"The Tudors" - wow. I expected it to be melodramatic, trashy, full of boobs and butts, and forcing me to wonder how the actress reacted to being told, "You're playing Mary Boleyn; you get six lines and a blowjob scene". I did not expect it to be going all Expert Guy on me.
It's one thing if you expect your viewers to enjoy trash (we wouldn't be here if I didn't!). It's even fine to believe that we don't know much about this period in English history (most of what I know is from Shakespeare* or Hilary Mantel). But to believe that we are too stupid to follow a basic plot without having everything spelled out for us is another thing. The best example so far: Norfolk is assigned to head the jury at Buckingham's trial for treason, and the king wants Buckingham to be found guilty. The king's lackey approaches Norfolk and gives him back his father's ring, which Henry VII took from Norfolk's father before executing him for treason.
Norfolk understands what's being asked of him. So does the viewer. But then, as Norfolk turns to walk away, the lackey says, essentially, "You know, it would suck if we had to execute you. It would suck for you, I mean. Because you would be dead. Because the king would have executed you for not condemning Buckingham."
Norfolk gives the lackey pretty much the same look I was giving the television: duh.
Lackey: That would also suck for your son, right? If you were dead?
Dead Horse: STOP THAT
Also, even though we are shown someone saying, "There is Thomas Boleyn, ambassador to France, with his daughters Mary and Anne," we are not judged capable of connecting the two halves of that sentence, so the actor playing Thomas must later address his daughter by her full name and with a musical chord so emphatic it woke up my dogs:
Thomas: How was your day, ANNE BOLEYN?
Chord of Destiny: BWAAAAHMMM.
(What actually woke up the dogs was me saying, "Oh, COME ON.")
And, oh dear, Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I'll let the pretty boy thing go - apparently Henry VIII was rather dishy in his youth (yikes, maybe not) - but the man can't act. When he's called upon to express an emotion, all he can do is open his eyes really wide, which just makes him look insane:
Thomas More (Jeremy Northam in a sad hat): Sire, may I speak freely?
HVIII: [neutral face]
More: Perhaps going to war with France isn't the best idea?
HVIII: [CRAZY EYES]
More and myself: Whoa!
Later, HVIII says to More, of The Prince, "It was not as good as your book, Utopia."
Chord of Awkward Exposition: PBBBBFFFTTT.
I was briefly very excited to see Sean Pertwee, but he dies in the first thirty seconds (literally; there was just enough time for me to say, "Sean Pertwee! Awesome!" before sixteen Frenchmen stab him to death). He's still the best thing about the first episode. I am told that it improves; we shall see.
*And we all know what Shakespeare did with historical fact.