'Shakespeare Uncovered: Series 3'
(Helen Hunt, F. Murray Abraham, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NC-17 / 2018 / PBS)
Overview: Series 3 includes six films with new hosts as they weave their personal passions with history and analysis to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare's famous works; Much Ado About Nothing (Helen Hunt); The Merchant of Venice (F. Murray Abraham); Measure for Measure (Romola Garai); Julius Caesar (Brian Cox); The Winter's Tale (Simon Russell Beale); Richard III (Antony Sher).
DVD Verdict: This ambitious series brings six new hosts to the Bard's greatest plays, as they seamlessly weave their personal passions with history, biography, iconic performances, and new analysis to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare's famous works.
Indeed, 'Shakespeare Uncovered' reveals not just the elements in the play, but the history of the play itself. What sparked the creation of each of these works? Where did Shakespeare find his plots and what new forms of theater did he forge? What cultural, political and religious factors influenced his writing?
Furthermore, how have the plays been staged and interpreted from Shakespeare's time to now? Why at different times has each play been popular - or ignored? Why has this body of work endured so thoroughly? What, in the end, makes Shakespeare unique?
Personally, I found this entire series wonderful and for those already familiar with Shakespeare it's a definitive must-see, trust me.
However, if someone was to watch this series without some fluency with the writings of William Shakespeare, it might not be very intriguing. It does not express the full plays, but gets more into the writer, and historical influences that went into his productions.
All of the commentators/narrators did a very fine job, but none as well as the deeply thoughtful ponderings of F. Murray Abrham. But then, I am prejudiced to find him to be a magnificent actor and documentary narrator due to his other great performances/narrations.
Shakespeare's writings have influenced much of today's stories, and this is clearly shown through this series. Each episode reveals the extraordinary world and works of William Shakespeare and the still-potent impact his plays have today.
The films combine interviews with actors, directors, and scholars, along with visits to key locations, clips from some of the most celebrated film and television adaptations, and illustrative excerpts from the plays staged specially for the series at Shakespeare's Globe in London.
The six (6) films included in this third season set are:
'Much Ado About Nothing' with Helen Hunt
'The Merchant of Venice' with F. Murray Abraham
'Measure for Measure' with Romola Garai
'Julius Caesar' with Brian Cox
'The Winter's Tale' with Simon Russell Beale
'Richard III' with Antony Sher
This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.