while they're remodeling the rest of the story. Thomas Tallis and one of the Henry's early BFFs, I can't remember his name. Totally homosexualized for this series, and completely without warrant or record of actual gayness or bisexuality on the part of these men. Yes, I checked.
Not sure how I feel about Anne Boleyn being portrayed as some sort of shrewd fox who falls into her own trap, though. Maybe she was. I haven't reprised my feelings on her since I read HOW DID THEY DIE as a child and was horrified that 1. he totally killed his wife for like no reason dudes!!! and 2. her incredibly self-contained and honorable demeanor at the scaffold. Again, only according to HDTD and currently unsubstantiated elsewhere as I have not looked, Anne not only did not cry and flail before her death but even reacted with composure when the executioner, no doubt rattled at having to murder the young queen, missed his target and instead cut off the uppermost part of her skullcap. Anne allegedly raises her head to face him at this point and says, "Please try again." Very heavy. Ever since reading this, I have imagined her as such, the unfortunate, stoic mother of Elizabeth.
Speaking of which, remember that spate of also highly stylized and sexualized Elizabethan b-list dramas from the '90s? God, what an awesome time that was to be a teenaged loser nerd. Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth came out within a year of each other, if even that long. I think I still own them both on vhs, as well as the novelization of Elizabeth. I forgot that I cared at all about this time, preferring to dwell closer to the Revolutionary period. And wasn't Cate Blanchett obviously born to play Elizabeth I?
However, Jezebel isn't fucking around either.