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Amazon has inked a deal with Neil Gaiman to be the provider of a 6 part miniseries Gaiman will write and showrun himself of what is perhaps one of my most favorite novels, the collaborative effort between him and Terry Pratchett, a very funny apocalyptic novel called Good Omens. So excited to finally see this on the screen.
So I've never been a fan of any of shows from Starz. What I saw of Spartacus was laughably bad and pornographic in ways that even HBO avoids. The opening episodes of Magic City were boring, lurid and derivative. Both the casting and script writing for Camelot were embarrassing. I had given up, but then a friend convinced me to try this one and, while it's certainly not at the talent level of HBO, I've found it watchable. There are so many ways it could have been better, but it's fascinating to see - partly because much of it is a historical story that I haven't seen anyone try to tell before. It essentially begins at the tail end of Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3 and then it appears as if the last two episodes will takes us through the events of Richard III, except without Shakespeare's Tudor bias. The script writing is mediocre at best. The story goes much too fast. It really should have been a show instead of a miniseries since they could have spent whole seasons each on what they end up giving only a couple episodes. But much of the cast is quite surprisingly quite good. Max Irons (son of Jeremy Irons) is likeable as Edward IV. Aneurin Barnard is good as Richard III because he plays the character so that he's always keeping the audience guessing. Janet McTeer (Hannah Arendt, The Woman in Black) and James Frain (Titus, The Tudors) both do a little scene stealing. Rupert Graves (Inspector Lestrade from Sherlock) turns much more sinister than I thought he could be. But the three main actresses (Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth, Faye Marsay as Anne, Amanda Hale as Margaret) all do quite well and should start promising careers with this show. This show also gets props for striving to tell the story in a way that gives the women characters as much (if not sometimes more) screen time as the men. I haven't read anything by Phillippa Gregory, and nothing I've heard about her makes me think I would be able to enjoy her writing, but I appreciate her striving to make people just as curious about the women as the men. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TGbhi4JySo Pajiba: “The White Queen,” a BBC and Starz miniseries, is more interesting for the history it covers — the Wars of the Roses — than for how it covers it. The Tudors, the ultimate winners (historical spoiler alert?) of the 15th century dynastic wars between the houses of Lancaster and York, rivals within the House of Plantagenet, get most of the pop culture glory thanks to Henry VIII and daughter Elizabeth I. We (at least in the U.S.) tend to forget about this ridiculous real-life “Game of Thrones,” in which siblings and cousins and way too many Richards, Edwards and Henrys all vie for the crown ... Ferguson and Irons deliver impressive chemistry, and it is easy to side with Elizabeth and her family thanks to Ferguson’s convincing performance. But “The White Queen” lacks an overall spark, offering only an introduction to a fascinating piece of history that, given time and better resources, could have been presented in a far grander manner. It’s not enough to cram exposition into scenes to try to explain why a battle is being waged; you have to help us understand it, to feel it. Bringing these stories to our cultural consciousness is important, but mostly “Queen” plops its viewers into the middle of the action and expects each of them to just go with whatever happens. That’s fine, in a way. The miniseries can be, to borrow a phrase from Alan Ball, “popcorn for smart people.” But oh, it could have been more. Television Blend: ... The White Queen’s scope does cause some problems with the narrative, but the whole endeavor hasn’t been a complete loss. Moments in the script and some scene sequences are extremely compelling. In episode 3, Edward IV is headed off to battle and the ladies in the series—Elizabeth, Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) and Lady Isabel Neville (Eleanor Tomlinson) and her mother—are all praying for different outcomes in the battle. The scene is tightly woven, giving audiences the opportunity to see the various stakes at hand, and it's also prettily edited. If every moment of the series were as watchable as that one, The White Queen would have been among the summer’s best offerings ... Los Angeles Times: Shoveling three novels and 30 years of very confusing history into even 10 hourlong episodes requires that "The White Queen" become a series of vignettes rather than a cohesive narrative, a "greatest hits of the Wars of the Roses," as it were. Years collapse into minutes, intricate policy is condensed into cardboard personalities, and the characters are swiftly categorized as good or evil. But if the whole never lives up to a sum of its parts, some of the parts are quite good ... Anyone else here seen it? Some of the episodes were mediocre enough to quit over, but it's been growing quite good towards the end now.