The White Queen is a TV series which premiered on June 16, 2013 on BBC One and began broadcasting in America on August 10, 2013 on the Starz network. Set in the the tumultuous times in the War of the Roses, the series centers around Elizabeth Woodville, Anne Neville and Margaret Beaufort.
It is based on the "The Cousins' War" Series by Phillipa Gregory, namely The White Queen, The Red Queen and The King Maker's Daughter.
I give this TV show a 3/5. Considering the three books this series is based on I am not going to hold the plot against the show because I've already talked about it. What I will say is that I am not a fan of the whole witchcraft thing. As for the acting, the only person who stood out to me was Aneurin Barnard, who made a great Duke of Gloucester. Amanda Hale and James Frain, who played the Earl of Warwick, were not bad either. Fayes Marsay shows herself to be a rising star. Otherwise everyone else was either hit or miss for me.
The characterization and writing was incredibly disappointing. The transition between the beloved York Prince to the "evil" Richard III was so sudden it comes off as unnatural. Isabel Neville flip flopped left and right without there being much need to. Anne Neville goes from "Let's not get carried away calling Elizabeth a witch" to "BURN THE WITCH" in two seconds flat. There was a very weird paradox where Margaret Beaufort was extremely religious and at the same time openly lusting after Jasper Tudor. I was not a fan of the crazy fanaticism either - I understand that Margaret Beaufort was indeed religious but they seemed to have taken it to a whole new level in the first few episodes. Thank goodness they toned it down later on in the series. Needless to say, the characterization was down right bad.
Worst of all was the production value. The sets and costumes were lackluster. I understand that they couldn't afford a ship or 3 battle scenes but I felt they could have done better than just stating, "There was a battle and I am King. Oh wait, he is king. Nope, I am king again. Oops, another battle happened." Edward IV had a slow decline into excess until he started looking like his grandson, Henry VIII, and how did The White Queen present this? They stuffed a pillow down Max Iron's shirt. None of the rest of him filled out....just his shirt. The funniest scene, in my opinion, was when Edward said, "We are not young, Elizabeth", when they looked exactly as they had in the first episode.
I will take a step back and say that I did enjoy the show to a certain degree and don't regret spending an hour each Sunday to enjoy the latest episode. One perk to the show was that we saw the romance between Richard and Anne, it's one of the few works to feature these two lovebirds. Still, I would only recommend it for people especially interested in the War of the Roses and not just anyone who is looking for a nice period drama. It starts out incredibly rough but gets better and better towards the end.
Stay tuned for my review of the fifth book in the Cousin's War Series The White Princess