The White Queen: Season One (Blu-ray)

February 3, 2014 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

As wars rage across England, the battles are fought over who is the rightful king of the land. Edward (Max Irons) has forced the previous ruler off the throne, with hopes of taking the seat of power for himself. He has recently taken interest in Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson), the widow of a soldier who opposed Edward’s advance to the throne. This strange alliance has drawn the ire of Edward’s advisors, but he is driven to have Elizabeth, who seems to know how to get what she wants. Edward’s careless actions push the powerful Lord Warwick (James Frain) to put his support behind his own brother, George (David Oakes). At the same time, Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) believes her son Henry Tudor is the rightful successor, as he was already in the line to the throne. But even more forces conspire to claim power, with Richard III (Aneurin Barnard) and his love Anne Neville (Faye Marsay) seek to make a play for the throne as well. As all of these sides march toward the same goal, only one king can take the throne, but who will emerge as ruler when the dust settles?

While the premise of multiple groups vying for a throne is a familiar one, The White Queen tries to stand out by putting the focus on the women involved. This series is based on historical events, but massive liberties have been taken, so don’t expect even a hint of historical accuracy. If you can forgive the alterations made to the real life sources, The White Queen offers some great sex, violence, and of course, sociopolitical power plays. Comparisons will be of course be made with Games of Thrones and while The White Queen is good, it isn’t on the same level as Game of Thrones. Even so, fans of that show will find a lot to like here and this is by no means a pale imitator. The writing is quite good (outside of the historical inaccuracies) and a rock solid cast is on hand, not to mention the lush visuals and production design elements. I do want to mention that while The White Queen was based on series of books, the BBC has announced they won’t pursue a follow up series. Starz has shown interest in a new season under the right circumstances, but as of this review, no official continuation is confirmed. In the end, this is a solid series in a genre that is red hot right now, so I think most viewers will enjoy these episodes.

Video: How’s it look?

The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 widescreen. The show has some impressive visuals and the production design’s attention to detail shines here. The level of detail is remarkable, whether in the costumes, set design, or the landscapes in the outdoor segments. You can tell this was a well funded production and this transfer ensures all that visual candy is polished, with great depth and detail. The colors look natural, if a touch restrained at times, while contrast is consistent and accurate. I couldn’t ask for much more from this treatment, as the show looks excellent.

Audio: How’s it sound?

A Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack is present and while not as memorable as the visuals, the show’s sound design is solid. The quieter scenes have good atmosphere, with nice little audio cues that reinforce the show’s world. Dialogue is also loud and clear, so all the lines are easy to pick up on. The music is well crafted and enhances the soundscape as well, but the show tends to lack power in places. The battle scenes should pack more of a punch I think, even though they sound passable. A little more visceral edge could have done a lot to improve the impact of those segments. Overall, The White Queen sounds good and I think most audiences will be more than pleased. Also includes a Spanish soundtrack, as well as English and Spanish subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There’s not a lot to offer in terms of supplements, but here’s a look at what was included.

  • Featurettes – A host of very brief, promotional featurettes have been included. These include looks into how the book was adapted to television, the costumes, a tour of the set, and profiles of prominent characters. None stand out as overly informative and appear to be simple pieces to help promote the series. Even the general behind the scenes looks tend to come off as advertising instead of insightful.

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