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"The Tudors"
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"The Tudors" More at IMDbPro »

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204 out of 285 people found the following review useful:

Exciting, but founders on miscast Henry & historical inaccuracy

Author: reesieg from Florida
25 April 2007

I'm glad to see Showtime taking on the Tudor era, even if they are doing it because Henry's life is a tabloid-seller's dream come true, and our culture is tabloid-obsessed.

I love the casting of Jeremy Northam (Sir Thomas More) and Sam Neill (Cardinal Wolsey).

I read an earlier comment after I had already expressed the following thought elsewhere, and I completely agree -- Steven Waddington (Buckingham) would have been a better Henry VIII - he's bigger (he properly fills the screen, which in various shots J R-M painfully cannot, either in height or breadth); red-haired (as Henry was); and a POWERFUL, mesmerizing actor who's a better age for the part. (J R-M's eyes are riveting, but that's not enough for the part b/c at this stage of Henry's life, his fame was largely due to his physical dominance, learning & musical skill.) Showtime seems to be trying to appeal to a VERY young, VH-1 audience with the J R-M casting. Or, as they suggest, to people who don't know the story.

That's my second issue - don't suggest in the ads that you're going to tell the REAL story when you're not. Some dramatic license is expected (like flipping France for Portgual b/c they introduced Francis I early on) but there is no GOOD excuse for making a composite of Henry's sisters by telling Princess Mary Rose Tudor's story, but calling the character Princess Margaret, which was her older sister's name.

The real Margaret had a dramatic story, too -- and she's got the line to the current royal family through her great-granddaughter, Mary, Queen of Scots -- but they lost the chance to tell that by combining the sisters. Presumably they did it b/c they thought the audience was so dumb that we couldn't handle Henry's daughter and sister both being named Mary. Too bad.

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161 out of 226 people found the following review useful:

too much fact-tampering

Author: tremont600 from United States
27 April 2007

Well, it's gorgeous, well-acted but far too much tampering with the facts of history. Henry had TWO sisters, not one, and it was his sister, Mary, who was married off to a king in his dotage - and it was to the king of France, not Portugal. Margaret was married to the Scottish King, from whence comes the Stuart claim to the English throne. Don't watch this for your history exam! Just enjoy the costumes, set, fiery acting and music. The portrait of Henry, though, is wonderful. Lest we forget; he was quite handsome and charismatic in his younger days. As he continued getting his way both in politics and the bedroom, he grew more and more self-absorbed and ruthless. One good historical item is pointing out that, whatever was going on in separating from the Roman church, most of the English reformers had little use for Luther and wished to distance themselves from the continental reformation. Odd that today the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran church work hand-in-hand in aid efforts and acknowledge more readily our common bonds. Just FYI, the word "protestant" actually means one who protests the abuse of the Sacrements, which was rampant in those days.

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107 out of 146 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful show even if it is not completely historically accurate

Author: Amber from United States
25 April 2007

The Tudors is a fantastic show which showcases the life and times of King Henry the VIII. As the opening of the show tells the viewer, "You think you know a story but you only know how it ends. To get to the heart of a story you have to go back to the beginning." I'm sure a lot of people watching the show are watching it for entertainment and not because of its historical accuracy. I personally love Tudor England and know a lot about it. The show takes many liberties, but that's why it's entertainment and not a biographic film on the King. It's fascinating to see what is kept of what many believe to be true and what is changed. Things such as basing Henry's sister Margaret after both his sister Mary and his older sister Margaret is very interesting turn. The first four episodes have been phenomenal works of cinematic art which I hope will continue on for seasons to come.

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89 out of 116 people found the following review useful:

Truth or Dare; In Bed with the Tudors

Author: roula k from Greece
6 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

By now, most of the Tudors' historical inaccuracies have been well pointed out; indeed, it's safe to say that the only thing that wasn't changed was the names. Granted, the series isn't good history. But is it good television? Unfortunately, although the Tudors are doubtlessly a visual triumph, they are also a fiasco in terms of pace, dramatic development and characterization – that is, the things that matter.

