Looking for a new period show? ‘The Great’ is your new Victorian passion
If period pieces are your cup of tea, or comedies are what tickle your fancy then The Great is a show worth checking out. If you happen to be someone who sits in the middle of the genre preference Venn diagram of comedy and historical then you will be absolutely over the moon.
The Great is a historical comedy, well okay, historical is a term used loosely in this instance. The Great is a historical fiction which just so happens to include characters inspired by real people, including Peter III of Russia (Nicolas Hoult) and Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning).
When first watching the trailer for The Great it’s possible you may have mistaken it for a trailer for The Favourite, and there’s a reason for that besides the fact both include Hoult. The Great is written by Tony McNamara, the very same man who scripted The Favourite.
However, The Great is less of a dark reflection on the past politics within royal houses and more of a sitcom where people wear wigs, corsets, and bustles. Speaking of which, in the trailer alone it’s clear the costumes of The Great are dazzling to look at – rich with color, detail, and elegance. Whether they’re entirely historically accurate is irrelevant, especially since the plot isn’t, everything in this show is for fun.
The Great is mostly about Catherine the Great as she adjusts to her new life away from Poland, as Empress of Russia. For those who may not remember history class all that well, Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, is known for being Russia’s longest-reigning female leader – after overthrowing her husband.
It is fair to note the fact this show takes place in the distant past of Russia, and yet all the characters sound British. And while at the very least it might make more sense for the characters to speak in Russian accents, western audiences seem to find British accents the most easily romanticized, so you can hardly blame directors for their choice.
The Great is not here to impress history buffs with exactitude and detail, it’s here to be funny and entertaining. Think of it more like A Knight’s Tale – throwing the rules to the wind because, not all stories taking place in historical times need to be pinpoint accurate dramas.