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Hulu has picked up The Great;

[The] Catherine The Great drama The Great stars Elle Fanning as Catherine alongside Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge and Sacha Dhawan.

The “genre-bending” series is an anti-historical ride through 18th century Russia. It details the rise to power of Catherine and her explosive relationship with her husband Peter, the emperor of Russia, played by Hoult.

Created, written and exec produced by Tony McNamara (The Favourite) and produced by MRC. Marian Macgowan, Thruline’s Josh Kesselman and Ron West, Echo Lake’s Brittany Kahan Ward, Doug Mankoff and Andrew Spaulding, Elle Fanning and Matt Shakman, who also directed the pilot, exec produce.
...
Both series go into production later this year with...The Great airing in 2020.

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Hmmm-seems no one is watching this! We are halfway through. Peter married Catherine. That seems to be the only historical part that is being followed! To me, it’s playing like the Comedy Central series Another Period.

Edited by chitowngirl
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I am! Nothing remotely accurate.

But it's fun.

Who knew the About a Boy boy would grow up into this..

Edited by Megan
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I watched 5, 6, and 7. I thought there were only 7 episodes when we started 7 and found out there are 10. I also thought Peter was going to die and we’d move into Catherine running things. It’s getting very tedious. It’s the same story every episode. Also, if Catherine has a lover before she has heirs, how will they know if the heirs are Peter’s?

Edited by chitowngirl

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the thing is, this is mostly ahistorical. In real life, Catherine married Peter well before he was Czar, and she was close friends with Empress Elizabeth. The real Czar, Ivan VI, had been a prisoner since he was deposed at age sixteen months.

Russian history is rather gross.

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That’s what makes me hesitant to watch this. I read the Massey biography of Catherine and I don’t want to spend 10 hours yelling “that’s not what happened!”

12 hours ago, chitowngirl said:

Also, if Catherine has a lover before she has heirs, how will they know if the heirs are Peter’s?

Well that part is at least true. 

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Watched the first episode, and this is obviously not aiming for anything close to historical accuracy, beyond "There was a women named Catherine who married a guy named Peter in a country called Russia in the past" but this seems like an amusingly dark and wacky take on history, so I will see where this weirdness takes us, and I will try to avoid falling into history nerd rage.

In fact, you could almost see this show as the story of Catherine The Great as told by Catherine The Great, where her husband was an alcoholic brainless loser and also bad in bed and who had stupid hair (which is pretty much how she would go on to describe him after taking the throne) while Catherine was perfect and lovely and sweet and all the women at court were stupid and vapid unlike cool bookish Catherine and most of the men were idiots and sycophants and this whole country was a mess before Catherine showed up to make everything better. Catherine couldn't have written better propaganda herself!

Edited by tennisgurl
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You know, I really like it.  Even if it is not historically accurate.  And I like the nod to the horse rumor. I also like the reference to playing with toy soldiers.  So I am enjoying it.

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Having finished the all the episodes, I think they are going to have a problem once Peter is gone. They've made him too entertainingly ridiculous.

Also, Nicholas Hoult's eyes were crazy dilated the whole time.

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I am about halfway through, and I am loving it!  A period drama with lavish costumes, sets, great acting, but also dark, over-the-top comedy? Yes please. Nicholas Hoult is absolutely hilarious in this, and Elle Fanning is enchanting. 

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I'm sort of watching this show the way I would a Korean historical drama about their monarchy.  I go in knowing that it's in no way real and it's just ridiculousness which is fine.  And it's entertaining. The maid is my favorite as of episode ones end. 

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23 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

Watched the first episode, and this is obviously not aiming for anything close to historical accuracy,

 

On 5/17/2020 at 6:10 PM, Haleth said:

 I don’t want to spend 10 hours yelling “that’s not what happened!”

 

You must let go of the expectation of historical accuracy when it comes to this show, even in the OP it is said that it is an anti-historical show. Meaning, it actively tries to not be historically accurate.

Definition of anti-historical:

Quote

 in opposition to the accepted historical record.

 

That said, this series is so disturbing and has so many disgusting scenes, I gave up on it after the first two episodes. When they ate over the heads and squished their eyes, that was the last straw.

Edited by Harvey

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18 hours ago, ouinason said:

I'm sort of watching this show the way I would a Korean historical drama about their monarchy.  I go in knowing that it's in no way real and it's just ridiculousness which is fine.  And it's entertaining. The maid is my favorite as of episode ones end. 

