Monday, July 17, 2017

Will - The Play's the Thing

It may be unfair to criticize TNT's new drama Will for not being Shakespeare in Love, but since the show was obviously inspired by the Oscar-winning film it's not something you can easily dismiss either (even if it sorely lacks the wit of the film). Set during the beginning of William Shakespeare's (Laurie Davidson) days as a struggling playwright, the show's first episode brings the writer to London where his first play is presented to a starved audience looking for something new.

As in Shakespeare in Love, we see common conversations, a turn of a phrase, and current events all feeding Will Shakespeare and foreshadowing the plays and poetry yet to come. Along with introducing us to a large supporting cast highlighted by Olivia DeJonge, Colm Meaney, and Jamie Campbell Bower, "They Play's the Thing" also sets the stage for the political and religious turmoil surrounding Shakespeare's Catholicism and England's brutal Protestantism. While not all that interesting, and handled awkwardly, this subplot does provide a secondary outlet for the characters and their adventures outside of the theater. I'm not sure I have the will to stick with the drama for the long-term, but I may return to it from time to time and see it if can find itself before the summer ends.

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