Should You Try It: Mary & George on Starz

New series takes the action to 17th Century England
Mary & George -- Courtesy of Starz
Mary & George -- Courtesy of Starz /

We’re into April and as networks and streamers make a push toward the Emmys, the market is flooded with new content. But what is worth your time to check out? That’s why this series exists, to break down the details on new series. Today, it’s a new period drama from Starz.

Series: Mary & George

Where to Find It: The pilot dropped on Friday and is available to stream now on the Starz app. Subsequent episodes drop weekly.

What’s It About: This new series is based on the non-fiction book from Benjamin Wooley that focuses on the relationship between King James VI and George Villiers, who was named the Duke of Buckingham. The show kicks off in 1592 as Mary Villiers (Julianne Moore) is giving birth to George, her second son. Before the cord is even cut, she tells her newborn that if she was kind, she’d smother him to death since, as the second son, he has no inheritance to get.

Flash forward about 22 years and Mary has just seen her husband pass away. Their relationship wasn’t a loving one and she doesn’t miss her husband. But when she discovers he left her nothing but debt, she scrambles to make a new union for herself. As she does, Mary makes sure to carve out something for her favorite child—George (Nicholas Galitzine).

Soon, Mary sends George to France for an education, albeit not the one that some might be expecting. While he’s away, she learns something about the whims of King James VI (Tony Curran). When George returns, having learned some of the art of seduction while in France, she sets him to work. The first task is to catch the eye of the King, and then to start bending him to their will.

You Should Try It If: You’re a fan of historical dramas, like a good soap opera, or want to dive into something a little edgy.

One Man’s Opinion of Mary & George

Many of these established networks have a certain style for their series and productions. That’s certainly the case with Starz, which has a certain feel and style for its content. Mary & George slips right into that esthetic, offering something that feels brash, soapy, and more than a little edgy.

The story here probably isn’t one that many people are familiar with, and it is probably a bit different than what most are expecting. This has a good cast, starting with Moore, a skilled and decorated performer, and Galitzine, who has starred in some steamy projects of late. Both seem to be in their element here, giving a decent performance.

You’re interest in this series, however, will likely come down to content and presentation. As noted, Starz has a specific style to its content and presentation which doesn’t appeal to all viewers. That was the case for me. I appreciated what they were trying to do and the craft in the production, but the content and style was decidedly not for me.

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