Phoebe Fox is delightful. She played Lady Olivia in a production of Twelfth Night that was on YouTube in April and she was funny and charming. I was happy to see her in this.

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I loved this, actually.  I don't care about the historical inaccuracies since I don't know anything about Russia history anyway.  I laughed out loud several times, which is pretty rare for me with any comedy.  I didn't like the gross-out humor (that's not my thing), but even when there was gross-out humor (which was a lot) there was always something else funny to watch for such as reactions from the other characters.  I am kind of sad that everything got blown up so much because I am not sure how it can come back (if it does) just as funny next season.  

All of the actors did an amazing job and I do look forward to another season.  I hope they don't kill Peter because Nicholas Hoult is a gem in this.  

I think I'm going to start using "Huzzah" and "indeed" in my every day language just because I heard it so much lol. 

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Hulu’s The Great is a gorgeously delirious mashup of history

(AV Club review)

This show is on my to-do list. I watched a small bit and it seems pretty amusing. I know nothing about this period/reign so I shouldn't have to yell at the television too much. There's definitely a place for historical fanfic, but when it hits one of your major nerd topics, it can be a problem for suspension of disbelief. (For me it's usually Tudor history. I just barely dragged myself through The Spanish Princess. I made it through about ten minutes of Reign.)

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2 hours ago, Whimsy said:

I hope they don't kill Peter because Nicholas Hoult is a gem in this. 

IRL, Peter died a week after the siege and abdication. 
 

I’d love another season that shows what Catherine really accomplished during her reign.

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7 hours ago, chitowngirl said:

IRL, Peter died a week after the siege and abdication. 
 

I’d love another season that shows what Catherine really accomplished during her reign.

Well, I can still hope since this isn’t really historical 😉

im sure they’ll kill him. I just greatly enjoyed NH’s work in this. Even if I actually hate Peter. 

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Idk. I’m really trying. I keep telling myself that it’s a sarcastic comedic exaggerated view on a period in history.

i will forego so many different races in the royal household. It seems as if they are using those actors for “imaginary” characters. So whatever. You do you, show

I’m in the middle of the 3rd episode. And I’m just about done with under-researched subject. If you are using a culture as a butt of a joke, at least do some honor on the level of basic research. 
Madam Svenska’s husband is colonel Svenska? Svenska? Let me put it this way svenskA??? Never mind that it’s a Polish last name, but I guess there were Poles in the close proximity to the royal family. They would most likely be addressed using Russified version of their last name. So madam Svenskaya. But it’s still a femminitive version of the last name: Polish or Russian. Colonel would be Svenski or Svenskiy. And if western cultures insist on husband and wife having the same last name to the letter, it’s the masculine version that is used. I could I guess assume it was intentional, Like yay women! but this show is so kitschy, they would have made a more of a thing out of it if it were intentional. But no. Madam Svenska is introduced first, so her husband must be Svenska too... screw the culture, history and language.

and the statue.... ПЕТРУ ВЕЛИКАЯ??? Well at least it’s not a gibberish like Hollywood likes to make. Just throw a stapler at a Russian keyboard and pretend it’s a word... I’m not gonna go into the deep thickets of grammar to explain how and what is wrong... but it’s again mixing feminitive and masculine forms of words... and using a dative case which has no place on the monument unless it’s preceded by a noun “monument” in front of it. Which it’s not. 
 

im not gonna comment on the history cause it’s clearly and explicitly states that this show has very little to do with history, but some level of respect is expected. Cause from where I’m sitting it’s a giant In your face F$#CK YOU to Russia. I’m not even Russian and it bothers me... (Russia adjacent lol)

Edited by vavera4ka
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As a serious (as in possibly career) history nerd, I've been loving the trend of utterly anachronistic bizarre historical AUs like Reign, Dickinson, Six (The Musical) and now The Great. I've had my heart broken by too many "serious" retellings that are usually largely bullshit (looking at you, Cate Blanchett Elizabeth movies). I like that these shows are owning and explicitly flaunting that they are not accurate and don't wish to be. It's a hell of a lot of fun, with the bonus of the occasional actual insane real fact or incident.

To be fair I'm not the biggest fan of The Great for the same reason I'm not a big fan of The Favourite; too many distasteful scenes. But at the same time so many scenes in The Great made me laugh so hard it was a pretty good trade-off.

On 5/16/2020 at 8:22 PM, chitowngirl said:

Also, if Catherine has a lover before she has heirs, how will they know if the heirs are Peter’s?

