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Review: Will (TNT) – Will I be watching this series? No, I will not.

By on July 11, 2017



There are a lot of stories loosely based on Shakespeare and his work nowadays, but TNT figured: we need another. Though I must admit, where movies like She’s The Man are very loosely inspired by Shakespearean novels, Will is inspired by the man himself, which is a nice change. Although I’m still not sure why the punk-edge was necessary.

The series follows William Shakespeare’s (Laurie Davidson, Vampire Academy) arrival in 16th century London, as he tries to find fame. He works to find a stage for his writing while navigating a tortured love interest and a Catholic subplot. During his quest, he spews canon left and right, as he walks around in a historically very inaccurate London where people wear leopard print motorcycle jackets and the walls are decorated with mass-production color posters. It makes it difficult to distinguish imagination from true historical events, which is a shame, as Will is one of the first series to include some very historically accurate elements, like black Londoners from the very common 16th century black communities.

The ‘Shakespeare is hip!’ theme that is so present throughout the series gets weary at times. I think we all know the painful scenes in popular movies and series where teachers try to make Shakespeare fun by using rap. It seems TNT thinks these scenes are not actually cringe worthy, but rather delightfully interesting, as they included one in Will. No thanks, TNT, we don’t need the ‘Shakespeare was the original hip-hop artist’ lecture.

There are some moments of true comedy and true tragedy, but most of it is overshadowed by the mishmash of styles and storylines. Plus, the titular character himself is nothing like one would imagine the great Shakespeare to be. Will is a combination of all characters Shakespeare ever wrote about, and quite inept at writing. Which makes it weird that he is, at times, so well spoken. Those are the moments the titular character throws out some canon, borrowing from the great master to give the illusion of these two people being the same. Unfortunately, they are so obviously not that I feel the series would have been better off imagining a new character, based on Shakespeare but definitely not supposed to depict Shakespeare himself.

Will airs on Mondays at 9/8c on TNT.