When you first see the picture above, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a TV series about the French Revolution. It’s there in the title. There’s a woman wearing a mask, throwing a lit bottle of something flammable, the decor is in the process of being blown to pieces and there’s bits of very French looking architecture (Versailles, in case you’re curious), in the background.
This is not a TV series about the French Revolution.
It’s set at the beginning of the French Revolution. It’s a fantasy retelling of the events that led to the French Revolution. It uses the tropes, historical setting, nomenclature and vocabulary of the French Revolution, but that’s not what it’s about.
Here is the trailer:
It’s a TV series about a contagion. You can’t call it a virus because they never call it a virus. How could they? Viruses had yet to be discovered at the time. So perhaps it’s that, and perhaps it’s not. Perhaps it’s something different.
People who catch this virus, transmitted through blood, undergo a number of changes. These individuals, typically nobles, become more aggressive, have their senses heightened, become stronger, recover from deadly injuries. Also, their blood turns blue, and they discover new and insatiable appetites.
So it’s a story that’s in my speculative fiction wheelhouse. That’s great.
But there’s more.
The series is beautifully shot. Many of the scenes are lit and framed like a work of art. Visuals are used as metaphors everywhere, most obviously through the appearance of the blood from battles between the infected and the uninfected, superimposed on a snow-covered background. Red, white and blue.
Ok. So it’s in French, and perhaps that makes it a little more difficult to access for some people. I’m fortunate that I speak French and it’s easy for me to understand. That said, there is a dubbed and a subtitled version, and you shouldn’t let the language barrier stand in your way.
Because this is cinematography and screenwriting on a par with the very best English-language television has to offer. I enjoyed watching every moment, not once tempted to fast-forward past a bit of dialogue that was proving tedious, or a scene of intimacy or violence that felt unnecessary to the plot.
It keeps you on your toes, even when you think you know what’s going to happen. You’re never more than an episode away from a surprise rearrangement in the importance of cast members, or a sudden turn in the plot.
I have to hope that we’re not too many months away from the next season.
You should watch this. That’s my recommendation. They’ve made a lot of average stuff over the past few years, but this is far above average. La Revolution is a great addition to TV, and it caught me entirely by surprise.
You can find it here:
Note: I am in no way paid, sponsored or remunerated, in cash or in kind, for any of the content in this article. All views expressed above are entirely my own.