Yes, indeed! Folks, I think The Great is GREAT! The Hulu dramedy about Catherine the Great, starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult as Empress and Emperor of Russia, is one outstanding show.

I’ve watched so many period dramas on PBS that I wasn’t too sure about diving into yet another historically-based program. I was very wrong to have doubts. The show is extremely clever and witty, rewriting and re-imagining the rise of a woman from a minor Prussian noble house to the throne of the Russian empire. It lives up to it’s opening caveat of being “occasionally true,” and I do believe they take the term occasionally very seriously. Ha, ha! Or should I say, huzzah? The humor alone is fantastic, ranging from satire to farce to slapstick. The performances are spot on, too.

For those of you deeply into period pieces, the costumes and sets are amazing! I’m not an expert on the Russian court of the late 18th century, but to me it certainly effectuates a credible if perhaps reinterpreted facsimile. While much of what happens may come from the vivid, sometimes lurid, always creative imagination of the writers, the story hangs together nicely. They incorporate the war with Sweden (but evidently at a different spot in the timeline). Obviously, they bring in the coup d’état by which Catherine ascends the throne in place of her husband, Peter III.

I had so much fun watching Elle Fanning get into and out of sticky situation after sticky situation. And Nicholas Hoult is fabulous at doing and saying some of the most ridiculous things imaginable with hilariously innocent honesty. It all just works. If you haven’t yet, I recommend you watch the first season now. Note: This show is not for children.

The series cast includes Elle Fanning as Catherine, Nicholas Hoult as Peter III, Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge, Sacha Dhawan, Sebastian de Souza, Bayo Gbadamosi and Belinda Bromilow.

More info @ Hulu.

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