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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Action > Epic > War > Historical > Cable TV > Philipa Gregory's The White Queen: Season One (2013/Starz/Anchor Bay Blu-ray set)

Philipa Gregory's The White Queen: Season One (2013/Starz/Anchor Bay Blu-ray set)

Picture: B Sound: A Extras: A Episodes: B

On the heels of Game of Thrones, Starz brings us the epic miniseries The White Queen - a roller coaster ride of turbulence in English history based on Philippa Gregory's #1 New York Times best selling The Cousins' War series. The show starts with a tale of seduction with Queen Elizabeth Woodville I where she reluctantly beds King Edward IV (even after he killed her husband) in an attempt and successful win of power. Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville are also power players in the series and will do anything to sit on the English throne. The focus of the show is the dispute between The House of York - two sides of the same family for who is the rightful to inherit the powerful seat and go to battle with a rival house - House of Lancaster.

The first disc brings us four episodes: In Love with the King, The Price of Power, The Storm and The Bad Queen. It begins with the rise of Queen Elizabeth and her use of magic (she curses King George) that could possibly assist her in her quest. Queen Elizabeth has a complicated marriage with King George that is defied by many, even the Duchess, who would prefer her son George to inherit the throne. And while she has already had three sons to her previous marriage, she can't seem to have nothing but girls for King Edward - much to his dismay. George soon marries himself and attempts to pop out a boy before her brother. The only way for George to outdo his Brother's army ends up for him to team up with the rival family of Lancasters.

The second disc brings us War At First Hand, Love and Death, Poison and Malmsey Wine and Long Live The King. Full of war, murder, and back stabbing - the second disc takes the series to a darker place where we realize slowly that everyone is in the mess to benefit only themselves. One of the most notable scenes on the disc is Love and Death where Queen Elizabeth gives birth to a boy and it is born without crying. Thinking the baby is dead, a minute later it starts to cry. The tension in the scene is beautifully acted, photographed, and cut and sells the realism. The disc ends with the astonishing death of King Edward and a desperate attempt to hide his children.

The third disc ends on a high note with The Princes of Power and The Final Battle, which I don't want to spoil too much but I will say it is an intense and dark balance between the power of witchcraft and a battle where swords fly and only one stands to win the waging battle of England.

The production value on this show is really fabulous. The White Queen gives us glorious shots of the county of England to King's quarters to deeply candlelit interiors where plotting is formed in whispers. All of the costumes look gorgeous and they spare no expense with the locations and by making the setting beautiful. One thing I'm not a huge fan of ironically is the score. I feel like it's a tad generic and lends itself a little TOO much to Game of Thrones.

The 16 X 9/1.78 X 1 digital HD image is crisp and clear. On a show of this caliber, it really helps to see it in HD in order to see all of the details. The sound mix on this disc is also note worthy, giving us a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that immerses us into the middle of the action. The dialogue is always crisp and clear and moments of tension are heightened.

Special Features include The Making of the White Queen, Series Overview, Recaps of each episode, Book to Series, The History Behind The White Queen, Set Tour, Queen Elizabeth, King Edward IV, The Heir Apparent, Women in a Man's World, Conjuring up The White Queen, and Dressing the Queen. Also available in this set is an Ultraviolet copy.

- James Lockhart


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