Since 2011, it seems we’re all just living from season-to-season of Game of Thrones, desperately trying to find something to talk with co-workers about until April rolls around. But this year is different: we’re now having to wait until July for the next season and we only have seven episodes to look forward to instead of the usual 10. To soothe the sting of the extended wait, I went in search of a show to fill a now Thrones-less April.
Last year, Starz debuted The White Queen, a series adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s Cousins’ War series of historical novels: The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The Kingmaker’s Daughter. Unlike Game of Thrones, the writers and showrunners barrel through three novels in 10 episodes, which brings a sense of urgency to the series — if you’re looking for a slow burn, this is not the series for you. With significant time jumps and the help of understated age makeup, we fly through at least 15-plus years at court in 16th century England, starting with the day a commoner and widow, Elizabeth Grey (Rebecca Ferguson), crosses paths with the young and handsome King Edward IV (Max Irons) to ask for assistance in reclaiming her deceased husband’s land. After he attempts to rape her in the woods, they fall in love (naturally) and marry in secret. King Edward’s cousin, Richard Neville (James Frain), also known as “The Kingmaker,” disapproves of the union, causing friction between the king and queen’s newly joined families and setting the fight for the throne in motion. Starz has clearly picked up on HBO’s recipe for success, including taking some of their cast members (looking at you, Michelle Fairley): backstabbing, shocking (and not-so-shocking) deaths, scheming, swordfights, witchcraft, incest plus a much quicker payout of who ends up on the throne in the end equals the perfect thing to devour in the meantime.
While The White Queen is a stand-alone 10 episode series, Starz is continuing through the journey of the Cousins’ War novels with a spinoff limited series called The White Princess. The 8-episode season picks up with Elizabeth of York (Freya Mavor), the daughter of King Edward VI and Elizabeth, marrying the new king, Henry Tudor (Michael Marcus) and how she maneuvers her reign as queen while her new husband is less than pleased at her pre-marital jaunt with her uncle and his conquered enemy, the now-deceased King Richard (Aneurin Barnard) along with her thirst for vengeance for the murder of her little brother, Edward, who was the rightful heir to the throne.
Binge The White Queen on-demand now and watch the premiere of The White Princess April 16 on Starz.