Henry sheds frat boy crown
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Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII (Season 2 episode 2) Photo: Jonathan Hession/Showtime Photo ID: tudors_202_0840Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry.
The Tudors: Drama. Sundays on Showtime.
The evolution of Showtime’s grand costume drama, “The Tudors, has taken a remarkable turn in Season 2: It gets a whole lot better when it was already very good. But it also allowed Hirst to deliver unto Showtime a mostly meaty, and deliciously sexy costume drama. And it worked. The series was a huge audience draw for Showtime and it emboldened the channel to ask for more. Once Rhys Meyers was onboard, despite a thriving film career, everything took off for Season 2.
Of nike air max 90 for men course, there were still some critical snickers that “The Tudors” in Season 1 lacked gravitas, that it was devoted to the fashion and sexuality of the period and less to the dramatic heft and historical details. Not that there’s anything wrong with that Rhys Meyers was absolutely riveting in every scene, and won an Emmy for costume design (a feat she’s likely to repeat, given the magnificent, leapoffthescreen costumes in Season 2).
Perhaps some revisionist criticism will come Hirst’s way nike air max premium after Season 2, because his efforts in the freshman season now have more clarity. Henry essentially stumbled into the crown when his brother died, which Hirst played up with sex and scandals, aptly using Rhys Meyers and Co. But it spoke to a lessserious Henry. In the early part of Season 1, the king is easily shaped by those in the court, nike air max 90 for men particularly Cardinal Wolsey. The emphasis then was on Henry’s much freer spirit. He and best friend () are like two goodlooking rich kids having the party of a lifetime: booze, food and girls everywhere, with some jousting and other sports thrown in. And when things get a little slow, some rabblerousing with neighboring countries.
Credit Rhys Meyers for holding down the middle of Season 1, growing his character into a man confronting enormous change and rising to meet his increasing power. By the end of Season 1, Henry had trouble of his own making at every turn.
Oh, that Anne BoleynMuch of this, of course, comes from his pursuit of Anne Boleyn. On Sunday, Season 2 nike air max premium of “The Tudors” kicks off with renewed, more focused attention on “the King’s great matter, which is securing a divorce from Katherine () and marrying Anne, all with the approval of the and, specifically, the Vatican.
Of course, what all that wrought the end of Katherine and the Catholic faith in England, plus Anne, down the road is a headier, more dramatic mix anyway. If Season 1 was Henry Lite, then Season 2 is Henry Dark.
In a strange way, you can glimpse the creative nike air max 90 for men parallels between the two seasons of “The Tudors” and the two “Elizabeth” films that Hirst wrote. The first film is like the second season: focused, energized, committed to a clear story, well told, with plenty of opportunity to let great actors and wonderful costumes have the day. The film and actress were both nominated for an Academy Award.
The second film is like the first season: more artificial and unfocused, a better idea on paper than in execution (though to be fair to Hirst, that had something to do with the second film playing like a music video).
Right out of the gates on Sunday, the new season of “The Tudors” shows a tautness that’s welcome and a maturing of all involved, echoing Henry’s power grab and the quick succession of events that changed history. Cardinal Wolsey dies in 1530 and Anne Boleyn is beheaded six years later, as queen. In the meantime, the Reformation has begun as Henry’s consolidation of power tears England away from Catholicism and the long arms of Pope ().
Spoiled bratThe tease that was Anne Boleyn last season is only kept in that state for a few episodes this season, as Henry presses the matter in Rome and at home. He wants his great matter dealt with, and done with. What works so well in Season 2 is the more serious and irritable Henry, making bigger decisions with almost no input other than ‘s () throwing gas on the fire, and his mercurial, impetuous personality. Once he got Anne, his interest waned. Not that you could ever forget it, but after the birth of Elizabeth and Henry’s rather sudden disinterest in her, you remember oh, right, he’s a spoiled child.
The religious angle is kept keen in Season 2 even without Wolsey (played by in Season 1), because, as Sir, spearheads the movement to keep Henry accountable to God, not the clergy accountable to Henry. It’s a nice counterbalance to the lustful pursuit of Anne Boleyn.
If Season 1 sometimes veered from considered drama to guilty pleasure, Hirst, Rhys Meyers and the rest of the cast (and Bergin’s costumes) make it all somehow meatier but no less entertaining in Season 2. It’s as if the series matured along with the characters and capitalized on the chaotic, eventful period between Anne Boleyn’s most fervent wish and the tragedy of what happens when it comes true nike air max 90 for men nike air max premium.