Tag Archives: Starz

Becoming Elizabeth Review

I find the origin stories of famous historical figures to be fascinating. Knowing who they were before allows us to understand them as fully formed human beings, not just names in a textbook.

The new Starz series, Becoming Elizabeth, is the origin story of Elizabeth I of England. Then known as Elizabeth Tudor (Alicia von Rittberg), her world turns upside when her father, Henry VIII dies. Though it is her younger brother, Edward VI (Oliver Zetterström) ascends to the throne, neither she nor her elder sister Mary I (Romola Garai) are free from court intrigue. She must both deal with being a teenager and the very tricky politics of sex, religion, and power.

I am hooked so far. The young lady we are watching on screen is both ordinary and extraordinary. Her ordinariness comes from experiencing the same growing pains that we all went through at that age. The extraordinariness comes from being seen as nothing but chattel while using every tool at her disposal to survive. It is brilliant, it is entertaining, and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Becoming Elizabeth airs on Sunday night on Starz at 8PM.

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Throwback Thursday: The White Queen (2013)

Women have always been the power behind the throne. But for all of that power, we are still fighting for the right to be acknowledged as leaders.

The 2013 Starz ten-part miniseries, The White Queen, takes place during the War of the Roses in 15th century England. The prequel to The White Princess, the series follows three women who all vie for the throne. The first woman is Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson), whose marriage to Edward IV (Max Irons), is not exactly welcomed with open arms. The second is Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale), the matriarch of the future Tudor dynasty. The third woman is Anne Neville (Faye Marsay).

As each woman battles it out for her right to the crown, the country is thrown into a bloody battle. Someone is going to walk away the winner, but not before lives are lost and history is forever changed.

The series was and still is, intriguing. Obviously, being an American, this subject was not part of the curriculum while I was in school. While the casting is spot on and I love that the women are front and center, I found that the ending lagged a little bit. Other than that, it is thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Gaslit Review

The definition of gaslighting is as follows:

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which the abuser attempts to sow self-doubt and confusion in their victim’s mind.

The new Starz series, Gaslit, premiered last Sunday. Set in the 1970s, it follows the events of the Watergate scandal. Martha Mitchell (Julia Roberts) is the outspoken wife of John Mitchell (Sean Penn), who was then the Attorney General under the late President Richard Nixon. Together with John Dean (Dan Stevens), their goal is to ensure that the President is re-elected, even if it means using less than honorable or legal means.

Martha becomes an unlikely hero for democracy as she realizes that her husband is in on the scheme and does everything she can (in her own way of course), to save the nation and her man.

What I am enjoying so far is that the spotlight is not on the usual suspects (i.e men), but on the women whose heroic acts are either ignored or downsized. I also like that Martha is unwilling to stay silent in the face of truth, even if it means opening the door to trouble. The acting is fantastic, the storytelling (so far at least) is easily watchable, and the politics is a reminder that even though it’s been 50-ish years, nothing has changed.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Gaslit airs on Starz on Sunday night at 8PM.

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Outlander Season 6 Review

I apologize for the late publishing of this review. Life got in the way.

Warning: this review has spoilers from the end of season 5. Read at your own risk if you have not seen season 5.

For as much creativity as it takes to start a new narrative, it takes more creativity to continue in multiple segments. The writer(s) must be willing and able to expand their horizons and allow the characters to grow beyond their initial storyline.

The new season of Outlander premiered earlier this month on Starz. It starts not long after the previous season ended. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is still dealing with the emotional effects of being kidnapped and raped. Up until this point, she has been able to present a strong front and now show any weaknesses. But the experience has started to break down those walls.

In addition to being concerned about his wife, Jamie (Sam Heughan) is dealing with problems from his past and his present. Meeting up with an old rival, Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones), and his children Malva (Jessica Reynolds) and Allan (Alexander Vlahos), he comes face to face with a part of his life he would rather forget. While this is happening, the Revolutionary War is slowly getting closer to Fraser’s Ridge, threatening to upend the lives of its residents.

So far, this season has lived up to my expectations and then some. What I love is that the first few episodes have focused on where the characters are emotionally. Add in the clouds of war on the horizon and the reaction will be nothing short of explosive.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Outlander airs on Sunday night at 9PM on Starz.

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Outlander Review

The narrative of a stranger in a strange land is one of humanities oldest stories.

Outlander (based on the books of the same name by Diana Gabaldon) premiered on Starz back in 2014. In post World War II Scotland, former British military nurse Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) is enjoying a second honeymoon with husband Frank (Tobias Menzies). Then somehow, she is sent back two hundred years in the past. In order to survive, she marries Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).

Can she return to her own time and if she can’t, what changes must she make to adapt?

I am presently about 2/3rds of the way though the first season. Though I never read the books and cannot make any comparisons to the series, I am enjoying it. It has elements of the different genres that play well together to create a story that is engaging and very entertaining.

I absolutely recommend it.

Outlander is now streaming on Netflix.

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