Last week I finished watching the lush Showtime TV series, The Tudors. It was better than I expected. Bad stuff first: there were some anachronisms that were crazy–Victorian style carriages, modern curbing in the streets, pretty obvious CGI master shots and the history was not just simplified to help the audience, it was also sexed up pretty badly. Strong homosexual sub plots were written for characters for whom there is no evidence of homosexuality and sodomy. In addition, while we can’t deny that the court of Henry VIII must have been a pretty racy place, there were too many totally gratuitous scenes of sex and nudity.
Apart from all that, I was surprised at the generous treatment of the religious themes. In fact, the only characters who come across as having integrity, intelligence, common sense, self esteem, honesty, modesty, chastity, charity and courage are the four strongly Catholic characters: Thomas More, Bishop Fisher, Queen Catherine and Lady Mary Tudor. Even Wolsey seems a man of integrity once that monster Henry VIII starts to rise and the Boleyns, Norfolk and Cromwell come on to the scene. The Machiavellian characters are ruthless, cunning, self serving toadies and flatterers. The Protestants are portrayed as mediocre climbers, hypocrites, quislings and churchmen who are at once naive and ambitious.