‘Catherine the Great’ 1X01 Review: Empress of Russia

HBO has a new four part miniseries about Catherine II called, Catherine the Great. I love historical dramas, and I obviously love television or else I wouldn’t be writing this. I couldn’t wait for it to premiere as the trailer looked intriguing. Without further ado, let’s break down my impression of the first episode.


I’m going to start off with what I liked, production.  The wardrobe department for Catherine the Great needs a serious raise. Period pieces aren’t easy to come by and I’m sure they are hard to make. What they had the cast dressed in looked like no easy feat.  I loved all the pieces that they had, they looked exquisite.  Also, let’s add set designers and location scouts to that list as well. Visually, this first episode was just stunning. There were so many different colors and not just boring muted tones.

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren you were absolutely fantastic in this first episode. I don’t know a lot about Catherine II, but you played a very convincing part in my book. You are obviously playing a woman who was intelligent, witty, ambitious and revolutionary. From this first episode, Catherine isn’t going to be the conservative type that is afraid of societal roles. I love that.

Dear Catherine II

This is a note to Catherine II. Girl, what are you doing? To quote Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones “when you play the game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” You need to get your shit together. You are obviously intelligent so use your strengths. Take control. You keep saying that there are multiple people who are a threat to your throne. Out play them. If you don’t you will die. Also, don’t talk down or forget about the ones that got you your throne, they will be first in line to take it away.


We had some kinks this first episode. As someone coming into this miniseries almost knowing absolutely nothing about Catherine II, I needed more historical background. I’m assuming they are just focusing on a small part of her life but I was feeling mildly confused about her history this first episode. I expected a little more from a historical drama. I hope we get a little more background in the coming episodes.

Overall I think this first episode started off with a few bumps but I’m mildly optimistic for what’s to come.  If anything I will have seen Helen Mirren in her glory as Catherine II and the wonderful production on this miniseries.

Catherine the Great airs Monday’s at 10 p.m. on HBO.

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