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29 October 2014 @ 11:12 pm
uh what  
(I had to use this icon. I mean, Shakespeare and witches, on TV?)

My best friend sent me a screencap of this article the other day, but I didn't have a chance to go looking for it until now:

Mark Harmon Developing Young William Shakespeare Drama for CW

"Described as a tale of black magic, romance and revenge, the drama is set in 1590s London and chronicles a young Will Shakespeare's rise to prominence as he finds himself caught in a deadly conflict among three witches and the most powerful woman in the world, Queen Elizabeth. The project is described as having the grit of HBO's hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones with the wit and heart of Shakespeare in Love."

I don't…particularly see those two things going together? At all? And presumably - this being the CW - we can expect all the historical accuracy and coherence of Reign. I'm mildly terrified.

(This is probably the wrong place for this gripe, but I really wish that costume drama in general - and historical fiction, especially set in the Tudor period - weren't so tied to real historical people. I get that it's an easy pitch - it's a movie about Jane Austen in a love story of her own! or whatever - but it's lazy and often not particularly useful, since they don't generally manage to dramatize any of the actual interesting things in that historical figure's life, and make up confusing, nonsensical plots instead. [Seriously, why would you make an Elizabeth I movie and then not use the Tilbury speech when it's right there? Why is the film The Duchess so DULL when Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire's life was so interesting? Why is Becoming Jane, at all?] I feel like I would be seventeen times more interested in this show if it weren't about a young William Shakespeare.)

(There are at least two books out at the moment that I have just put down at the library/bookstore, or preemptively put down - one of them isn't out yet - because I can't be bothered with Will Shakespeare Sexytimes: Dark Aemilia by Sally O'Reilly - even though I would actually be interested in a novel about Aemilia Lanyer (though I'd prefer a biography) - and The Tutor by Andrea Chapin. It's not even because I've already read tons of these, because I haven't. [Is the only novel I've read that's predominantly about Shakespeare - as opposed to containing a Shakespeare cameo - The Players by Stephanie Cowell? That can't be right, can it? … Maybe it is. I read Grace Tiffany's My Father Had a Daughter - how could I not, it played right to my Judith-as-Viola feelings - but I never got around to reading Will...] My brain just ughs off of these books, for some reason. And yet Shakespeare in Love is one of my favorite movies...)

Also contained within this article:

This development season, The CW also is exploring the 20-something years of Charles Darwin and his journey through the Amazon with Unnatural Selection.

A.J. Odasso: Deliriumajodasso on October 30th, 2014 01:40 pm (UTC)
...that could either go spectacularly well or spectacularly wrong, and I'm sad to say I'm betting on the latter.
tempestsarekind: peddlers of bombasttempestsarekind on October 30th, 2014 08:19 pm (UTC)
So am I. :) It's not that you couldn't make a good show about Shakespeare, but I am not at all convinced that these are the people to do it.
negothicknegothick on October 30th, 2014 02:05 pm (UTC)
One wonders sometimes how these movies and TV shows keep getting financing. Who do they think their audience will be? It can't be "academics and other Shakespeare/Austen/ Darwin scholars," or they wouldn't feel the need to dumb down the scripts. I guess that the rare breakout film or show--like Shakespeare in Love or Game of Thrones--makes producers believe that the "general audience"(however defined) will somehow buy anything even vaguely similar. I can hear the elevator pitches now: "It's like Game of Thrones, only with Shakespeare"; "It's like Downton Abbey, only with Jane Austen"; "It's like. . .I don't know what!. . ., only with Darwin."
litlover12 on October 30th, 2014 05:53 pm (UTC)
Crazy, isn't it? I think they're drawing historical names out of a hat at this point.
tempestsarekind: historiestempestsarekind on October 30th, 2014 08:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah - why Shakespeare, now? The Hollow Crown wasn't such a big deal that I'd expect it to have sparked this show, and otherwise I can't figure it out.
tempestsarekind: the man himselftempestsarekind on October 30th, 2014 08:21 pm (UTC)
I actually can't figure out how one could mash up Shakespeare and Game of Thrones - I mean, Shakespeare himself, who…sat around and wrote plays, and acted a bit? Unless "Game of Thrones" actually means "anything even remotely fantasy-like" in this case.
(Deleted comment)
tempestsarekind: arthur clennam [little dorrit]tempestsarekind on November 2nd, 2014 12:54 am (UTC)
Yes, that's the unfortunate bit: it could be a great subject for a TV show or miniseries, but the CW does not have the best track record! Still, you're right: maybe there will be giant tortoises!