A birds eye view of the stage from TNT's "Will"


Laurie Davidson as William Shakespeare in TNT's "Will" Summer 2017

Summer 2017 saw the premiere of two Shakespeare-related dramas.  The first was “Still Star Crossed” on ABC, a continuation of Romeo and Juliet by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers that was rescheduled to Saturday after two airings.  It was cute, with the requisite romance and modern female characters intrinsic to Shondaland productions.  Aesthetically pleasing, but the dramatic pull was not as strong as most of their other work.

The second, “Will” premiered on TNT and had an interesting premiere strategy: the first six episodes are available online right from the start!  Good job, TNT… good job.  And there’s a bonus annotated version of the first episode a la Pop Up Video with historical references and quotes from Shakespearean plays.

Furthermore, this show is SICK!  There is serious tension, intrigue and honestly gets pretty dark with the violence and the sewers, probably realistic to life in the 16th century.  I was blown away with the production values and the writing, which shouldn’t have been surprising given the show creator who also wrote Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge.

Plus – bonus points for having an acknowledged bisexual character in Christopher Marlowe who has not one but two gay kisses in the second episode.

Christopher Marlowe kisses William Shakespeare on a table in TNT's "Will"

Will on TNT's William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe share a moment, lit and set decorated beautifully

The theatre troupe sings Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" coming out of the tavern in TNT's Will ep2
Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” was a bit of a stretch as a 16th century drinking song, but I’ll take it.  The punk soundtrack in this series cannot be beat.

An actor must act, even in flagrante. TNT's "Will" summer 2017

Theatre founder Burbage among his scripts in TNT's "Will"

Alice Burbage in TNT's "Will"

Four friends in TNT's "Will" accompanied by the Genius annotations reading Shakespeare's Twelfth Night: "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."

London theatre in the round full crowd in TNT's "Will"

Robert Greene in a tavern in episode 1 of "Will" on TNT.  Annotation reads "Greene's diss is the first historical mention of Shakespeare's time in London."
Robert Greene was a contemporary who wrote pamphlets critical of Shakespeare’s writing.  Pamphlets – the blogs of the 16th century.

Christopher Marlowe stands on a staircase in TNT's Will


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