There seems to be no shortage of big television dramas this summer. While the summer television tradition of reruns and bad reality shows, still exists, it’s also been joined by Netflix series premieres.
And now even the networks are getting in on the summer TV market. Already this spring and summer we’ve seen National Geographic’s “Genius,” ABC’s short-lived “Romeo and Juliet” sequel “Still Star-Crossed,” and now TNT is jumping in with a partly true, but mostly fictionalized series about a young William Shakespeare.
“Will,” a colorful dramatization of the young Bard’s (played by newcomer Laurie Davidson) first ventures into the world of London theatre has had a promising start. With bright and bedazzling costumes, a stunningly designed setting, and a cast that Shakespeare himself would envy this show seems poised to be a hit.
The show has a style all its own, that may be a bit surprising to those expecting a historic representation of the Bard. While it definitely draws its inspiration from Elizabethan England, there’s a lot of modern touches.
In the first episode, Will engages in an exchange of words with a fellow poet that’s clearly modeled after a rap battle. Groundlings are as rowdy as you would imagine they were in real life, but they also sport neon colored hair, makeup, and costumes that would fit right in at a rock concert. Even Shakespeare’s contemporary, Christopher Marlowe, played by a wiry Jamie Campbell Bower, has a goth edge to him.
It’s seemingly out-of-place details like this that make the 401-years-dead playwright and his world resonate with a modern audience. Will it attract an audience? We’ll have to wait and see, but for now this re-imagination of the early, modern theater scene looks right at home on the small screen.
…just for fun: