“The Empress” (Netflix)

I enjoyed the first four episodes of this German 19th Century costume drama: costumes gorgeous, acting good, and the royal intrigue engaging. But I made the mistake of Internet fact checking the Hapsburg saga. As it turns out, the political story is fairly accurate, but the love stories and personal interactions are major to minor fabrications made to keep us watching. The political machinations are confusing (but phew–you should read the true historical ones if you want a head spinning exercise). The unfortunate consequence of my research is that the element of suspense was removed and the romance lost its bloom. What I don’t get is why the real story isn’t on the screen–it’s so much more interesting than this one. The real rise of Sisi (aka Elisabeth) the Bavarian princess who rose to become Empress is fascinating, but at least in the four episodes her portrayal is so much more simplistic, occasionally Lady Di referential, than the very complex real Elisabeth. I need to add, tho, that visually the show is worth checking out if only for the hair style of the main lady-in-waiting–a little Bride of Frankenstein meets Lady GaGa. And honestly, I know many of you costume drama fans will enjoy this series so I am recommending it with the caveat that you stay away from Internet research until the final episode which I may or may not watch.

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