Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Review Roundup UPDATE: Critics Praise Epic Shakespeare Series 'The Hollow Crown,' Kicking Off September 20 (TRAILER)

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood September 20, 2013 at 1:10PM

Enthusiasts of the Bard, take note. "The Hollow Crown," the Sam Mendes-produced BBC series of four Shakespeare adaptations, "Richard II," "Henry IV Part 1" and "Part 2," and "Henry V," begins its stateside airings tonight (September 20) on PBS. Critics have good things to say about the ambitious endeavor: "Shakespeare has never been brought to television so well" (A.V. Club), and "the performances are so wonderful it feels wrong to single any out" (LA Times).
0
Tom Hiddleston in "The Hollow Crown"
Tom Hiddleston in "The Hollow Crown"

Enthusiasts of the Bard, take note. "The Hollow Crown," the Sam Mendes-produced BBC series of four Shakespeare adaptations, "Richard II," "Henry IV Part 1" and "Part 2," and "Henry V," begins its stateside airings tonight (September 20) on PBS. Critics have good things to say about the ambitious endeavor, which features a star-studded cast including Tom Hiddleston, Patrick Stewart, Jeremy Irons and Ben Whishaw. 

The A.V. Club is the most praise-worthy, writing that "Shakespeare has never been brought to television so well," while the LA Times claims "the performances are so wonderful it feels wrong to single any out."

"The Hollow Crown," clocking in at a sprawling 505 minutes, hit iTunes, VOD and DVD on August 27, via Focus World. 

Los Angeles Times:

It's too much to say that this is what television was made for — since it was also made for professional wrestling and situation comedies — but it is part of its original promise and compact, that ennobling great works of art (ennobling in their greatness, that is, not in any didactic way) be made available to all, in the comfort of our own homes. If you are open to them, these plays can actually make you a better person, in a way that most TV will not.

The performances are so wonderful it feels wrong to single any out. But Whishaw finds great power in stillness; Whishaw fits himself admirably to his character's stages and turns of mind, resolving his coldness with his warmth, his cruelty with his generosity. And there is Beale's Falstaff — marvelously poignant, a scoundrel-hero, getting everything wrong. His sorrow at losing the transformed Hal is as tragic a moment as any here, his fall no less thunderous than Richard's.

A.V. Club:

It’s a privilege to see Shakespeare performed by an actor in the prime of their faculties, with a heavyweight role that tests the limits of their range and the nuance of their expression. There are performances of certain roles that become iconic, masterpieces in their own right: Judi Dench as Lady Macbeth, say, or Derek Jacobi in Hamlet. The Hollow Crown—aptly brought Stateside by PBS’ Great Performances series—offers three titanic lead performances in the plays of the Henriad, the epic trilogy that tells the story of the opening salvos of the Wars Of The Roses.

Shakespeare has never been brought to television so well.

New York Times:

First, let’s get this caveat out of the way: Nothing beats a stage performance of a Shakespeare play if the cast is first-rate and the direction insightful. That said, a television (or film) treatment can be helpful, especially for the uninitiated, and especially for these plays, which are not as well known or audience-friendly as, say, “Romeo and Juliet.”

When a full battle is called for, you see a battlefield, with horses and armies. When a chorus recitation is demanded, it is recited (by John Hurt) over footage of a ship at sea, embarked on a cross-channel invasion. And when heads must be severed — pity poor Bushy and Green in “Richard II” — the director, Rupert Goold, has the option of showing you the unpleasant act, and he takes it. (Shakespeare had it occur offstage.) There are bloody moments in “The Hollow Crown,” but not gratuitously so. These are high-stakes plays, and graphically rendered deaths underscore that in a way that a stage production can’t.

NY Daily News:

Pound for pound, the drama in “The Hollow Crown” matches almost everything in “Game of Thrones.” At times, it’s just as violent and bloody.

The trump card of “Hollow Crown,” of course, is that it was written by Shakespeare — and if the language sounds stilted to modern ears, anyone who listens for more than a few minutes will be properly seduced.

Selling Shakespeare is always a chore. Watching him is a pleasure.

This article is related to: Video, Video, Trailers, Trailers, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Ben Whishaw, Patrick Stewart


E-Mail Updates