As this was the premiere episode of The White Queen, I kept a very open mind going into it. I was SO excited for this show, and I have to say it did not disappoint me! Here I will post some things that stuck out to me about this episode. (Warning: Spoilers!)
- Brilliant cinematography. You can definitely tell that this is a UK production, based on the camera angles, slow motion horseback riding scenes, and overall style. I found myself enthralled with the way the show was shot just by the opening scene - which was a beautiful snowy battlefield scene. Gorgeous, really. I'm really going to enjoy the creative ways this show was filmed!
- Rebecca Ferguson and Max Irons make for a very believable (and attractive) Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV. Their chemistry onscreen is tangible, and so far the personalities they convey through the screen are almost exactly what I pictured when reading The White Queen myself.
- I'm not sure if it's just my ignorance of Plantagenet era clothing, but I'm not a huge fan of the costumes. First of all, the headwear is hideous - (What the HECK was on Duchess Cecily's head?) The dresses, too, are so plain I can hardly stand it! One of the things that made The Tudors so fun to watch was the beautifully ornate (yes, I know, inaccurate...) costumes! So far I'm not loving these costumes, but it might just show my preference for Tudor clothes...
- James Frain's portrayal of Lord Warwick is EXCELLENT so far! His yelling match with Edward about his choice of a bride really showed his talent at playing a character who is so hard-headed and intense! His sarcasm and cynical comments throughout the episode also showed Warwick as just the kind of character I have always pictured him - I'm going to love to hate him!
Jacquetta Rivers - No question! Janet McTeer plays her BEAUTIFULLY, and I think she is by far the most bada$$ character so far. Her conversation with her husband Baron Rivers regarding their family's loyalty to either the Yorkists or Lancastrians was second only to her fantastic confrontation with Duchess Cecily upon her arrival at Edward's court. Some of her lines in this episode were priceless! What a strong, intelligent, and faithful woman - just as I thought when reading The Lady of the Rivers. Her mentioning of the family line to the water goddess Melusina was also well done - not over-the-top superstitious or magical, and I don't think that aspect of her will define her character, which I admit is a relief. I actually found myself thinking during this episode, "She is a cool mom!" Loving, kind, fierce, and smart...she is by far the coolest character in my opinion so far.
I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of the love scenes and nudity - let's face it, we all knew there would be some of it in a period piece! However, I was a little surprised by some of it. I admit to being a bit of a prude when watching this kind of thing... honestly, I don't see the point of it in most cases. Isn't the historical story intriguing enough to keep viewers engaged without showing so much friskiness? For example, in a scene where Elizabeth and her sisters are bathing and dressing in preparation to see the king, we see one of the women in the bathtub with her breasts fully exposed, as if we see that kind of thing all the time on American television! I'm not saying there is anything wrong with it - but it seemed a bit unnecessary, given the innocence of the scene. The first love scene between Elizabeth and Edward, also, was a bit more than I bargained for. (On that note, does Elizabeth's chest really need to be consistently uncovered by the sheets every time they wake up in the morning?!) These scenes definitely rivaled The Tudors, but thankfully didn't quite meet Game of Thrones status. In my opinion, a love scene needs to be really tastefully done in order for me to be perfectly okay with it - but I had braced myself beforehand for this kind of content. Call me old fashioned, but I'm way more interested in the great lines, beautiful acting, and cinematography, rather than the sexy and very naked scenes!
Overall I was really pleased with this pilot episode. It was generally what I expected - a lot of romance, strong-willed characters, and some excellent and witty lines. This hour took us from Elizabeth's first meeting with Edward, through her secret wedding and arrival to court, until her first premonition that a woman in red will have her blood on her hands. I'm anxious now to see more of Richard and George, Edward's brothers - especially Richard! I'm also quite excited to see the family dynamic of the Nevilles, and I'm really interested to see how Anne Neville is played by Faye Marsay. We'll also see some great Jacquetta and Warwick action, I'm sure! I can't wait for the second episode this coming Saturday, because I have a feeling this miniseries is going to unfold beautifully over the course of the season!
I hope you also enjoyed this first episode of The White Queen! Leave your comments below to let me know your thoughts. Don't forget to tune into Starz on Saturday for the second episode: The Price of Power.