So, "The White Princess" opens up with an understandably-defiant and upset Lizzie. I think the show does a really great job letting us see inside the mind of this character right from the start - showing flashbacks to Richard and allowing us to understand her mindset as she is forced to enter into a marriage with the killer of her love. (I'm not saying I like the storyline involving Richard-Lizzie relations, but that's neither here nor there).
I don't want to give too much of this series away, because I've learned through my Facebook page that many people in other countries haven't yet gotten to see it. But I'll hit on some of the things I liked most about the show, as well as the things I don't think worked so well, hopefully without giving away too many spoilers.
The Characters: All character portrayals in this show were, in my opinion, perfect. Lizzie (played by Jodie Comer) was brilliantly-done, and it was so impressive to see her attitude shift throughout all eight episodes. Henry Tudor (played by Jacob Collins-Levy) was equally good, showing both the softer and the harsher, more paranoid sides of the king. One of the best-played characters was Margaret Beaufort, who we all love to hate. She was played by Michelle Fairley, who clearly can do no wrong (we've loved her since "Game of Thrones"). I don't have a single complaint about the characters, and I think their portrayals in the show was one of the strongest features of the series.
The Character Development: Every single character evolves into something else during the course of the eight episodes, and it's exceptionally well done. Of course, we follow Lizzie's story the most (hence the name of the series), and hers is one of the most powerful transformations. She starts the series as a headstrong, sassy York princess, and by the end she's a dignified, protective Tudor queen - her loyalty shifting quite poignantly from the white rose to the red (or red-and-white, I suppose). MUCH happens throughout this development (with some decisions/attitudes that fans of Lizzie won't like), but there's no denying that the evolution of her character is striking. This can be said for all of them -- Henry Tudor becomes less and less sure of himself and his claim throughout the series, relying more on his wife than we'd ever have suspected at the beginning. Margaret Plantagenet grows into herself as she strives to protect her poor brother, Teddy, and fight for the house of York... a move we wouldn't have predicted, as she began the series as a shy, quiet, and frightened girl. Margaret Beaufort even takes on a (somewhat) more humble persona by the end, though her drive for power never truly goes away. By the eighth episode, though, she seems at least slightly more human. Not a single character in this series remains stagnant, and that's impressive. Through turmoil and drama, each one is challenged to become something they weren't at the beginning - for better or for worse. In my opinion, this is a victory both for the actors and the writers, because it's pulled off authenticaly and beautifully.
The Costumes: These weren't wholly bad, but they got more and more laughable as the series progressed - to the point that I actually wondered at times if they had been taken right out of "Game of Thrones". Lizzie's later costumes, as she's transforming more and more into a Tudor queen, take on a more fantasy-like appearance than I think was truly authentic. While I liked her earlier dresses, I had to shake my head at these. Margaret Beaufort's, too, were questionable. The men's costumes seemed more realistic, however.
The Cast Change from "The White Queen": While this is only a half-complaint, I remain confused about why this show took on an almost-completely new cast for the sequel series. We'd already established the majority of the characters with the actors used in the "The White Queen", so I'm not sure why there was a switch up. The only actor who remained in this series was Caroline Goodall, who played Duchess Cecily. The fact that they did keep ONE former cast member only added to my confusion. This is a half-complaint because, as I previously explained, I loved the cast in this show. I thought all were phenomenal and portrayed their characters very well. I just don't understand the shake-up, and it threw me off in the first episode.
The Length: This is a no-brainer. The series is too short! Eight episodes is simply not enough time to establish all that could have been done with a series about young Henry Tudor's reign, and I can't help but feel like there were crucial details left out, as a result of it being only a miniseries. I had the same complaint about "The White Queen". This series only spans the years 1485-1499, with the execution of Perkin Warbeck (not really a spoiler for anyone who'd read history). Little Prince Arthur is still alive at the finale, with his marriage arrangements to the Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon finally established. My only hope is that STARZ will continue with yet another series, documenting the later years of Henry Tudor, Lizzie's death, and the transition into young Henry VIII's reign and marriage to Catherine. SO much could still be done, and since it's been several years since "The Tudors" was created on Showtime, I don't necessarily think it's too soon for a revival or remake of this period of history on TV.
If you tuned into "The White Princess", please share your thoughts and opinions! I'm interested to know what my fellow Tudor enthusiasts thought of this series, and how they might like to see it continue with another series (if we get lucky enough).
Thanks for taking the time to read my review, and for those who haven't yet gotten to watch this great show, be patient! I promise you it will be worth the wait.