Versailles (2015 TV Series – BBC Two, Canal+)

versailles4 Kernels

Finally, streaming on Amazon is Versailles.  The first three episodes are up to devour.  New episodes are posted weekly.  Is it worth the $2.99 per episode (first one free with Prime)?   Episode 1  Absolutely.

Versailles begins in 1667 with the 28-year old King Louis XIV on the throne. Tired of Paris, he wishes to remove himself and build his kingdom palace at Versailles, which was once a hunting lodge.

The series introduces you into the maturing young king as he attempts to control the nobility who are against him and establish his power in France.  As any other reign, his bid for supremacy is threatened by those who would overthrow him.  The life at court is filled with the usual intrigue that includes those loyal and those disloyal to the throne.

What makes this show work for me is George Blagden, who plays the young Louis XIV. He is the center stage in the entire production, playing a convincing role of a young monarch who is coming into his own among the wolves who surround him. At first, he appears unsure of himself, and then as time progressives, he shows that he can be as ruthless as his enemies, tender as any lover, and merciful when it’s to his advantage.  Blagden is a convincing monarch and a perfect choice for the role.screen-shot-2016-08-10-at-1_47_17-pm

The costumes are lavish, the settings rich with grandeur, and the story believable though probably not one hundred percent historically accurate.

My only caution is beware of the over-the-top sexual scenes including the king’s affairs with his mistresses and occasional intercourse with this wife. On the other side of the coin, there are homosexual scenes involving the king’s brother, Philippe, Duke of Orleans, played by Alexander Vlahos. Sex is not a silent subject in this production.

You might find this article and interview with George Blagden by The Guardian of interest on the filming.

The rugged heartthrob is about to be very big indeed – after landing the part of the spiffily dressed Sun King in this scandalous tale of sex, violence, and sublime shoes

Source: George Blagden on dressing up for Versailles: ‘Heels do wonders for your confidence!’ | Television & radio | The Guardian

The violence so far as been tame in comparison to other shows. It appears most of the intrigue is in the king’s court and in the bed of the women he makes loves to, siring all sorts of children in his lifetime.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a good period drama, I suggest you tune in and watch Versailles. It’s enjoyable indeed to see the lavish lives of royalty before their subsequent generations lost their heads on the guillotine.

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