The White Queen is a 2013 television series, which was produced by BBC And Showtime. The series follows the life of King Edward (Max Irons) and Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) for several years and begins, during the pair’s initial meeting. The ten part drama series is based on Philippa Gregory’s novel series, The Cousin’s War. It takes place, during the Wars of the Roses and transforms into a tale of betrayal and deceit.
When the show begins, we are quickly introduced to the Woodville family. Elizabeth and her family are trying to get over the death of their father, at the hands of the new king, Edward. Elizabeth soon comes into contact with Edward and he falls for her right away. Although the relationship is shunned by the majority of the family, Elizabeth’s mother, Jacquetta (Janet McTeer) sees the arrangement as an opportunity. She utilizes a little hocus pocus and helps Elizabeth foresee her own future, which ultimately coincides with that of Edward’s.
Although Edward is quick to accept Elizabeth, his brothers and closest allies, Richard (Aneurin Barnard, War & Peace), George (David Oakes) and Warwick (James Frain), are not. Still, the Queen manages to wiggle her way into their good graces and take her position beside of the King. She quickly becomes combative with Lord Warwick’s daughters, Anne (Faye Marsay) and Isabel (Eleanor Tomlinson, Poldark). Meanwhile, her and Edward’s troubles continue to worsen, as Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) attempts to formulate a scheme, which will have her son, Henry Tudor (Michael Marcus), named as the King.
Over the course of 10 episodes, three families will attempt to scheme their way to the crown, while Elizabeth and her mother will implement the use of magical spells to curse and doom their enemies. Does the historical drama do justice to the past or is it simply a footnote, which will soon to be forgotten in the past? Unfortunately, The White Queen falls into the latter category. Although the show is excellent at times, its flaws are too visible. First and foremost, watching the series feels like a chore. At times, it is sped up and skips ahead many years. Other times, it is drug out beyond belief.
There is truly no consistency in the pacing. This is further complicated by the character’s inability to age! Despite the series covering 20 or 30 years, only a few minor characters actually age. Elizabeth, Richard, Edward and the rest of the crew remain as youthful as ever right until the very end. At the same time, the show features many terrible adult scenes. The sex scenes are strewn everywhere and they truly serve no purpose, yet it is Elizabeth’s pregnancy, which makes way for the most ludicrous scene of all. The birth of her son was downright silly.
Finally, the series makes things a tad bit too easy for Queen Elizabeth, her mother and Edward. Within a matter or two or three episodes, I had already developed an insatiable hatred for each. No matter what is thrown their way, the trio manages to come up with some half baked scheme, which is destined to fail, yet ultimately succeeds, without any struggle. All in all, The White Queen could’ve been spectacular, but it was very disappointing.
The conclusion isn’t worth the wait. Had the show stuck with BBC’s normal formula of developing 4 to 6 episode seasons it would’ve likely been much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, the series is 10 episodes and that is far too many. Aneurin Barnard, Eleanor Tomlinson and James Frain make the show a little more tolerable, but it is still hard to recommend. A 6 out of 10 is deserved.