40 thoughts on “Fine, Whatever, Becoming Elizabeth, Meh

  1. I just about rolled over laughing when someone in the trailer was like “it’s so great to make a series about a period that most people aren’t familiar with” … are you effing kidding me? If any period, any story, has been done to death, it’s this one. But our Lady of Bear Island is making an appearance, so I’ll probably check it out.

    1. That’s where I recognized her from. Thank you.

      Jessica Raine played Lady Rochford in one of the endless Tudor-related thingies. Wolf Hall? She’s changing it up, I guess. I miss her on Call the Midwife. It got a little silly after she left, Chummy notwithstanding.

      1. What intrigues me here is Catherine Parr, Edward, Jane Grey….all of whom I feel like get the short end of the stick generally when telling this story. Of course, since this is “Becoming Elizabeth” we still won’t get a fully fleshed out Edward or Catherine (I am really concerned, with that picture of Thomas Seymour and Elizabeth, that Catherine is about to get butchered all over for her possible role in that affair….I hate that so much). The casting, though, will likely be enough to draw me in. And hey, no windmill dress, so there’s a plus? 😕

    2. Just what I was about to comment on, that “relatively unfamiliar period of history.” Jesus lordy. And the actress looks nothing like E., apart from the hair we see too much of. I don’t think the occasional guy’s outfit–that nice shirt!–are enough to save this one. (Has Starz ever done an all-the-way decent series? I tried watching “Dublin Murders,” non-historical drama based on the great Tana French’s first two crime novels, and thought they left out almost element that makes her books so good.)

  2. If they to decide to portray the truth about how Elizabeth was a victim of CSA by her guardian Thomas Seymour, then that would honestly be a breath of fresh air, and a genuinely good reason for another series about her, because the other Elizabeth portrayals I’ve seen usually either ignore it, or decide to turn it “romantic! (🤢🤮) instead.
    And it is an important topic, Elizabeth I was one of the highest ranking women in the land, she was the daughter of Henry VIII, and the sister of Edward VI, and she was still molested by her step-mother’s husband. And 500 years later, some people are still trying to defend Seymour, or claim 14year old Elizabeth “wanted” his attentions (despite the record showing that she would wake up earlier and earlier to escape him coming to tickle her while she was still in bed, and her “let him not touch me” message to Catherine Parr)

    1. And the creepy incident of Catherine Parr hold her as he cuts up her dress with garden tools – between that and what happened to her mother, it’s no wonder she never married! Sheesh.

    2. Good point. Young teenagers were considered marriageable–or at least betrothable–then, but that doesn’t mean Elizabeth wasn’t terrified, however attractive Seymour was. I tried to read a Philippa Fucking Gregory novel about all this, and when it became obvious that she was slut-shaming E, back it went to the library with a 0-stars review,

    3. People tend to confuse the 25 year old queen with the 14 year old girl. Yes Elizabeth loved to flirt, but what they miss is as Queen she was in charge! She decided how far the horseplay would go and if she said stop it STOPPED. The 14 year old princess had no control at all. Seymour intruded on her at will and did what he liked and ignored her noes. She may well have had a teeny bopper crush on her step-stepfather that didn’t mean she welcomed being embarrassed and molested by him! She did try to avoid him. She called her maids in to protect her and hid behind her bed curtains. But the worst part was the women she loved and depended on did NOTHING to protect her!!! Ashley, her governess, seems to have been crushing on Seymour herself and thought he was the perfect man for Elizabeth. Catherine Parr was clearly in massive denial not wanting to face the fact her dream lover was a scuzzball. Elizabeth must have doubted the validity of her own feelings when governess and stepmother alike were all but telling her the behavior upsetting her was no biggie!

  3. Two things caught my eye: little Lady Marmont as Lady Jane Grey, and a puppy. Might watch for those. I need a puppy. (Well, a young adult dog, but that’s OT.)

  4. I agree that Elizabeth’s story has been told over and over and other historical figures should get a chance, but I will say in fairness that this part of her life doesn’t tend to get covered much. Elizabeth (1998) and The Virgin Queen (2005) both start with her being taken to the Tower during Mary’s reign. Elizabeth R starts with Henry’s death, iirc, but then it skips over most of Edward’s reign. The only movie I know of which focused on that period was Young Bess, which was almost 70 years ago(!) and took a lot of historical liberties, from what I know.

    So if we were getting another Elizabeth series, I’m glad it’s at least focusing on a period in her life that tends to get less attention. There’s a lot of interesting ground to cover – and i’m hoping, for example, that in this day and age we can see a nuanced and thoughtful portrayal of how what Thomas Seymour did was taking advantage of her, instead of it being romanticized. Let’s hope that’s not too much to ask of this series!

