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John Kent Harrison
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Protestant vs. Catholic = West vs. fundamentalist terrorism?!
It was expected that this series would take an anti-Catholic tone, after all, it appears most of England had grown rabidly anti-Catholic (not without reason) at this time.
But in scenes where the Catholic plotters were planning to blow up the Parliament, it was a bit disturbing to have the script make the characters use terms such as "martyrs to the cause" and decide that, if innocent Catholic bystanders were to be killed by their plot, that was "alright", since they would be dying for the Church or something like that.
Personally, I don't think Fawkes and company thought in those lines, since they needed all the Catholics they could get, since they were in a minority in Britain. Were the producers making the Catholic plotters appear like something out of today's Al-Qaeda, to make the film more "familiar" to today's audiences?
The Protestants don't appear too angelic either. The ending sequence where King James I appeared totally mad or ruthless before Parliament, talking about unspeakable punishments for the plotters who only wanted "tolerance" - well, that sort of appeared like the producers were trying to get people to equate the King's behavior to Washington's response to 9/11 and come out thinking that the USA's reaction was quite over the top too. A political statement if there was one.
And where did they get it that James I may have been homosexual and had a hard time to have a "normal" relationship with his wife? The historical James I had 9 children by Queen Anne.
The point is, costume dramas have all the potential to be great dramas, without having to "adapt" the script to make the historical characters act and speak in a way that would make them look contemporary.
At any rate, it was interesting TV fare. *** out of *****
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