Tackling Henry VIII's life is no walk in the park; the events of his day can be daunting and a fine line has to be trod between the man's public and private life. It has to be said that the first episodes manage to balance the two fairly well (we get a decent examination of the birth of realpolitik) and do a good job of making 500-year old court intrigue actually look interesting.

But not for long. Apparently someone must have thought that audiences would soon tire of politics and that the only way to keep them hooked is to show costumes (for the gals) and boobies (for the guys). I have nothing against either of the two, but when you push everything into the background to make Henry's sexual escapades your sole focus, most of your plot ends up seeming irrelevant, a filler. The Reformation is a good case in point. Of course, we all know that heresy was a serious issue in those days – and that Lutheranism posed a very tangible political threat for England. The problem is that the series provides very little internal justification for the persecution of heretics; what we get instead is Henry taking a break from rolling in the grass with Anne Boleyn to pen a couple of pamphlets against Luther and a religious fanatic burning books and people. We are effectively requested to draw on our own knowledge to fill the gaps.

Another pitfall is the total lack of character development – something that may very well be the result of poor acting. None of the stormy events of the day (diplomatic crises; wars; epidemics) seem to have any lasting effect on the major characters - Sam Neils' Cardinal Wolsey being the sole exception. Some historical accuracy could have helped here. For example, Henry was 40 when he met Anne Boleyn (20 at the time) and pressed to produce a male heir to secure the continuation of the young Tudor line (he was only the second Tudor on the throne.) Any mention of the above would have added some much needed depth to their story; sadly the series opted for third-rate, sloppy romance that just drags on and on.

All of the above explain why the series suffers so much in terms of pace. The action visibly slows down somewhere in the middle to hit rock bottom during the last part. We see the introduction of several unnecessary sub-plots (Margaret, Thomas Tallis) that don't serve the development of the main storyline at all. The handling of Henry's divorce is also problematic. Considering how many other events were rushed through, was it really necessary to drag this one for so long? And why wasn't the issue resolved at the end? (Probably someone's idea of a cliffhanger ending.) Although the Tudors are great to look at, they are on the whole I found the Tudors uninventive and uninteresting – an no amount of costumes or boobies can compensate for that.

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82 out of 114 people found the following review useful:

Michael Hirst Should Be Banned From Doing Movies About Tudor England

Author: bmonkey18-1 from United States
7 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just like the title says, Michael Hirst should be banned from doing historical movies. His work has a complete disregard for history (just see Elizabeth to figure that out). I understand the need for drama but Tudor History was full of drama without completely destroying the actual facts.

First of all, Henry had two sisters, Margaret and Mary. Margaret married the King of Scotland and Mary (his favorite sister) married the aging King of France. But there is absolutely NO evidence that Mary ever killed her husband. And she didn't die as it was depicted in the movie. She had a daughter named Francis (who was the mother of Lady Jane Grey) with Charles Brandon. After her death some years later, he married a very young 14 year old girl meant to be his daughter in law originally.

Also, they butchered the life of Henry Fitzroy. He wasn't a child when he died, either.

The costuming is good and there is plenty of drama. But it should at least be accurate. Michael Hirst should stick to topics he knows about instead of butchering history for everyone else.

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68 out of 93 people found the following review useful:

Potboiler alert!

Author: moss6677 from United States
11 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a waste of a great cast and lots of money! I love historical costume dramas but I was truly appalled at the soap opera-level of this script. There were such great historical events taking place at that time, such as mad King Henry's lust for an heir and willingness to plunge his country into a religious war, betrayal of his wife, intrigues of his court, black plague, etc. Yet we are subject to sex, sex, and more sex every third scene. I did find the Henry vs. the Cardinal plot line interesting, and Henry vs. his wife. But these subjects are dealt with in a very heavy-handed manner, with such obvious dialogue and no subtlety. Part of the reason I love English drama is the usually intelligent dialogue. I felt like I was watching a soap opera like "All My Tudors." You know you are watching trash when the characters keep jumping in bed to keep you interested.

Rhys-Meyers was probably miscast--he scowls and screams and overacts throughout. Sam Neill and Jeremy Northam are good, as usual, It is a shame to see them wasted on such a poor script! I won't be watching the new season.

