Almost four years ago, the long-lost remains of fifteenth century king Richard III were rediscovered under a car park in the English city of Leicester, sparking headlines all around the world. Now, Richard III has been brought back to life by esteemed actor Benedict Cumberbatch. He’s starring in what could be the best screen Shakespeare in years…
Shakespeare returns… yet again
If the name The Hollow Crown already has a big whiff of familiarity about it, it’s likely because it’s been given to an earlier TV series, released a few years ago and adapted from Shakespeare’s history plays Richard II, Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2 and Henry V.
The second cycle of The Hollow Crown turns its attentions to further Shakespeare works depicting various crucial events of the Wars of the Roses, in which rival royal houses sparred for the English throne. Those plays are Henry VI, Part 1, Henry VI, Part 2, Henry VI, Part 3 and – here’s the biggie, in light of recent events – Richard III.
The next hit historical drama on US television screens?
The second series of The Hollow Crown has recently started airing on British TV, with Judi Dench, Sophie Okonedo and Michael Gambon also among the top cast. It remains unclear which TV station in the United States will be the first to show this new series, but we do know that the series will be released on Blu-ray and DVD this June. So, what can we expect from this new take on both Shakespeare and the fascinating saga of the Wars of the Roses?
We can judge from not just the preview snippets, including the above, that history fans in the States can already watch online, but also the early critical response to the series in the UK. And the verdict, it seems, is that this new outing for The Hollow Crown is a hit!
Is The Hollow Crown really that good?
The Guardian theatre critic Michael Billington has praised the “fine performances from Hugh Bonneville and Sophie Okonedo” and speculated that the first episode, upon its initial airing in the UK, will have “kept viewers riveted to their screens, astonished that Shakespeare could outdo Game of Thrones.” Meanwhile, writing for The Telegraph, Jasper Rees opines that “Cumberbatch outrageously steals every scene in The Hollow Crown”.
If you remain doubtful that this new series of The Hollow Crown will really be to your liking, it won’t be much longer now before you can judge it for yourself. However, to use a suitable pun considering the rather twisted image of Richard III made familiar by Shakespeare, we’ve got a hunch – ahem – that you’ll like what you see.