Versailles: Season One
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Versailles, 1667. Haunted by the trauma of the Fronde as the nobles of his court begin to rebel against the monarchy, Louis XIV (George Blagden) in his 28th year in a Machiavellian political move decides to make the nobility submit by imposing a definite move of the court from Paris to Versailles, his father's former hunting lodge. Trapped by their king's "invitation", the nobles of Paris gradually come to see the castle as a gilded prison and soon even the most humble courtiers of the king begin to show their viciousness as the alcoves of secrets, politics and war are maneuvered through, revealing Versailles in all its glory and brutality.
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The carefree hedonism of the young nobles--and the attendant glorious youthful nudity splashed across the screen--actually serves a purpose: we're reminded that in these rocky early years of Louis XIV's reign, these actually were practically children ruling France and France's far-flung nobility. And they were children who, very shortly, had to grow up quickly.
The cringe-worthy angst that underlies the cool and careful facades the young royals present is palpable, nowhere more-so than in the person of Louis himself. We're convinced early on that his upbringing was like no other; he carries a weight even his own brother can't comprehend. And he's acutely aware that he's in a position to make a profound break with the past and create a place, a lifestyle, an entire culture the world has never seen before. All right, so the sparkling vision of a grand court at Versailles arrives personified as a nubile nymph in one of the King's wet dreams--but that's the driving passion of youth in a nutshell.
What remains are the real-world obstacles to his dream, the nobles and citizens and other rulers who can't share his vision. We have to wait and see just how he manages to bring it all to life in the end.
It took a few episodes, but I've grown to believe the opening music "Outro" (M83) couldn't be a more perfect theme for the show.