If you seek courtly intrigue in a sumptuously staged medieval England, then binge-watch "White Queen." With stirring performances and fine cinematography, "White Queen" powerfully portrays political scheming and noble life during the Wars of the Roses.
Title: "White Queen"
Year it began: 2013
Where it can be seen: Amazon; Starz; DirecTV
Who’s in it: Rebecca Ferguson; Max Irons; Janet McTeer; James Frain; Amanda Hale; Eleanor Tomlinson; Faye Marsay; David Oakes; Aneurin Barnard
Typical episode length: 58 minutes
Number of episodes to date: 10
Brief plot description: During the English Wars of the Roses, Elizabeth Woodville enters a fractious world when she becomes queen by marrying the brash Edward IV. With the aid of her wise mother, Elizabeth and Edward struggle against both internal and external threats.
Why it’s worth watching: Based on Philippa Gregory’s historical novels, "White Queen" offers a rich and rewarding presentation of England’s elite political families struggling for power during the Wars of the Roses. Anchored both by romantic chemistry between its royal stars and by fine directing, "White Queen" brings medieval England to vivid life. Offering a convincing portrayal of some two decades of Edward IV’s tumultuous reign, "White Queen" offers both historical perspective and a compelling psychological drama. The show is well cast, with fine actors enlivening the feud between Yorkists and Lancastrians. Ferguson brings both grace and passion to Queen Elizabeth, who is quietly but fiercely devoted to her family and to her husband. Irons is outstanding in playing Edward IV as a bold and intelligent warrior-king who is both a passionate lover and a ruler willing to make hard decisions in hard times. McTeer delivers a vital performance as Jacquetta of Luxembourg (or, Lady Rivers), a wise and cautious strategist whose devotion to magical practice (which she links with her ancestry from the river goddess Melusina) illuminates a shadowy perspective on political life that she grippingly shares with her daughter, Elizabeth. Other key performances include Frain’s supremely cunning and confident Earl Richard Neville, a powerful fighter and schemer who earned the moniker Warwick the Kingmaker; Hale’s Margaret Beaufort, who conveys her obsession with making her son, Henry Tudor, king as an unsettling, intense spirituality; Tomlinson’s heart-rending performance as Isabelle Neville, who delicately abhors her father’s scheming; and Marsay’s precociously cunning Anne Neville, who seeks to avenge Elizabeth’s mistreatment of her family by rising to become Richard III’s queen.