  5. In terms of historical fiction, I would love to see Sharon Kay Penman’s books turned into series. The Plantagenets were pretty interesting characters!

    1. Indeed! An adaptation of “The Sunne In Splendour” would be THE one to begin with. Penman’s take on the battle for the English throne between the Empress Maude and Stephen, “When Christ and His Saints Slept,” would be an excellent study of male resistance to the idea of a woman as Queen Regnant. I’d also like to see Elizabeth Chadwick’s three books on Eleanor of Aquitaine brought to the screen, as well as her series on William Marshall.

      1. I loved Chadwick’s Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy! A screen adaptation of those would be great.

        1. I’ve wanted a film version of Penman’s “Here Be Dragons’ for years- particularly that scene when Joanna curtseys to Llewelyn in front of the entire English court. Drama, tangled family loyalties, gorgeous scenery (I visited what is thought to be Joanna’s coffin on Anglesey once)- move aside, Tudors!

      2. “The Sunne in Splendour,” yes! I reread it every several or so years. (Even though Anne Neville says at one point that her mother was never there for her.) Penman’s battle scenes are marvelous; you can describe well and provide decent dialog, but action is hard to write.

      3. I highly agree. I adore both of these authors. It’s really time to go and give some attention to that time period.

  6. Won’t touch it with a stick. But if Starz producers want to scratch that itch by making something strictly Tudor and court related, they’d better make series about Anne of Cleves, told entirely from her perspective and including her family from Germany, life after divorce etc. That would be hundred times more interesting.

    1. And leave out that she apparently had sex with Henry, because that NEVER happened (I’m looking at you, The Tudors).

      1. Henry made a huge point of how he couldn’t manage to get it up for Anne, and that’s not the kind of thing a man likes to admit to.
        Anne herself seems to have believed their abortive night or two together was ‘consummation’ and was vastly relieved when Henry left off trying. They continued to share a bed nightly but according to Anne herself physical contact was limited to good night and good morning kisses which was TOTALLY fine by her!
        She either believed that this, and the unpleasant feeling up she’d suffered on her first few nights of marriage, was all that was necessary for conception or possibly she was putting her ladies on. Either way she readily supported Henry’s story of non consummation.

    2. I agree with you! Anne is one of the most interesting of Henry’s wives because she’s the most successful. The marriage was terrible but the divorce was grand! She got a generous settlement, the status and precedent of The King’s Sister and even Henry’s friendship and favor. It was a total win!
      After Henry’s death things got rougher for her. She suffered from the disastrous Edwardian economy and may have had an attack of homesickness but she was favored by Mary I and treated as a member of the Royal family, riding with Elizabeth in Mary’s coronation procession and being buried in Westminster Abbey, the only one of the Six Wives so honored.

  7. Why aren’t there any dramas done about Catherine Howard? She’s probably the most underrated of Henry’s wives, and it would be way more interesting to have a show or movie focusing on someone who’s not always Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII, or Elizabeth I.

    BTW, there’s another Tudor-related drama on Channel 5 about Anne Boleyn, and it’s…controversial.

    1. I would love a good show about Howard, especially if they focused on how truly effed up her story is, and not “Behold the young vixen!”

      And I agree with Natasha, this is a part of E’s life that we don’t hear much of. Most of the Yay QEI movies are adulthood. It’ll be interesting to see a perspective from when he brother is on the throne.

      1. Little Cat Howard was, like Elizabeth, molested as a pubescent and exposed to a fairly wild sexual scene in the maiden’s dormitory. It seems clear she was intent on catching herself a decent husband, that being her only hope of any kind of a life, and she had to do it without a dowry or much in the way of connections, being just a poor relation of the Howards. Francis Dereham must have struck her as just about the best she could hope for. She does not seem to have grasped the fact that she had pretty much married herself to him however irregularly because she eagerly grasped at a chance to do better at court. And you can certainly understand why any girl would go whole hog for the chance to be Queen of England.
        Unfortunately Catherine was bright or educated enough to understand how her past put her at risk. She definitely should have settled for being a mistress! Too many people knew about her and Dereham for marriage to Henry to be safe. And her family certainly didn’t give her any guidance!
        But you can’t call a girl who most likely slept with only two men in her life, and was after a fashion married to both, promiscuous! The affair with Culpeper was seriously stupid, and was he ever a piece of work!

