Historical set dramatic series is something of a `thing` of the past years, from the Tudors for the english, Versailles for the french, Vikings for the Norse or Black Sails for the Carribean. Okay, so the poor Scots have to suffer with Reign...
And now the russians get the treatment, with the fantastic work of Leo Tolstoy serialised into 6 parts by `auntie Beeb` in War and Peace.
The series spans the era of 1805 until 1812, where a group of childhood friends get sucked in into the more and more unstable politics of the Napoleonic War, as his army edges closer and closer to the Russian border.
In these unstable times, there are also the intrigues in court that they have to navigate, with arranged marriages, family feuds and families breaking up over quarrels.
After the Treaty of Austerlitz, there seems to come a stabler climate as France and Russia forge an alliance, but this is soon broken as Napoleon invades Russia, all the way up to Moscow. This causes the families to become on the run, and some of the friends fall in the harsh times. In the end, though Napoleon gets defeated by General Katushya on the one hand, and the cruelest weapon of all in Russia, the winter, the remaining survivors manage to pick up the fragments of their lives. But all have been changed by life...
The series is just a true visual spectacle, but it also features some very strong scenes and acting. Paul Dano for one is fantastic, and there are some mainstays from popular series in it as well, without the whole series revolving around the `names`. We have for example Scully (from the X-Files), Balin (from the Hobbit movies) and Slughorn (from Harry Potter) but none of them are the true `leads` in the series.
The moment when Prince Andrei dies, after being severly wounded in the Battle of Borodino, for example, is a really strong moment, and one that even brought a tear to this guy's eye.
Yes, this is rightfully `critiqued` as one of the best costume drama`s ever, like it`s illustrious progenitor, the book War and Peace, this is a true masterpiece and has all the makings of a classic!