Monday, July 10, 2017

Previewing Will

I have two lasting memories of William Shakespeare from high school. As a freshman, we watched an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet when we see Romeo in his glory when he exits the bed without any clothing. That would be scandalous by itself, but our English teacher, rewound the scene paused on Romeo’s bare bottom and singled out one of my female classmates and said this was for her. My other Shakespearean memory was when a substitute teacher was forced to show a documentary on the Baird where a literature historian called Shakespeare a “flaming homosexual.” I miss the nineties. There would be a couple fired teachers if that happened today.

The take on Shakespeare in TNT’s Will is definitely not a flaming homosexual (well someone says, “I have a queer feeling about you Shakespeare” so maybe just not yet), instead we get a father of three who, much like Captain Hook on Once Upon a Time, looks more like an like an Abercrombie model instead of the chubby balding guy we have seen in paintings. This actually a story of the struggling William as he tries to break into the playwright scene in London in 1589 while the wife and kids stay back in Stratford.

At times, the show reminds me of the definitive telling of Romeo and Juliet of my lifetime staring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as the shoe occasionally places modern music into the show (and my modern I mean seventies punk). Except Will is on a television budget which means only one song per episode for the first three episode. They must have had some extra money lying around for the fourth as they have enough in the budget for three popular songs (including, welcome to the nineties!, a Beastie Boys song).

Watching the first couple episode I kept wondering, who exactly is this show for? Are there really that many Shakespeare heads out there wondering what the writer’s life may have been like? The kind of people who would be interested what inspired him to think of the line, “What light through yonder window breaks?” If you are one be sure to tune into episode two.

What I found most interesting in the early season was a C or maybe D plot involving the lead actor at the troop Shakespeare tries to join and the handmaiden of one of the local aristocrats. I think they may are supposed to be this show’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern comic relief. That is the show I want to see. But other than that, the most notable part of Will is it pushes the level of nudity way further than any basic cable show before it. The show at time pushes the boundaries so far that I wonder if there is going to be massive edit from the version I saw and the ones that air much like on Vikings where they cut the nudity from the American version but put them in the DVD’s and foreign broadcast. But at least Vikings was interesting even without the nudity.

Will airs Mondays at 10:00 on TNT. You can download Will on iTunes.

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