Reviewsday: First Impressions of Will

Okay, so I’ve watched only the first episode of the new television series, Will, airing on the cable channel TNT (the second episode is waiting for me on the DVR). So this is only a quick first impression.


I expected very little. In fact, I expected to hate this “Moulin Rouge Shakespeare” (the show’s creator is Moulin Rouge writer Craig Pearce). But I mostly liked it. 

Sure, I hate when movies and shows get the historical details glaringly wrong–as Will does by putting female actors on the Elizabethan stage (but also male actors as women, so make up your mind). But I was nonetheless delighted by the insertion of Shakespeare’s words into the script (including a cute riposte surrounding his invention of the word “bedazzled” and a fun onstage twist about holding “a mirror up to nature,” a Hamlet reference). And even the “rap battle” between Will and the newly-met Robert Greene delighted more than frustrated me.

All in all, the story stayed fairly close to the few things we know and had some nice takes on the rest, making me want to watch more, hoping that all’s well that ends well.

About writerhoss

I am a writer from southwestern Ohio, and a frequent speaker at churches, conferences, and retreats. My books include The Bard and the Bible (A Shakespeare Devotional).
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6 Responses to Reviewsday: First Impressions of Will

  1. David Teems says:

    I admit, at first it smacked of A Knight’s Tale, and like you, the historical bungling is always frustrating. That said, I was impressed with the reference to the Jesuit-poet, Robert Southwell, Shakespeare’s cousin. Haven’t seen such a reference in any Shakespeare knockoff. I suspect the presence of Michael Wood in the background. It will be interesting to see where the Southwell narrative goes. But WILL was earthy, street-scamp London, young, full of vitality, which gave it a touch of the authentic. And Will’s affect on the young Richard Burbage. That too, will be something to watch in the future episodes. And genius recognizing genius, as Marlowe recognizes one of his own stripe. Overall, I was impressed with WILL, evidence of the notion that genius, true genius (if there is a distinction) is perennially fertile, that is, it will replicate itself in a variety of forms as it reaches into the future beyond it—SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, WEST SIDE STORY, ANONYMOUS, SOMETHING ROTTEN (Broadway play), and the endless retelling of the plays, however twisted or convoluted the original source. Shakespeare is inevitable. HIs canon has become a kind of cultural scripture, not to mention, like “the bay of Portugal,” how bottomless, for “it has no Bottom.” Inevitable and inescapable. Oh, yeah. The tavern bout with the inebriate, syphilitic, pox-ridden Robert Greene was a bit of fun too.


    • writerhoss says:

      Yes, spot on! Oh, and I loved the way the episode played with the anonymous-maybe-Shakespeare-maybe-others Edward III. And I agree about the Southwell plot line.


      • David Teems says:

        You and I are like the 8 yr. olds who saw a movie and their commentary is always punctuated with “do you remember the part where . . . ” and “what about . . . ” I love that. Like the SNL skit with Chris Farley and Paul Mc Carney. Shakespeare does that to me. He brings out my idolatrous inner scamp. Yeah, I thought the EIII reference interesting too. Perhaps the first buds of RII/RIII/HIV,V, and VI histories? Genius evokes genius. I love that. There is genius behind WILL, but in fairness, there is also a kind of collaboration at work, between the here and the hereafter, as curious as that might sound. Proving there is still so much ‘undiscover’d country’ in Shakespeare.


  2. David Teems says:

    Shakespeare also brings out haste and bad spelling (so Elizabethan). So Mr. McCartney.


  3. M.Brown~ says:



  4. Pingback: I’m Not Sorry WILL Was Canceled | The Bard and the Bible

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