The Rise of Catherine the Great
About the Show:
Released in 2014, Ekaterina is a Russia-1 historical television biographical series starring Marina Aleksandrova as the eventual Russian empress Catherine the Great. It tells the story of princess Sophie Friederike Auguste, and her rise to power to become Empress of Russia, following a coup d’état and the assassination of her husband, Peter III.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in one of my week that was posts that I had started watching a Russian historical drama. Well, I stuck with it and finished watching the whole season last night. I discovered a season two quite by accident – Prime didn’t have the two seasons linked for some bizarre reason, but it’s all queued up in my watch list now, so I’ll be watching this one as well in the coming weeks.
It was very different watching a Russian production. Most of my previous foreign viewing has been either French or German. The Russian actors were all rather dramatic, but it suited this story. The costumes were particularly lavish and the interior sets showcasing the palace were reminiscent of the indulgence and opulence of the Romanov dynasty. The external sets were clearly more budgeted, they kind of looked like backdrops that had been digitally enhanced, for want of a better description, but this didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the show at all. I expect that the budget for Russian television dramas is vastly different to the US or the UK. I think they’ve done very well at creating a compelling drama, it certainly kept me watching episode after episode.
Season one has ten episodes and it covers a lot of ground. There really are no wasted scenes and things move very quickly throughout each episode. It does require close watching on account of this pacing and of course, the subtitles. Fortunately, there is also some narration at key points, delivered in heavily accented English, but easy enough to understand.
I have to say, being a Russian royal was tough going. You walked a fine line between favour, imprisonment, exile, and death. I guess this doesn’t differ from the history of other royal dynasties. Anyone who is a fan of Russian history will enjoy this television series. It’s available to watch on Amazon Prime. I’ll check back in with you once I’ve watched season two.