I always have this fascination with medieval dramas and films. Aside from their fancy clothes, title and hierarchy, there is so much history and drama a show can have for every character. Let's not forget the secrets they keep from each other that if revealed will usually cause war, death or destruction. Now that's a PLOT! That is probably why they are producing a lot of shows with this theme these days and each show is more grand and sexual than the next.
The very famous one is of course no other than, The Game of Thrones. This show has Royals, Magic and Dragons in it. What more can you ask for? The show just finished Season 4 and I was actually a bit disappointed at the end. I kind of predicted that to be the last episode because I remember my friend who read the book told me that part. I just can't wait for Season 5.
When I first saw Episode 1; Winter is Coming, I had to stop because of the all gore and sex it contains. I gave it another try and had to text my friend constantly and ask questions about the characters because there seems to be a lot of background story I don't know about therefore, couldn't keep up. Like, why were the people murdered by monsters? What is "The Wall"? Why do they keep saying "Winter is Coming"? What is up with that Tree? And it ended with WTF?! INCEST! I officially got hooked.
Another period TV Film Drama I love is The Tudors, the story about Henry VIII's reign. I know this is already an old show. It premiered April 2007 but I am sort of a new fan. Probably because I am much older now and has come to appreciate more mature films and actors like *ehem* Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Up to now I'm still a bit confused which is which with his wives. They all seem to be named Catherine and Anne.
The 3rd show I came to appreciate more recently is Da Vinci's Demons. It is an American Historical Fantasy Drama kinda like Game of Thrones but without the Dragons. It premiered April 12, 2013. I just finished watching Season 1 this month. The series explored the fictitious early life of Leonardo Da Vinci during the renaissance era in Italy. It may sound boring but cast a really hot Leonardo Da Vinci played by actor Tom Riley. A possible war because of political dispute with Rome. A really hot femme fatale Lucrezia Donati played by Laura Haddock who is not just the mistress of the ruler of Italy Lorenzo De Medici played by Elliot Cowan but at the same time the love interest of Leonardo Da Vinci himself. WOAH! I swear! I didn't just wrote the whole story.
The White Queen is show that I found out about by browsing YouTube. It is a British television drama series based on Philippa Gregory's historical novel series The Cousin's War (The White Queen, The Red Queen and the Kingsmaker's Daughter.) It is set against the backdrop of the War of the Roses, a war that has been going on for nine years fighting over who is the rightful King of England as two sides of the same family, The House of York and The House of Lancaster, are in violent conflict over the throne. It's like Game of Thrones meets The Tudors.
Unfortunately, it was only on air for Season 1. It can be a bit dragging towards the middle but it gets better at the end. I actually thought Season 2 would be very interesting but it was cancelled. Still a good show to watch though.
Another oldie but a goodie is Merlin. The story about King Arthur and Merlin has been told and retold many times but this one is quite different because the story revolves around the Young Prince Arthur and Young Merlin during King Uther's reign when Magic has been forbidden in Camelot. The show has a mixture of humor, action and drama and the chemistry between Colin Morgan (Merlin) and Bradley James (Prince Arthur) is just perfect for the show and fangirls.
Speaking of the characters and the actors playing them, I did like Lady Morgana up until she became the villain. I don't know why she started hating on everyone and started to choose the side of her evil sister Morgaus whom she barely know at the beginning! And no offense to Morgana fans out there but I'm not a huge fan of Katie McGrath acting as a villain. She has the same tone of voice Every.Single.Time!
This Merlin series has its inaccuracies and if you listen closely to the lines of the characters it does sound a bit modern. Probably because the series is geared to attract younger viewers. If you're not too meticulous then it won't be a problem.
The show ended on its 5th season last December 2012. But I'm sure this won't be the last film about Arthur and Merlin. It's just one of those classics that keeps coming back.
Last but definitely not the least is Hollow Crown. It's a series of television film featuring William Shakespear's history plays of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V. If Merlin has its inaccuracies, then this one is definitely very loyal to the books. If you're not used to reading Shakespeare then I suggest you keep a dictionary next to you and turn the subtitles on whilst watching the show.
I have to be honest, I just learned about this film because Tom Hiddleston plays Prince Hal and
Henry V in the film and you know how I'm a huge Tom Hiddleston fan. To my surprise, I actually liked it and I'm not just saying that because Tom Hiddleston is in it. After watching the series, it made me appreciate Shakespeare and it actually made me want to start reading his work. His books can be very intimidating but I'll start slow and get the book with the guide.
More news about Hollow Crown below from Wikipedia.
In March 2014, the BBC set a tentative date of 2016 for the concluding cycle of the The Hollow Crown. It will be produced by the same team that made the first series of films and will be directed by the former artistic director of Royal Court Theatre and Olivier Award winner, Dominic Cooke. It will be based on Shakespeare's first tetralogy: Henry VI, Part I, Henry VI, Part II, Henry VI, Part III and Richard III. In April 2014, BBC Two announced that Benedict Cumberbatch will play King Richard III which marks the actor's return to the network after the success of Parade's End in 2012.
There you have it! If your favorite is not on my list, please feel free to share!
PS. I would love to attend/host a Medieval Times party!