Aaargh! Aaargh! Aaargh! I don’t even know how to express my feelings towards this awful series! Horrified!? Disgusted!? Annoyed!? Nothing new, right? And once again I have to suffer another German atrocity when it comes to portraying Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth. (Might I remind you of my previous posts venting my anger about them using their names for a burger joint and another crappy series!?)
Anyway, whereas I didn’t watch the RTL series (the description was bad enough), I did manage to watch the Netflix series. And could barely stand it, merely being able to endure one episode per day. Glad, when the hour was over, having filled another few pages of everything that’s utterly wrong and horrible. Where to start? Probably with Elisabeth herself.
1.) Portraying the 15-year-old Elisabeth in the 1850s as a confident modern woman …seriously? Completely ignoring historical facts just to attract stupid teenage viewers? The plain truth? Elisabeth was terrified of her future, the court, the attention of all those people. As confident and modern Sisi turned out to be in her later years … she was anything but at the age of 15.
2.) The locations. Eye roll, eye roll, eye roll.Neither Schönbrunn in Vienna nor the Kaiservilla in Bad Ischl look anything close tothe real locations. And I’m not only talking about the style, which is horribly tastelessly pompous. The Kaiservilla was like a large mansion in the 1850s and was purchased by Franz Joseph’s mother Sophie as a wedding present. Only then it was changed and enlarged with two additional wings forming an “E” for Elisabeth. And since we’re at the topic of the Kaiservilla, where the famous couple met … Ludovika, Helene and Elisabeth resided at a hotel, NOT at the Kaiservilla!
3.) Don’t get me started on the wardrobe, hair styles and jewellery. Apart from the corsets and crinolines … there’s nothing halfway historically correct when it comes to the clothes displayed at the series. Not to mention the awful junky jewellery or the Marge Simpson style hairstyles. And the ladies-in-waiting wearing uniforms? Seriously? Who came up with this crap? Those women were from old noble families and were vetted thoroughly before being offered the “job” which was an honour and duty. And Helene wearing a fashionable long bob? In the 1850s? Not to mention Elisabeth wearing 1950s style sunglasses (which were invented for this kind ofuse in the 20th century) in 1850. Or her pillbox style hat with mini veil, also 100 years too early!How often do I have to mention it was the 1850s???
4.) To already hint at Ludwig’s homosexuality by letting the boy play with a doll in front of everyone at the tea table and in a later episode having him play with his mother’s jewellery and wearing a girl’s chiffon dress … that’s fricking disgusting. In terms of historical accuracy. A.) It would have never happened with them being brought up as strictly as they were. B.) 1850s, 1850s, 1850s … do I have to say more? C.) Really?
5.) Sisi did not arrive in a carriage to be welcomed by Franz Joseph in Schönbrunn. Part of her journey was on the Danube river and she was joined by her fiancé in Linz. Only shortly before Vienna he left and went back to welcome her accordingly.
6.) Sisi had a loving relationship with her parents, especially her mother. She would have never sent them away, especially since she didn’t have anyone she knew at court, having had to send away her own servants. Being forced to spend her honeymoon at castle Laxenburg with her mother-in-law, since her husband was going to Vienna every day to take care of his duties, returning in the evenings only …
7.) The parties she is attending, being thrown by her scheming brother-in-law Maximilian. Yep, that certainly would have happened in real life! NOT!
8.) Franz Joseph. I just don’t know what to think of his portrayal. What a colourless actor being stuck in a ridiculous uniform with even more ridiculous golden shoulder tassles. Which were NOT part of his everyday garrison uniform. And by the way, the Emperor was not dressed like a dandy for hunting, he wore “Lederhosen” (short leather trousers), a grey loden jacket, thick socksand coarse boots.
9.) Wanna bet there are many more issues I missed the first time? But I just couldn’t bear watching the series a second time to compile an even more comprehensive and detailed account of all the things that are wrong with this series. And no, I don’t think I will be able to watch a second season. Just unbearable!
To once again compare a marvellous series like “Bridgerton” with this crap … did they still not get it? That Bridgerton is amazing because A) the characters are fictional, B) it’s got style and class, C) it was done by the British. They just know what they are doing! And how to do it! It’s as simple as that!
Well, I guess I will once again have to visit the emperors’ tomb “Kapuzinergruft” to apologize in person in front of their coffins for this indescribable atrocity the country in which I’m residing in has produced AGAIN when I’m back in Vienna. Will they never be able to rest in peace?
5 thoughts on “THE EMPRESS”
Hello there. I’m watching, and enjoying The Twelve. It’s a mini-series on Netflix. It’s a courtroom drama.
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Thanks! Will have to check it out … but I fear this is once again one of those series not available in Germany. Just like the French series Astrid: Murder in Paris, which a British friend recommended. I have just finished “Brooklyn 9-9” and guessthe new season of “The Crown” will be next. However, I think I won’t be too thrilled … especially since it has a direct impact on Diana’s children … I did like the first two seasons, though.
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Hi, that’s a very interesting review. Your criticism of the Netflix production really brings out the energy in your writing. I can’t believe they did such a bad job of it–I mean this is a popular historical story and a lot of people would be watching and finding imperfections. Probably they never even hire a historian a consultant to the show’s production…
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I guess I do get a little too passionate when it comes to my Austrian long-dead monarchs. It just annoys me sooo much 🙈. Thanks for your comment – it totally hits the spot!
What an interesting and stinging review!
Thanks a lot for sharing
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