In history she claimed he wasn't Peter's, but Paul's streak of crazy seemed to say otherwise. On the show they specifically say Leo is sterile from a case of the mumps. I don't think we'll ever have an answer in life or on show.

On 5/17/2020 at 7:41 PM, Megan said:

Having finished the all the episodes, I think they are going to have a problem once Peter is gone. They've made him too entertainingly ridiculous.

Well, Potemkin is due any second, so if they can make him as entertaining, they might have a shot.

33 minutes ago, vavera4ka said:

Cause from where I’m sitting it’s a giant In your face F$#CK YOU to Russia. I’m not even Russian and it bothers me... (Russia adjacent lol)

Yeah, I don't have a problem with saying Fuck You to Russia. They've been saying that to my family for centuries.

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I really like this. It's like a historical Christopher Guest mockumentary. (One of the good ones.)

It's not historically accurate, but within the context of the show, I thought the politics of the moment rang true. Even if they were naive, not that bright, bumbling, drunk. . .

 

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I didn't like the most gruesome scenes but I definitely enjoyed the show. It was fun for the most part! At first I couldn't forget the real story and well all the things they got wrong and also the ethnicity thing but then something quickly switched. When you remember the history it kind of makes the show even more fun because I'm Polish and we spent so much time in school learning about this time period and Russia. I won't get offended by what will happen to my country in the show, how they portray it. I know that's the point but I was a bit disappointed that lovers weren't taller/more handsome! Do you think they will kill Peter in S2 right away? Is there any chance that her lover will survive or he's gone? I wonder how they'll depict Katherine from now on.

Any renewal news?

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33 minutes ago, PinkRibbons said:

 

Yeah, I don't have a problem with saying Fuck You to Russia. They've been saying that to my family for centuries.

i guess I should have elaborated on that. But the post was already too long lol

I don’t mind the idea of saying fuck you, I mind the way it’s being said. There’s a way to do it and still have dignity. You know, a smart fuck you? Like this show could have been with just the writing, but well researched basics. Cause now they look like an idiot calling another person an idiot. And it just doesn’t ring as true... 
that’s what’s causing dissonance in me. It’s a smart show... until it just throws that uneducated blimp. There’s nothing better than an educated and smart put down... and this show was so close to it and ruined to the point of actually being on the verge of stupid itself.

 

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Briefly: I’ve gotten far enough in to say that I love Marial.

Did anyone watch The Royals? The one with Liz Hurley? I’m watching this like that one. 

Nicolas Hoult seems like he was born for this role.

Also enjoying the colorblind casting. 

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really want to see Catherine kick all those ladies out of the castle.

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One thing that's throwing me: what the hell language are they speaking?  They put that little scene at the very beginning of Catherine learning a tiny bit of Russian on her journey there (a hat-tip, I'm guessing, to her obsessive-to-the-point-of-illness studying of Russian that gave her huge popularity among the people), so we know she's probably not speaking that already. I don't think Peter even knew Russian. I mean I guess they could be speaking German, but French was the court language. I assumed that's what they're meant to be speaking until Voltaire showed up with his heavy French accent. Now I'm just perplexed.

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20 hours ago, PinkRibbons said:

One thing that's throwing me: what the hell language are they speaking? 

Default costume drama language; British English!

IMO, Voltaire just had a French accent so we'd know he was French, "european," and part of the change Catherine wants to bring to Russia.

I don't think they ever mentioned that the Russian court mostly spoke French. They played up and mentioned how Russian every one is at least once an episode.

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I love this show so much. The whole cast is great, but Nicolas Hoult is killing it, and the dialogue is fucking bananas in the best possible way. 

Edit: I just got to the scene with Brezhnev and Peter’s mother. I’m dying. 
 

On 5/19/2020 at 8:24 AM, Whimsy said:

I laughed out loud several times, which is pretty rare for me with any comedy. 

S A M E.

Multiple times in one episode even.

I just got to the little throwaway joke about the Chernobyl Girl’s Choir. I’m a terrible person.

I can see why some people have compared this to Another Period. I liked that one too, but it was relentlessly cynical, whereas there’s some real heart to this one.

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Just finished it.  I thought it was so well done.  The actors did a great job creating "real" characters.  From Catherine to Peter to Velementov to Marial to the rest of them.  What a performance by 22 year-old Elle Fanning.  I hope this propels her to other great roles.

I don't know why people are bothered by the historical inaccuracies when the show clearly states it is mostly fiction.  Just enjoy it!

