My thinking for the blog for this academic year is that if holidays fall on normal posting days, those posts will be skipped. Except for snow days, if schools are closed, this blog will be, too.

However, even though it’s Labor Day weekend, I’ve seen some great TV shows this summer and wanted to share some opinions with you!

I’ve always been fascinated by the Tudor Dynasty, and have seen a lot of films about it, as well as having studied it in my Irish History class in college. My mom and I love all things British, so I knew a lot about the power struggles, and the subsequent creation of the Anglican Church (we’re Episcopalian), and was fascinated by all that went on during Henry VIII’s reign. I’ve written on this blog about how much I love the TV show Reign, which shows the Dynasty’s struggles from a different vantage point, that of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was the cousin of Queens Mary and Elizabeth of England, and who was subsequently put to death because of the threat she posed to Elizabeth’s reign. The opera Maria Stuarda is largely about that, and ends with Mary Queen of Scots walking to her execution, and is a fabulous piece of art that I highly recommend.

This summer, I watched The Tudors from start to finish for the first time. I’d seen some of it with my mom, but never in order, and I never paid a ton of attention to it. The Tudors was a ShowTime series that ran for four seasons, and it is remarkable. It’s so well researched, and the production values and costuming and scale are beautiful. A lot of it seems to have been filmed in Ireland, where open spaces and haunting architecture are more common than in England.

I was in awe of what they’d accomplished with the series, and how much time they covered without it ever feeling rushed. I watched most of the first season with my mom, and then she left me to watch it on my own, and I think I must have watched the last 3 seasons of the show in a week. And when it was over, after inhabiting that world for the all-encompassing week or two that I had, I had no idea what to do with myself.

A day or so later, we moved onto the Borgias, and I confess I am much less interested in this particular story than I am in that of the Tudors, there are interesting points in each of the three series where they touch upon and inform one another. And it’s always fun to watch a show and see an actor from one of the other shows. A unique little moment of, wait, what?

The Tudors is available (for me) On Demand from Cablevision, as well as on Amazon Prime TV and on Netflix. The Borgias is available on Netflix, and may also be on Prime but I can’t swear to that. Both shows are available for purchase on DVD and Digital Downloads. Maria Stuarda on DVD is available from The Met. Reign is available on the CW’s website for streaming, season 1 is available on Netflix, and season 2 is available for Digital Download.