|World Without End's Cruel Beginning|
Netflix can easily snatch hours of your life with the mere suggestion of a show. Last week, I gave the mini-series World Without End, based on Ken Follett's sequel to The Pillars of the Earth a chance. Eight hours of my life later, I still agree it was time well-spent. The series follows the city of Kingsbridge right before and during the outbreak of The Black Plague. The kingdom is in turmoil as the old king is murdered by his wife, causing a mysterious knight to appear in Kingsbridge and claim sanctuary in the monastery This knight brings with him the wrath of the queen, causing great trouble for the already struggling town. Kingsbridge is heavily burdened with corrupt church and city leaders bent on their own power instead of the good of the people.
With a sort of Game of Thrones lite-flair,the series is engrossing. Yes, it has caricatures of villains, especially Cynthia Nixon's evil shrew of a woman, but World Without End also has a very unique, morally questioning king in Blake Ritson's Edward III. Its main characters Merthin (Tom Westin-Jones of Copper) and Caris (Charlotte Riley of Wuthering Heights) have enough spark to carry the drama through, even in some of the more frustrating plot lines. What I most appreciated in the story is its ability to make me both watch in horror at the capacity for corruption and recognize that corruption still exists in the confines of modern society. For moral questions, political and historical intrigue, and human drama, check out World Without End.