Reformation Soap Operas

“Those eyes are like dark hooks for the soul,” says Sir Thomas Boleyn of his daughter Anne in The Tudors. I must confess that I am awaiting March 30th anxiously, for that is the date that Showtime’s addictive saga The Tudors returns for its second season. Those of you fortunate enough to see season one already know why this is a date worthy of celebration. It is much akin to Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V, an adaptation of an English king that was worthy of at least two cinematic viewings alone. The St. Crispen’s Day speech was everything Shakespeare could have possibly intended when he penned those magnificent lines:

And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, 
From this day to the ending of the world, 
But we in it shall be remembered-
    We few, we happy few,

Just remembering that scene still gives me chills . . .

But back to The Tudors. It is breathtaking in its own right, and makes me yearn to be in a Shakespearean seminar. Henry VIII is played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and he is nothing like Richard Burton’s stocky, hammy Henry of Anne of a Thousand Days. This Henry is sexy, menacing, brooding, and has enough hubris to be believable. The characters major and minor are wonderfully cast, the writing rich, the setting palatial but time-appropriate. Not that I am a film critic.

The wonderful thing about having On Demand cable is that I was able to catch up on season 1 in one week. That’s not to say that it didn’t make me sleep-deprived, but it was a sacrifice I’d gladly make again. I even managed to turn my husband into a Tudors’ junkie. I’m thinking of watching the last few shows again just before the 30th just to refresh my memory so that I’ll be in peak viewing shape when the curtain rises on season 2, just after Wolsley has gotten his just desserts.

Just in case you might be wondering why on earth I’m writing about a television series on a blog about writing, then you obviously haven’t seen this series. Each show leaves me breathless and wishing that I had written just a few lines of the dialogue, such as the one with which I opened this entry. How often have you wanted to describe someone’s eyes but been unable to find just the right words? Have you ever thought to use the word hooks? I know that I haven’t. So I’ll keep watching and listening with my ears attuned to the words as they tumble out of the actors’ mouths like ripened fruits, moist and luscious, wishing that I could taste them so that I could better know them, how to access them. To write like that, to be part of the few, the happy few . . .

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