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Old 09-20-2015, 05:49 PM   #1
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Wolf Hall

"Once you have fixed on the destruction of an enemy, that destruction must be swift and it must be perfect…Before he wakes in the morning, you should have the axe in your hand."

—But when the hour to strike is near, will you be ready?

Tony® Award-winning actor Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night) stars as Thomas Cromwell, the enigmatic advisor to King Henry VIII, as he maneuvers the corridors of power in the Tudor court. The six-part series follows the back-room dealings of this accomplished power broker, from humble beginnings, who must survive deadly political intrigue. Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winner Damian Lewis (Homeland) plays a young King Henry VIII in the throes of a tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy, Little Dorrit), and ruling an England on the brink of monumental religious upheaval.

Variety heralds Wolf Hall's "insanely good cast," while The Times (UK) calls the series "...simply unmissable," and The Independent (UK) says, "Their intelligent and lean adaptation yanks the costume drama into the post Breaking Bad television world." - copied and pasted from the official PBS website

Check out this 1m55s video of theirs if you don't mind light spoilers (or heavy spoilers dressed as light ones! ). It gives you a nice taste of Wolf Hall's visuals while also telling you what the story's about.


So, I watched Wolf Hall this past week. A week ago today, in fact, I watched Episode 1, and today I finished what's aired so far by watching Episode 6. I enjoyed the series, as well as the experience of sharing my enthusiasm with my father. We don't watch much in common any more, but when he told me about this show that he had seen and madly fallen in love with, I was struck by just how much it reminded me of an English take on Cao Cao from the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history.

If you like period dramas, you should check Wolf Hall out. The core history is accurately preserved, although there are obvious embellishments or alterations present in every episode. The acting is world class. The sets, stage pieces, and costumes are world class. The filming isn't half bad either. And of course I enjoyed the writing as well.

What's especially fun about Wolf Hall is that it chooses for its protagonist a man who a) is usually overshadowed by the period's larger players, like King Henry VIII or any number of his wives; and a man who b) is usually depicted as a scheming villain. Well, Cromwell is still a schemer, but here his presentation is more sympathetic. He's not as similar to Cao Cao as I had first imagined he might be, but there are similarities. You will enjoy watching this man on camera even when he is at his most dastardly, and you will often times find yourself conflicted as to whether you should be seeing him as an antihero or an antivillain.

The TV series is an adaptation of the first two novels in a planned trilogy by Hilary Mantel. The third novel is estimated to be released some time either this year or else next year, and the BBC has already confirmed its intention to produce a second season of the television adaptation. So television audiences need only wonder whether they will be watching the finale in 2016 or later.
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