  8. As far as young Elizabeth, to this day I will take Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis’ version with elves over ANYTHING written by PFG. It was INCREDIBLY well-researched and plausible, even down to whether Denno saved her ass as many times as he did. :) (Seriously, her youth was so incredibly fraught that I’m fairly certain God intervened a few times on her behalf – so elves aren’t all that implausible.) If you’ve never read it, they’re each fat, luscious books… starts with This Scepter’d Isle about Harry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond. https://www.thriftbooks.com/series/doubled-edge/48240/

    1. I’m not the only one! I love love love that series and re-read it about every other year. The clothes! The politics! The pretty pretty elves!

      And you can buy the e-books DRM-free from the publisher (Baen).

  9. If you want an idea of the potential for films about intelligent, powerful, charismatic women for the 16th century alone, read “Game of Queens: the women who made Sixteenth-Century Europe” by Sarah Grestwood. Enough material there for, well, a century of good movies/

  10. I have to say, even this period of Elizabeth’s life has been covered in a non-romanticized way before. The first episode of Elizabeth R covers her life from her father’s death to her becoming queen. So while the production values look decent, this is well-trodden ground.

  11. Some of these look really quite good, but based on the preview… I’m a bit skeptical. I can’t say I have a particularly deep knowledge of 16th century England, but come on, Henry VIII, his wives, and his daughters (and grandniece) have been the subject of a lot of movies, tv shows, and plays. I don’t get the channels that do this stuff, so I look forward to seeing your costume review here when you get to it.

    Also can I just say, I love the whole dress+partlet thing. Can that be a look again?

  12. The Pastons what about them? Over 100 years of great commentary. Or Morocco?

  13. I’d watch a show on the Dudleys, Walter Raleigh, wm. Cecil, James 1 of England, ANY of the monarchs in europe, Elizabeth Bathory or anyone except for the murdering Tudors (regicides all )

    1. Very interesting video! Her hoods look very good. Startling idea that the crescent part lay flat.

    1. Game of Kings was picked up by the people who did Poldark, and BBC were looking for a US co-production company, but nothing’s been heard for a couple of years.

    2. My thought too. Just imagine the gorgeousness of the scenes in Constantinople! (And the horror…) Slata Baba and Ivan the Terrible! The Tour des Minimes. Even just GoK has some amazing bits in it – Hexham Abbey, for example.

      Alternatively I would love a series based on the actors and writers who were Shakespeare’s friends and colleagues. Not a comedy, fun though “Upstart Crow” is, but a proper historical series. There are so many great stories.

  14. The only complaint I have about the French hoods is they aren’t as ornately trimmed as they should be. But then neither are the gowns. Where are the pearl and jeweled billiments and borders?

  15. To be honest I can’t get enough of the Tudor era so I can’t relate with you on that lmao but what I have gotten enough of is inaccurate “historical” movies and tv shows. Instead of them being 100% accurate or at least as close to that number as possible they ALWAYS add modern day stuff (like you said history is PLENTY interesting on it’s own so it definitely doesn’t need any fluffing)- humans have always been the same no matter the time period the only difference is clothing and societal rules that’s it but when it comes to the people who make this stuff they treat people from the past like they weren’t even human beings and were boring.

    The only issue I have with the movie tho (based on the trailer) is the fact that it feels modern just in Tudor era clothing (sadly this can be said about all the “historical” movies and tv shows i’ve come across over the past couple of years). There were so many inaccuracies in just the trailer alone that it drove me crazy, the actress who plays Elizabeth looks WAY too old because at the time this is supposed to take place she was a young teenager yet the actress looks like she’s in her mid 20’s at the very least, other then the actor who plays Edward and Elizabeth I have no idea who’s who, if that guy they always show Elizabeth talking to in the trailer is supposed to be Seymour why tf did they have Elizabeth kissing/trying to kiss him (the piece of shit was likely sexually abusing her and while she might’ve had an innocent crush on him in the beginning his actions were not reciprocated or appreciated going by what we know so for them to “romanticize” that if it’s who I think it is is gross and if that guy isn’t Seymour who tf is it? The actor is clearly playing a close to middle aged man and as far as we know other then Robert Dudley and Seymour there was no other men so what’s going on with that), like I said before this feels modern just in Tudor era clothing so it didn’t give off that old world vibe so to speak and finally in my opinion none of the actors or actresses even remotely encompassed the people they’re playing (other then the reddish gold hair the actress playing Elizabeth looks and acts nothing like the real Elizabeth going by what we know, the same thing can be said about Edward, about all of them). There’s so many complaints I have but i’ll leave it at that.

    Honestly it’s not even surprising that I ended up being let down by this because like I said “historical” movies and tv shows for the past couple of years are a joke.

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