Historical drama isn’t my usual tv watch, but since this miniseries every now and then something catches and keeps my eye. hulu markets some intriguing shows, so I dove in to see something of Russia in The Great.
If the tv braintrust is identifying a person of the 18th century, it would be the ruler Catherine, who begins episode one as an aristocrat’s daughter heading into an arranged marriage with a young emperor.
In an atmosphere of cruelty, self-indulgence, drunkenness, and lies that seems more a match for the 45th president’s White House, it takes Elle Fanning’s character not quite two full two episodes to divest herself of her innocence and plunge into conspiracy against her inept husband, gathering allies and playing a long game to the throne.
I have to agree that the two leads in season 1 are gifted actors in their roles. While I also know this series is well-reviewed and well-regarded by viewers, I’m not sure I’m sticking with it. I’m okay with the liberties taken with true history (not sure if Nicholas Hoult is playing Peter II or Peter III) but it doesn’t really matter. The set-up is clear. An undeserving and incompetent leader is surrounded by sycophants and our hero-turned antihero tries valiantly to peel away enough people to help her in the plot. Is she really devoted to a more noble Russia? Is it just for her survival? Or has she been coopted by the culture of fake news, fake leadership, fake positioning for a society of the 1%. Who knows? The question for the viewers: do we care?