When actual smart people have conversations about serious historical events—winners of wars, the fall of empires, etc.—I can generally do little more than listen and nod because my knowledge of useful history is lacking to the point of being pathetic. But if anyone would like to talk to me about the ingredients of Civil War-era toothpaste or the constant flatulence of Edwardian aristocrats, they will most likely find they cannot, as when it comes to weird history, I am unable to shut up long enough to let anyone else contribute.
The idea that history is made just as much of pettiness and dumb shit as it is important events is part of the reason I loved The Favourite so much. It was a fictionalized, yet accurate-feeling look at the absurdities of wealth in times past that didn’t take itself as seriously as most history-based films but still somehow seemed universally true and time-period specific. And The Great, a follow-up by The Favourite screenwriter Tony McNamara focused on the early life of Catherine the Great, looks like it should be just as funny, challenging, and thoughtfully critical of the intersection of gender and power as The Favourite.
Starring Nicholas Hoult, who has long been in need of a project as generally delightful as he is, and Elle Fanning, my preferred Fanning of late, this is perhaps the most excited for a Hulu series I’ve ever been. One concern remains, however. Hulu has the opposite problem to Netflix, which often cancels its series too early, and has let series like The Handmaid’s Tale drag on much too long. Hopefully, The Great, which airs May 15 can find a happy balance between wrapping up too quickly and stretching on forever.