On January 6th, CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment released The Tudors: The Complete Second Season on DVD. This epic, lavish, and critically-acclaimed series has become a Showtime hit and thrust star Jonathan Rhys Meyers into the spotlight as a young King Henry VIII.
The Tudors: The Complete Second Season looks and feels like a movie produced for the big screen. It is lushly staged and filmed in breathtakingly beautiful locals in Ireland and Canada, and the castles, manors and countryside are as much a part of the series as the actors. The costuming is dazzling enough to have spawned a line of Tudor fashions through Museum Replicas. But what makes The Tudors sizzle is the incredible history of the Tudor monarchy combined with the believable acting on the part the cast.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers (August Rush, TV’s “Elvis”) returns to what USA Today calls his “boisterously, enjoyably inappropriate” Golden Globe-nominated role as Henry VIII. The young king’s promiscuous, erratic, and often bloodthirsty ways change the course of history as he makes the move to divorce his wife of 24 years, the devout Catholic Queen Katherine of Aragon (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and marry the charismatic Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer). In spite of receiving a negative verdict on his “great matter” from the Pope Paul III (eight-time Academy Award® nominee Peter O’Toole), Henry weds Anne, having appointed her family’s chaplain, Thomas Cranmer, appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury.
As the death toll of Catholic martyrs grows, the Pope Paul finally decides to have Henry VIII excommunicated after he weds Anne Boleyn. King Henry then names himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and begins to divest the Catholic church of much of its money and power.
Anne’s failure to provide Henry with a male heir (she has a daughter, Elizabeth) sets the wheels in motion for her eventual beheading and sends the King into the arms of Jane Seymour (Anita Briem) as the series nears its conclusion. Season II of The Tudors ends with Anne Bolyn’s beheading, and a disturbing scene of the formerly clean and lean King Henry VIII eating while juice flows down his beard and chin – a sad portent of the man he is becoming.
As a lover of historical movies, I have recently seen The Other Boleyn Girl and had just added the classic A Man for All Seasons to my collection. I couldn’t help but notice that The Tudors seems to be based more upon the movies than the historical records, but there is enough history in the series to make the show worthwhile from a historical point of view.
However, there is also partial nudity and graphic violence, which although historically accurate are gratuitous, prevent me from giving the series an unqualified recommendation. However, The Tudors is also a very interesting look at faith, martyrdom, and the Reformation. For history lovers and those who enjoy beautiful costuming, intrigue and lots of action, this is a series worth following, but it is not for impressionable young teens or people who are easily offended by partial nudity and violence.
I also encourage anyone who watches The Tudors to also read up on the history of King Henry VIII, Thomas Moore, Anne Boleyn, and other related persons and events to get a clearer view of the history behind the series.
The Tudors: The Complete Second Season the 2008 Golden Globe nominations for Best Television Series – Drama and Best Actor (Rhys Meyers), following its 2007 Emmy® wins for the series’ costuming and theme music. The Tudors will return to Showtime for a third season in the spring of 2009, with Grammy Award® winner Joss Stone joining the cast as Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.
The Tudors: The Complete Second Season is packaged on four DVDs featuring all 10 episodes, plus two featurettes: Tower of London and Descendants of Henry.The Tudors: The Complete Second Season will be available for the suggested retail price of $42.99.
The Tudors: The Complete Second Season is a four-disc set presented in wide screen with English 5.1 Surround, English 2.0 Surround and Spanish Mono. The DVD is not rated in the U.S. The total running time is 9 hours.
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