Sisi, Atlantic Crossing and Bridgerton

Am I the only one who is always irritated when a new royal/noble tv-series, supposedly based on real facts, isn’t what I thought it would be? It usually takes me a while before I start to enjoy these kind of series, or not at all. I did like The Crown, when I finally managed to watch it, although I could hear they had used a lot of stories from the media for it. Maybe it is because the first two/three seasons were a bit further back in time, but I found the series less and less good towards the thus far last season. It is surprising how all these historically inspired series come up with their own stories, that are most of the time inaccurate, despite of them portraying royals who were certainly not boring and had a life worth telling about.

Bridgerton

After the first very popular season of Bridgerton, Netflix has announced three more seasons. The second season will start on 25 March 2022 and is the love story . Inspired by the (eight) books of Julia Quinn, that I’ve read all, I guess they were surprised by the success, as I think in season one they used some material from later books. It is a fictional story, based on history, with a modern twist an actors from several racial backgrounds. You’d almost wish the family had really existed, although some historical persons like the British Queen Charlotte and Prince Friedrich of Prussia show up. I honestly almost can’t wait and am certainly going to subscribe to Netflix again.
20 Historical Accuracies and Inaccuracies in Bridgerton

Atlantic Crossing

Unfortunately Atlantic Crossing is not yet available on Netflix in the Netherlands as far as I know. But recently the German channel NDR showed it in three parts of each two hours. Of course I couldn’t resist watching it on my tv, even when it was all in German. The Germans just love to dub everything in their own language, which is pretty annoying, especially when it has been done badly (luckily it wasn’t this time). The original series is in Norwegian and English.

The series tells the story of the Norwegian royal family in World War II. The focus lies on the relationship between the US-president Franklin D. Roosevelt and Crown Princess Märtha, who spent the war in Washington, and suggests there was more than just friendship between them. Some of the actors, especially the Swedish royals, were so well casted, that I could hardly tell the difference with the real royals. And little Prince Harald, nowadays the King, was terribly cute. It was however pretty irritating to hear being used “Highness” instead of “Royal Highness” all the time, at least in the German dubbing. While I thought it was really worth watching, I know Norwegian historical experts have talked about all the inaccuracies.
A Norwegian article about the inaccuracies
And another one by Royal Central

Sisi

The six parts of the new German (RTL+ again) tv-series “Sisi” have been broadcasted in several countries in December 2021 and January 2022. A second season is in the making. As some of you might know, Christmas is the time to rebroadcast the three Sissi-films with Romy Schneider from the 1950s on television. Thousands of people are again glued to their tv-screen despite of having seen them already millions of times. The films made Empress Elisabeth of Austria, nicknamed Sisi (not Sissi) one of the best known historical royal figures from the 19th century. The films are wonderful, very, very romantic, lovely clothing, but of course historically not very accurate.

It therefore sounded very promising when RTL+ described “Sisi” as taking a new look at the life of Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary. It sounded it was to be more accurate than the 1950s films. One thing for sure is that there is more sex and violence, and even murder attempts, in “Sisi”, the Empress and Emperor are not as sweet as in the films, which is OK, but it was all a bit exaggerated. The new series still doesn’t give a good impression of the reality I think, although it is more realistic than the films. Most irritating is, that once again, the titles are very sloppy. Regularly the Emperor and Empress are being called “Your Highness”, while of course it should always be “Majesty”, apart from all kind of fantasy titles being used for nobility. In the fifth episode I discovered an historical inaccuracy, as they are talking about the Battle of Solverino (1859), while the imperial couple still has only two girls. By the time the battle happened their daughter Sophie had died (1857) and son Rudolf (1858) was already born.

The scenery of the new Sisi-series, filmed in Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Hungary and Germany is simply wonderful, although they are not the original locations of course. The costumes are most of the time also rather good, except for a few of Sisi’s dresses, which is possibly on purpose. There is surely more attention for the problems in the Empire of Austria-Hungary at the time. And drama is guaranteed. Although I am not convinced a hooker should have been included as friend and lady-in-waiting of the Empress.

I (as did my mother) did enjoy watching when I managed to look through all the inaccuracies. I even laughed once in a while, but it is just NOT Sissi! And surely still not a good portrait of Empress Elisabeth. Netflix will come with its own Sisi-interpretation later this year, but I don’t think it will be any better. Such a pity.
Castleholic’s verdict: Why you shouldn’t bother watching “Sisi”, the new TV-series by RTL
A German review

3 thoughts on “Sisi, Atlantic Crossing and Bridgerton

  1. I am not keen on historical dramas because they too often distort history. They make things up.
    I have preconceived notions of who I think the characters of history are from what I learned or read. Then a movie director comes along and I don’t recognize the characters. Our interpretations are different. I like being my own director when I read!
    Since I don’t have Netflix I will not get to see Sisi, though I would like to.
    I did not like the choice of actress who played Victoria.

      1. I like historical fiction novels. Usually most characters are fiction with a little bit of truth around the historical time period. But these TV biographies want you to believe the stores as facts. If they are too off the facts or truth I lose interest. I would like more insight into history so I can learn something. I don’t just want to be entertained. I want to know more about the past.

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