Last week I missed the two series I have been following 10000BC and Wolf Hall so this week I have had a couple of evenings playing catch up and as both series are more or less at an end I thought this post would wrap them up with my over all views.
Well the contestants have continued to drop like flies and you will notice my choice of wording there and although this was not supposed to be a competition it has become one on many levels. Of course there is the battle to survive but also it has become a case of personalities fighting for dominance and a division into the hunters and gathers, the surviving women are more determined to stretch rations to make sure they reach the end whereas the men want to hunt but they are being unsuccessful and expending more energy trying to catch something. I was really looking forward to watching this but have been a little disappointed, there was the potential to really do something exciting but the lack of initial preparation and training and the option of walking when it got hard meant this was a disaster as a social experiment unless what you really wanted to show was that modern man would die out if another ice age ever hit. Yes it made good TV but personally I think it would have made better watching if they had been forced to stick with it until the end and only removed those who had needed to be removed for health issues, also they were keeping track of the number of days they were there so possibly not giving them an actually defined end date would have been more interesting.
We all know the facts of the story, Anne Boleyn does not have a happily ever after but I think what this series has shown more than anything else is not that she was a naive girl or a manipulative gold digger, her character was much more complex and she was incredibly intelligent. I do not know if I put it down the the acting or storytelling that despite the facts of history being so well known in my heart I long for a different ending, and maybe that explains why the fascination with Anne Boleyn has lasted so long. The series did not make her likeable but it made her real, it made us see infact how little choice she had but to play the game, once Henry had set his sights on her she only had limited options. Her choices were to give in submit to being his mistress and find herself cast aside as she had witnessed happening to her sister, she could refuse him completely and be sent away in disgrace having cost her whole family position and favour at court which could also see them lose everything including their lives, or her final option was to entice him to marry her, even though she knew in doing so she would risk everything. It is easy to claim the moral high ground and say we would never mess with a married man but is it that simple in this case and once you have begun down that road there is no where else to go. I have to say to my American friends who have not seen this yet make sure you have lots of tissues ready for that final episode. Even rewatching the demise of Anne in the special Behind the Scenes programme they ended the series with I was in floods of tears once more. I have never doubted that Anne was innocent of the charges against her, she was foolish at times I am sure and probably flirtatious but had she borne the king a son I think they would have had a long life together. The only slight issue I had with the ending was from the history books I had read I had always believed despite the fact he was having her killed for what amounted to not producing an heir that Henry loved Anne till the end however this version shows him happy at her death.
I really cannot recommend this series highly enough and know from what was said in the documentary she is writing the next book which will conclude the story of Cromwell’s era of British history. I am going to go dig out the books from my TBR pile now.