Typing Faster

October 31, 2009

Good Shows You’ve Never Heard Of: The Palace

Filed under: Good Shows You've Never Heard Of, The Palace — petertypingfaster @ 7:15 pm

I’ve bumped into a lot of people lately who are still insisting that there’s no such television.

What complete and utter bullshit.

There’s plenty of great television around. We’re in a golden age of television. If you can’t find any great television to watch then maybe you just haven’t been pointed in the right direction yet, you’re not looking hard enough, or you’re just plain blind.

If all you need is a helping hand, well, that’s where I come in.

Welcome to “Good Shows You’ve Never Heard Of.” First up, ITV‘s The Palace, a behind the scenes look at a fictional version of Britain’s Royal Family.

From ITV’s webiste:

Meet the most famous family on Earth. After the sudden death of his father Prince Richard has become King at the age of 24. Dearly loved by the nation King James III left behind his devoted wife and family.

King Richard IV now reigns. He is young, handsome, free-spirited with modern ideas about the monarchy. Unready for office he desperately wants to succeed but the Press cannot get enough of his youthful indiscretions and his family is at war.

The knives have been sharpened and they are waiting for blood.

We also see below stairs and behind closed doors as staff jostle for power, compete for affection, lie and cheat.

The Palace lifts the curtain on a fictional world. It’s a world we love so much but know so little about.

This show works on a bunch of different levels.

As a coming of age story

When we first meet Richard he’s a young playboy more interested in going clubbing with his younger brother than in his duties as Crown Prince. Then his father passes away and he’s thrust into the limelight, forced to shoulder responsibilities that he’s never wanted and is unprepared for. It’s a great set up for a series, and one that The Palace capitalizes on throughout its run.

As a political drama

The Palace never quite gets into West Wing territory, but what show does these days? What The Palace does offer is a great look at the UK’s domestic politics, how they relate to the press and lastly how they impact on the royal family.

As a family drama

The majority of the drama in this show revolves around the internal politics of the royal family. Struggling for power. Struggling to stay out of trouble. Struggling to stay out of the media headlines. This show takes the little every day, family disputes and then shows you what they might look like if they played out in the national spotlight.

As an Upstairs / Downstairs drama

Upstairs / Downstairs dramas have a long history in the UK where class still has more of a hold on society than it ever did in North America. It’s hard to hang your drama on the relationship between royalty and their servants when you have neither, but in the context of a British show it works wonderfully well. Especially when you enmesh it with…

As a romance

One of the largest parts of the series is the romance angle. You’ve got a young, attractive playboy Prince who suddenly becomes King. Talk about all of a sudden swimming in a limited dating pool, as king he can’t exactly go down to his local and pick up any random young hottie. The complications that arise from Richard’s active love life are great springboards for all sorts of stories throughout the series.

Add a bunch of strong, interesting characters to the numerous story engines detailed above, and you’ve got a hell of a series, and one well worth checking out.

The Palace plays on Superchannel.

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