The Tudors (2007-2010)

Posted: February 4, 2011 in Joe Giambrone
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The Tudors: The Complete Series

Henry’s a bos-tard!

That’s what I’ve been yelling out intermittently these past few days.

The Tudors has concluded after four years depicting the tyrannical reign of English king Henry VIII.

People remember Henry for his tendency to kill off his wives and take others. But how did it all go down?

This Showtime original series is one of the most ambitious and well done that I’ve ever seen on television. The cinematography is phenomenal. The sets and costumes are elegant and dazzling. The sex and the violence are raw. This show pulls no punches. Henry is a bastard, in the colloquial sense of the word, and yet he’s so much more. This complex world is fascinating, and the limited scope (Henry’s reign) keeps its focus clearly on Henry, England and his family, throughout the four years’ telling.

It’s not for the squeamish. But it is a remarkable recreation of a tyrannical society led by a ruthless and all powerful monster.

Watching The Tudors may even be a cure for modern would-be theocrats, seeing what an abomination becomes of both church and state once they are joined. I’m not expecting ignorant US theocrats to take up the challenge, but perhaps the regular masses can stand to see why the US founders fought so hard against the establishment of governmental religion.

While Henry himself initiated the reformation in England, he also went backward, repeatedly, choosing to allow the bishops and priests to carry out torture and horrendous executions against the “heretics.” So just what were the people to believe, when the king himself changes his attitudes like the weather?

Henry is long dead and so is his psychotic social order, swept away by Democracy and Republics — except maybe in Saudi Arabia and the like — and I’ll toast to that… “Bos-tard!”

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Joe Giambrone is the editor of PFB and the author of Hell of a Deal: A Supernatural Satire.

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