 

 

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Binged all ten episodes today - fun ride!

 

I've only seen Elle Fanning in Super 8, but boy does she remind me of a young Drew Barrymore.

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On 5/24/2020 at 12:02 AM, QQQQ said:

Binged all ten episodes today - fun ride!

 

I've only seen Elle Fanning in Super 8, but boy does she remind me of a young Drew Barrymore.

YES, so much this. I keep actually picturing Drew Barrymore if I’m idly thinking about the show. They don’t look as much alike as say, Margot Robbie and Jamie Pressley, but I think they might also have some mannerisms, expressions, acting choices in common. And the sunny demeanor reminds me of an (older) Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet. 

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On 5/17/2020 at 5:08 PM, tennisgurl said:

In fact, you could almost see this show as the story of Catherine The Great as told by Catherine The Great, where her husband was an alcoholic brainless loser and also bad in bed and who had stupid hair (which is pretty much how she would go on to describe him after taking the throne) while Catherine was perfect and lovely and sweet and all the women at court were stupid and vapid unlike cool bookish Catherine and most of the men were idiots and sycophants and this whole country was a mess before Catherine showed up to make everything better. Catherine couldn't have written better propaganda herself!

I love this description. It makes the show sound like a classic fake story or validation post on reddit's r/AmITheAsshole

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I am loving the over the top ridiculousness of the show. NIck is another level of fun

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This was a fun, over the top ridiculous ride, obviously having nothing to do with history, but it was a lot of fun, and as a history geek, I did enjoy some moments with actual historical references and context. I especially found it funny that Peters father, Peter the Great, was quite a bit more like Catherine, both the TV version and the movie version. He also wanted Russia to become more like western Europe and to bring more culture and science into the country, so its funny to see his reactions to Catherine, especially because he struggles so much living under his fathers shadow. 

Nick Hoult was just having a total blast throughout, and although he clearly will have to die at some point soon (presumably by next season) I hope that he can stick around as a ghost or something who shows up to be the worlds worst spirit guide. I did actually end up finding their relationship to be interesting, while Peter was clearly a terrible and amoral person (I guess growing up getting everything you ever want can do that) he did seem to grow fond of Catherine, and they did have some actually kind of sincere moments together, like when he thanked her for helping him make peace with Sweden, and she did end up growing somewhat fond of him as well, even as she planned his death, but this was all clearly going to end badly. Peter was incapable of really loving anyone besides himself, and Catherine will put her goals above anyone, even the man she really loved. 

Dont worry Catherine, you will find love again! Many...many...times! 

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I am on Ep. 9, and I find it hilarious that they are planning a "secret" coup in a giant auditorium, theater, whatever it was.  A place that sound travels.  Well.  I am shocked that someone hasn't been listening in (yet). 

But oh, am I enjoying the hell out of this show!  Love everything about it - the casting, the writing, the dirty jokes, the costumes, the sets (oh, yes, the sets), the drama between everyone on the court, just everything.  Loved the connection between Catherine and the Queen of Sweden - women really do need to rule the world.

 

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On 5/16/2020 at 2:24 PM, chitowngirl said:

Hmmm-seems no one is watching this! We are halfway through. Peter married Catherine. That seems to be the only historical part that is being followed! To me, it’s playing like the Comedy Central series Another Period.

Watched it and really enjoyed it.  It's such a departure from the historical story that I sincerely have no idea how it's going to end. 

I feel like this story and the characters are all written with such depth and complexity but the story is still kinda silly.  

Hulu seems to be pushing it but I think they don't explain what it is particularly well.  It certainly isn't a traditional period piece.  

I hope it gets a second season.  Huzzah!

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On 5/23/2020 at 2:53 PM, Dminches said:

 

I don't know why people are bothered by the historical inaccuracies when the show clearly states it is mostly fiction.  Just enjoy it!

 

 

Are people really,?  

Like you said, it has a giant asterisk with a disclaimer that it's an OCCASIONALLY true story and I was so glad that they did to preemptively stop people from complaining that arkady and rostov were black.  

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We’ve been enjoying this show a lot!
 

But I guess everyone has different pet peeves. I’m not that bothered by the history being all wrong since they disclosed that upfront, but I am bothered by the medicine/ medical science being all wrong - that’s not how variolation works! You don’t just poke yourself with smallpox and then announce you’re fine and immune that same day. Typically you’d be sick for weeks with pustules and everything, during which from you’d have to quarantine from anyone else. You could still be pretty sick but you’d be less likely to die than if you caught it naturally, and then once you recovered you could consider yourself immune, just like people who recovered from a natural case of it. I also don’t think you’re safe from smallpox if you kiss someone with smallpox and hang out with them for awhile, just because you didn’t touch the sores themselves.

