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Catherine The Great

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I'm not very familiar with the details of Catherine's life, but after watching this mini-series, I'm not sure I want to.

I guess my expectations were too high, and I was really disappointed.  It wasn't even entertaining to watch, and I have doubts about its historical accuracy.

It was extremely difficult to relate to or like any of the characters.  Catherine seemed flighty, needy and not a good ruler.  Potemkin seemed like a petulant insecure man-child who acted like he was drunk for the last two episodes.  I'm not sure if I was meant to see this as an epic love story, or what.  I thought Helen Mirren was supposed to be a good actress, but the scenes and dialogue were so stilted that I couldn't buy any of the emotions.

It just felt very unrealistic and farcical.  Did Catherine the Great seriously have private conversations out in the open that anyone could hear?   The whole scenario made the protagonist seem foolish, though I read some of Helen Mirren's interviews after, and their intent was to do the opposite.

It seemed like the series was trying to match other recent historical/fantasy dramas with the amount of sex and violence they could include.  I always have mixed feelings about this.  I really enjoy historical fiction, and I know that during this time, it was rather brutal with beheadings and violence, so they do need to do some of it to be realistic, but still, they're hard for me to watch.

I was distracted by the inability to tell how much time had passed, especially in the last episode.  Switching the actress half-way would not have been a good solution, but Catherine looked like she was in her late 60s at the start of the mini-series, when I think she was supposed to be younger, so I couldn't buy what was happening.  Maybe hiring an actress who was closer to the real age at the start of the series, and then using wigs and old-age make-up as time progressed would have been more believable.

Finally, with many historical fiction series, at least I can usually enjoy the visuals.  I don't know why since I assume the budget was high, but everything looked kind of fake.  The costumes and makeup made everything look garish.  It also didn't help that the dialogue felt too modern.  At the end of the day, I couldn't immerse myself into the time period, and that made the production a bit of a fail.

Edited by Camera One
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