The Devil’s Whore and New Worlds are two different Channel 4 (UK) miniseries set in the 17th century. The Devil’s Whore came out back in 2008, and New Worlds has recently become available in the US (and I just finished watching it), so you’re getting a two-for-one, as I review both!
The Devil’s Whore (2008)
Here’s the review I wrote for my own blog, back when I watched The Devil’s Whore a few years ago:
I totally missed this British miniseries when it came out, and I confess, the title conversely made me think of cranky Puritans and boring giant-white-collar butter-churny dresses … I was wrong! This was GREAT, and the costumes were gorgeous! Andrea Riseborough stars as the fictional English aristocrat who is a part of Charles I’s court and then is caught up with Oliver Cromwell and Co. during the English Civil War.
Sure, it’s awfully convenient that Angelica happens to be involved with all of these key people, as well as different events and movements of the period, but hey, that’s the fun of good historical fiction. She starts off young and somewhat unsure and, over the course of many trials and tribulations, finds (A) love and (B) herself … and Michael Fassbender plays her love interest, which: RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
Dominic West plays Cromwell, and while West can be attractive, he’s definitely not in this!
The costumes were gorgeous, with Riseborough in various beautiful 1650s-60s-esque dresses.
They did stick with basically the same dress cut throughout the film, which ignores the developments of women’s styles over time, and they definitely needed more petticoats under the gowns.
Okay, and sometimes the off-the-shoulder was WAY too off-the-shoulder.
I don’t know enough about men’s costume of this era to be able to say whether it was accurate or not — it certainly looked good to my eye, but maybe you can tell me more!
If you like historical fiction (and I do), you’ll like this.
New Worlds (2014)
New Worlds tells the story of people trying to create “new worlds” on both sides of the Atlantic. The main characters are Beth (daughter of Angelica, the lead character of The Devil’s Whore, who is now a utopian aristocrat), Abe (son of a English Civil War general), Hope (tomboy-ish, independent Massachusettsan), and Ned (son of a wealthy Massachusetts landowner). Supposedly I should remember Ned and Hope from The Devil’s Whore, but I don’t.
Good Things About New Worlds:
- Jeremy Northam as Charles II. Yes, cartoony evil villain Charles II, but whatever!
- Some surprisingly good dresses, mainly on Beth (costumes designed by Lucinda Wright).
- At one point, Beth ends up meeting Masca, who is HOT HOT HOT.
- Some surprisingly good full-bottomed wigs. A few of them were a little off, but by and large, I liked them!
- Eve Best, who played Angelica (the main character in The Devil’s Whore and Beth’s mother) was really quite good, AND I liked seeing a slightly older woman who looked very elegant. Sadly, I can’t find any pictures of her dressed up elegantly.
- The story actually took into account the perspectives of Native Americans and had white characters who came to understand and argue for their rights. Now, they may have gone a little TOO overboard in terms of whether the English would have actually been open to the indigenous perspectives, but at the same time, too few costume movies ever take into account the perspectives of the people who were getting the shaft (indigenous populations, slaves, etc.) — usually those people are just whitewashed out of the story.
Preposterous Things About New Worlds:
- I am concerned that the hairdressers of the film/TV industry are on strike. Why else is hair like this such a trend in most historical movies/TV shows?
- In the same vein, Jamie Dornan as Abe had the WORLD’S WORST SEMI-MULLET EVER.
- Apparently you can get from England to Massachusetts in about a day.
- Apparently ladies in utopian societies ran around in their shifts/chemises and nothing else. Also, if someone kills a deer in front of you, apparently you are likely to have blood sprayed ALL over you, and you are unlikely to notice.
- Get kidnapped by a hot outlaw? It apparently takes about 2.5 seconds before you’re in boy-drag fighting the power with him:
- If you’re trying to pass as a boy, make sure to leave your long blonde locks flowing. Nobody will notice.
In the end, it’s relatively entertaining, and you can join me in the eye-rolling and general scoffing!
Here’s how you can watch New Worlds: