Sometimes one find things by chance, wonderful things and you’re thankful that you were where you were and were doing what you were doing, because otherwise, it might have remained beneath your notice. I feel this way about The Hollow Crown series. I found the series because it was the first trailer on another DVD, which I was about to skip to go straight to the menu. I never find things this way. But it is fantastic and you should watch it. It is beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted, and after every episode, you can’t wait to watch the next one. And it’s Shakespeare.
The Hollow Crown is a BBC adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henriad plays, which includes Richard II, Henry the IV, Part 1, Henry the IV, Part II, and Henry V. Set in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the series is a screened production of the plays (rather than a filmed staged production), but the script is Shakespeare’s, only minimally adapted. The series stars Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Patrick Stewart, Michelle Dockery, Julie Walters, Simon Russell Beale, Rory Kinnear, John Hurt, and many other familiar faces. And if that cast isn’t enough, Ben Whishaw’s portrayal of Richard II is excellent. Whishaw’s Richard pushes you to loathe him as an unaffected, vain king who banishes the sincere and honorable Bolingbroke and strips him of his inheritance to line the Royal coffers. But somehow his is also able to convince you to pity him in his, what now oddly seems unfair fate.
If you like good dramas, historical tragedies, or British miniseries, The Hollow Crown is for you.