Shakespeare Solved ®


Shakespeare Solved ® is a forthcoming series of novels that covers the Bard's entire life and work.

These novels solve the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare by transporting us back in time, to walk in his shoes, and see his world through his eyes.

Only when we see Shakespeare in his original historical context can we understand what his plays and poems really mean.

This blog explains some of my ideas and discoveries, to prepare for this series of novels.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shakespeare's Sisters & Shakespeare on TV



I read that there will be a TV show about young William Shakespeare, and his early days as a playwright in London.

You can read the full article here:


The US show is called Shakespeare's Sisters. It is “described as a tale of black magic, romance and revenge" and "the drama is set in 1590s London and chronicles a young Will Shakespeare's rise to prominence as he finds himself caught in a deadly conflict among three witches and the most powerful woman in the world, Queen Elizabeth. The project is described as having the grit of HBO's hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones with the wit and heart of Shakespeare in Love.”

The show will be made for the CW Network, which has a very young audience, and has enjoyed some success with the series Reign, about Mary, Queen of Scots as a young woman. The show is being developed by actor/producer Mark Harmon, most famous for the hugely popular NCIS TV show.


The Grafton Portrait
This may be what Shakespeare looked like in 1588, age 24

I think this is an exciting idea for a show, and I love the idea of Shakespeare’s story being told across many episodes and hopefully many seasons. So much happened in his life, and so much was happening around him that a single film, even a 3 or 4 hour film, can not contain it all.

And yes, there is a great story to tell about the early days of Shakespeare’s career. In fact, Shakespeare’s entire life is a very dramatic story that deserves to be told. 

However, I am worried about the idea of a “deadly conflict among three witches” and the “black magic.” I’m not sure what that means, but I do hope that the show does not become some sort of supernatural thriller. Shakespeare’s life is a gripping story already, and it does not need witches and black magic to sex it up.

Also, there is no mention of how Shakespeare’s plays themselves will be presented. Will they be front and center in the series, or will they be in the background? Will the meaning and real purpose of the plays be addressed thoughtfully, or mangled? If the meaning of his Macbeth play is reduced to the idea that Shakespeare actually met and knew three witches, then it is dumbing down Shakespeare to the point of absurdity, and it would truly be an insult to his memory.

I’m not sure what Game of Thrones has to do with Shakespeare. As much as I love Game of Thrones, it is in the fantasy genre. The world in which Shakespeare lived, and the life that Shakespeare lived, was much more political than it was fantastical.

As much as I love Shakespeare in Love, it is a Disney version of Shakespeare, and it does not even pretend to tell a true account of Shakespeare’s life.

As I have written before, what we have not seen is a story about Shakespeare that rivals the story about Mozart that was the film Amadeus — a drama about  Shakespeare that tells as the truth about his life and his plays, set in a world that was experiencing great upheaval, and was filled with religious and political violence.

If there is one TV show that would provide an example of the kind of show that should be made about his life, it would be House of Cards -- which incidentally is based on Shakespeare's own Richard III play. 

The reason why House of Cards is so successful, is much the same reason why the Richard III play has endured for four centuries, and why any of Shakespeare's plays are watched today -- because he lived in a ruthless political world of intrigue and murder, and he wrote plays that are ruthlessly entertaining. As I like to say, he killed his audience before they could kill him.

Last year I read about another TV show that was going to be made, called Will. The series was written and produced by Craig Pearce, who has collaborated with Baz Luhrmann on The Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet, Strictly Ballroom, and Moulin Rouge.

That show was described as telling the story of Shakespeare’s early days in London, and the show promised lots of sex and violence.

I don’t know what the status of the show is now, or whether it will ever get made. I hope it does. I think the world suffers from too little Shakespeare rather than from too much, and I’m sure there will be many people who would watch two different shows about the young Shakespeare. I know I would.

What do you think? What kind of story do you want to see about Shakespeare?

Cheers,



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