Not much is known about the details of the life of William Shakespeare, and that’s very good news for Will. Although parts of it have the glossed-up blood-and-grime feeling of Braveheart or 1998’s Elizabeth (the latter directed by Shekhar Kapur, who executive produces this series and helmed its pilot), in the end it seems about as interested in faithfully re-creating its time and place as Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby were in theirs. Probably not coincidentally, this show is created by Craig Pearce, who wrote the screenplay for Romeo + Juliet with Luhrmann, and shares a lot of that movie’s heedless, postmodern willy-nilly quality. Will’s shocked immersion in London life is scored to the Clash’s “London Calling,” and the rest of the first episode likewise strains to assure us that there’s nothing stuffy or highbrow about Shakespeare, and that his work and his values are as relevant to modern life as anything you could see on that newfangled YouTube thingy.
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