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58 out of 90 people found the following review useful:

Historically awful

Author: christianetrue from United States
10 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I appreciate that the series tries to give us a look at a Henry other than the fat old Henry of the Holbein portraits. But when Henry looks like he's in his 20s and Katherine of Aragon looks old enough to be his mom, this makes me annoyed.

There were only about six years in the difference between Henry's and Katherine's ages. By the time he meets Anne Boleyn, Henry is 36, Katherine 42. By the time he marries Anne, Henry is over 40, Anne in her 20s. Hellllooooooooooo! Looks like they are not going to age Jonathon Rhys Meyers any in the series ...

You want a good look at a younger Henry, look at Richard Burton's performance in "Anne of a Thousand Days." Henry's active here, mature, and not the fat-tacular wreck he was by the time he got around to Jane Seymour, and Anne of Cleves.

I give it a 4 because of the "Field of the Cloth of Gold" sequence and the spectacular wood and canvas palace. And in 1520, Henry was 29, so Mr. Rhys Meyers is fine for that sequence.

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38 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Lots of historical errors

Author: nunoaj from Portugal
16 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this historical series, there are lots of inaccuracies, as such: While talking to Wosley, the french cardinal says that Pope Alexander is about to die. Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) died in 1503. Henry VIII didn't became king until 1509. Thomas More says to Cardinal Wosley that he is sorry to hear for the Cardinal Orsini's as Pope. There was actually several Orsini's elected as Pope, but none during Henry VIII reign. The last one before that was Nicholas III (1277) and after that only in 1724 Pietro Francesco Orsini would become Benedict XIII. Several historical sources refer specifically Anne Boleyn's dark eyes, as they were rare in the English court during the 16th century. In the series, Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer) has light blue eyes. Henry VIII sends his sister Margaret to marry the King of Portugal. In fact, Margaret Tudor was married to James IV of Scotland. Later she married the Earl of Angus and after that Lord Methwen, Henry Stewart. In 1525 (the year that Charles V armies capture Francis in Pavia, which occurs at the same time in the episode) Portugal didn't have a sick old king. John III was only 23 years old and he married Catherine, Charles V sister, precisely in 1525. It was Mary, Henry's younger sister, not Margaret, who was in love (and later became his wife) to Charles Brandon and was sent abroad to marry a feeble old king. This king was Louis XII, king of France, not king of Portugal. He died 10 years before king Francis was captured in Pavia by Charles V armies (not at the same time, as we are shown in the 4th episode).

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34 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

When it is historic why not be accurate to history?

Author: egonzinc from Puerto Rico
29 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The series so far has been interesting, but it never ceases to amaze me that these historical pieces often abandon with no apparent reason the historical facts. Case in point is the role played by Gabrielle Anwar, called Princess Margaret int eh series. There of course was a Princess Margaret, but she married James IV of Scotland, was the mother of James V. Her marriage to the King of Scotland eventually led to the "Union of the Crowns" of Scotland and England. Henry VIII had another sister, Mary. This one resembles the character a bit more, but Princess Mary, married Louis XII of France and was therefore Queen Consort of France. After the death of Louis XII she remarried Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, as in the series. I'm not saying that everything else about the series is accurate, but why change this character when the real history is as interesting or more than the storyline used? Mary's short marriage to Louis of course preceded the reign of Francis I in France. Maybe they wanted to make the rivalry between Henry and Francis such a big part of the story that they decided it was worth changing the historical facts.

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42 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Simply Beautiful!

Author: zoebruce99 from United Kingdom
5 February 2009

The Tudors is about as close to perfection as a show of its genre can get. I understand people may argue that there are many historical inaccuracies but these become irrelevant when you realise the quality of the sets, scripts and not to forget the incredible acting.

I also think that the costume department also deserve an enormous amount of credit for designing royal attire that would have been fit for any Tudor King or Queen. As soon as you see the women walk out in their gorgeous dresses and the men in their traditional Tudor dress you are pulled into the world of Henry V111's court, a world, which thanks to this beautifully made show, I would never want to leave.

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