Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2017
Using the keyboard's space bar to pause the rapid-fire advancing of the captions will let you read the translation – and look at the background photographs. This series opens up a huge story for non-Russians who've never learned the basics of Russian history and the Romanovs. I watched it straight through over a few days because the arc-of-history narration was very interesting and the scenes are visually appealing. Seeing a Russian-sponsored version of the dynasty was fascinating, especially with the wealth of original documents, photographs and locations. The narrators, male and female, were excellent – beautifully spoken Russian. Excerpts from letters/diaries were revealing; great background photographs (I often paused the video to look at them more closely) and interior scenes provided a context, as did the casting of actors who resembled the portraits. However, with Nicholas II, the realities of his character were glossed over in what seemed like a rush to get to his later sainthood. Corruption and bribery are a consistent theme, but I didn't get a strong picture of what that meant to the Russian people living at the officially designated strata of society. "Foreigners," strangers, even though their families had been living in Russia as Russian and/or Polish subjects (depending on the latest treaty) for hundreds of years, are still referred to as foreigners toward the end. Frequent graphics of piles of rubles and statistics began to look like leftovers from the five-year plans' reporting – soulless and not really indicative of why, despite the natural and industrial resources of this vast country, it fell apart in such unrest. Perhaps it requires a lot of reading between the lines. I liked the coverage of the Russo-Japanese war, the portrayals of the more idiosyncratic rulers and their strengths and weaknesses, the graphics showing the planning and regulation countrywide of cities and towns, the train-wreck scene with the tzar saving his family, and the scene on the floating raft of the chatting tzar and his enemy opposite number. The limitations on access to education and professions of some ethnic (or "racial") groups are mentioned but not the state-sponsored, devastating pogroms starting in the 1880s, so far as I could tell. It did seem as though the dynasty ran out of steam, along with the narration.
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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5
78 global ratings