It appears it IS true that Catherine insisted on variolation and that it was controversial, but under somewhat different circumstances. 
 

In the show, I didn’t understand why anyone objected to her idea of having tents where the sick serfs could wait it out and see if they recovered, given that they basically had them out on the grounds with doctors mingling with them anyway. 
 

 

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Nice point on the science of things.  But I figure if I'm going to handwaive away history, science may as well go along for the ride!  🙂

My pet peeve...  Catherine's hair!  I mean, it's lovely, but she's romping in bed with her hair down one moment, and 2 minutes later walking through the halls fully, and many times quite elaborately, coifed (not to mention dressed, which also took a long time back then).  I would have liked one scene showing her getting her hair done or at least an occasional "don't muss my hair" to Leo. 

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Wow, that was quite a season finale. What’s the spoiler policy here? I google to see if there s a second season coming but it doesn’t seem to be decided yet. 

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6 hours ago, LeGrandElephant said:

What’s the spoiler policy here?

If you mean spoilers for season one in its entirety, no need to tag as we just have this thread for the moment. 

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Since I was never really that enamored of Leo, I wasn't too sad about the ending. I was more invested in Mariel betraying Catherine.

It's going to be really interesting to see how much they diverge.

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Is it bad that I am kind of rooting for Peter and Catherine to work it out? I enjoy them together and don't really care for Leo. Nicholas and Elle had great chemistry. The episode where he asks her to spend the night was one of my favorites. I didn't really care for George either or her husband (I forgot his name). I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish.

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On 5/17/2020 at 12:10 PM, Haleth said:

That’s what makes me hesitant to watch this. I read the Massey biography of Catherine and I don’t want to spend 10 hours yelling “that’s not what happened!”

Well that part is at least true. 

They also got right the horse rumor right. 
 

Every time Peter said his father was Peter the Great I wanted to throw something at the TV. 

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On 6/21/2020 at 1:43 PM, willgracefan said:

Every time Peter said his father was Peter the Great I wanted to throw something at the TV. 

Wait was he not?

I didn’t like the torture episode because I didn’t think it made any internal sense. 

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So I loved thia show and agree with all above who mentioned NH knocking this role out of the park! I don't know much about Russian history so accuracy it didn't matter one way or the other. Am I the only one who was bothered by Leo's height and lack of attractiveness? As an incredibly handsome, renowned lover I found him... wanting. Just me? Okay then.

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No, Leo is cute, with that smille and everything. He's not a classic dashing womanizer, but then I guess that's the point.

I don't think the show makes so much fun at Russia, but rather at the Aristocracy in general. I love the show as well. I think it's a good starting point for a discussion on history, historiography and our modern culture of memory. Because it is fun at first. And it takes up so many clichees that we can ask: Wait, really? I feel that's worth more than trying to be as historically precise as possible.

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I tried watching this last night after hearing my friends rave about it, but I couldn't even finish the first episode.  I don't expect a movie or a TV show to have every little thing be historically accurate, but when there are so many things thrown in there that make absolutely no sense, I can't just sit back and enjoy the ride.  And yes, I know about the disclaimer at the start of the show, I still think it's bad.  It is possible to be historically accurate enough, and entertaining, so I don't see why audiences have to choose between one, or the other.  I should have realized years ago with The Tudors and Reign that this genre just isn't for me, but I guess I'm a slow learner. 

If I had any positives to say, I will say that the casting is fabulous.  All of the actors did a very good job, and I enjoyed watching them, even if I didn't enjoy the story.  Phoebe Fox in particular was outstanding.  This is the first show I've seen her in, so I'll be keeping an eye out for her.

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On 5/25/2020 at 6:26 PM, kieyra said:

YES, so much this. I keep actually picturing Drew Barrymore if I’m idly thinking about the show. They don’t look as much alike as say, Margot Robbie and Jamie Pressley, but I think they might also have some mannerisms, expressions, acting choices in common. And the sunny demeanor reminds me of an (older) Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet. 

I just binge watched Santa Clarita Diet last week and now this show this week, both actresses have an amazing charm and vulnerability that I never get tired of and great comedic timing. I normally don’t watch a lot of comedies unless they are clever and both of these shows didn’t disappoint.  I’m sad they’re both over.

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