In June 2016 I watched the first two episodes of the BBC series, Versailles, starring George Blagden. This blogpost contains my first impressions of the series.
I’m going to be honest. OK?
OK? Let’s go!
I didn’t like the first episode as much as I thought I was going to. I still thought it was certainly interesting, and if anything it made me want to find out more about the historical characters involved.
I just felt as if the first episode wanted to start off with a bang flash wallop, along with as munch blood, sweat and bodily fluids as they could cram into an hour long episode. I couldn’t connect to any of the characters because I just felt listless watching more explicit scenes one after another, thinly strung together with a flimsy excuse for a plot. It wasn’t until the second episode that things began to get interesting and there began to be something resembling a narrative.
The main reason I watched this series was for George Blagden, here in the role of Louis XVI himself. I know that his reputation was one of an unfaithful philanderer but this series presents it as especially problematic because he would rut with anything that stood still for long enough. He also seemed to be someone who played mind games with those around him and with the members of his court. It also seems that a person’s position at court was always hanging by a fine thread.
What I did like mostly was the use of natural lighting so it really did feel as if we were truly caked in the same mire as the characters. Strange that I should mention the lighting above the acting or ever characterization but unfortunately it is so.
However, that being said, the moment when a dying young boy longed to be living in Versailles was quite poignant and quite a sharp change in tone compared to what had been happening for the duration of the hour.
MY RATING: *** / *****