Based upon the books The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter, the Starz/BBC co-production miniseries entitled The White Queen can be seen as sort of an unofficial prequel to The Tudors. The miniseries covers The War of the Roses, which lasted for some thirty years between the House of Lancaster and The House of York over the throne of England. The historical aspects and not Philippa Gregory best selling novels are the inspiration behind George RR Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire Novels, which in turn are the basis for the hit HBO series Game Of Thrones, but while one can get a sense for where the dramatized action may have been a stepping stone, I think both series pull from history in their own way, but it is otherwise unfair to compare them.
I am not overly familiar with this part of history, but if one were to begin with William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 as well as Henry V and then jump to The White Queen Miniseries and follow it up with the Tudors and then Elizabeth I, you have a great chunk of history that is every bit as fascinating as studying the transition of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire beginning with the slave revolt led by Spartacus and ending with the death of Nero and the end of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. The events in England share some similarities such as civil wars, plots within plots and the rise and fall and subsequent rise again of House Lancaster with the defeat of Richard III at the armies of Henry Tudor VII, which if I am correct starts the Tudor Dynasty, which in itself like the first royal family of Rome, ends as a result of no direct male heirs to the throne.
Unlike the BBC version, the Starz version features some nudity and simulated sex, but it is not gratuitous or distasteful. The violence is bloodless. James Frain stands out as Warwick and I bet if someone were to meet him out of character, he is probably the nicest guy, but it seems whether it is The Tudors or even something like True Blood, Frain is always cast as a heavy or villain type. Not knowing the history helps make some of the action surprising.
The story is also very much about not only strong women behind influential men, but pagan faith in magic versus Christian faith in God's will and the miniseries makes a strong case for both. A lot of people die tragically. It seems with political upheaval there is always a lot of death that follows and this story is no different. In that respect I find it to be scary.
It is interesting to see how different the more colorful style of dress that dominates this era contrasts the more subdued and puritanical look of the reformation era of England.
Starz Home Entertainment through Anchor Bay Entertainment presents The White Queen in a beautiful 1080p/24fps full high definition (1.78:1) presentation with a well rounded English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Soundtrack. A Spanish Language Stereo Soundtrack as well as English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired as well as Spanish Language Subtitles are encoded as options across all three discs.
The third Blu-ray Disc contains a series of high definition featurettes covering the making of the series (3:24), an overview (4:27), a look at the transition from book to series (4:25), The History Behind The White Queen (3:37), a set tour (3:59), a look at Queen Elizabeth (3:02), King Edward IV (2:38), The Heir Apparant (1:32), a study of the woman (1:47), conjuring up the White Queen (1:57) and the costume design (2:37).
An insert detailing the family tree in the miniseries as well as another insert containing a limited time only code to redeem an Ultraviolet HD Digital Copy wraps up the bonus material included within the set.
The White Queen is available now at retailers on and offline on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Starz and Anchor Bay Entertainment.
(C) Copyright 2014 By Mark Rivera
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