Catherine the Great: Miniseries (2019)

Catherine the Great

Critics Consensus

Though its sumptuous setting and design often outshines its storytelling, Catherine the Great remains a seductive, if scattershot, period drama thanks to the great Helen Mirren.



Critic Ratings: 40


Audience Score

User Ratings: 85

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Air date: Oct 21, 2019

Series premiere. Russian Empress Catherine the Great faces challenges to her throne on all sides as she meets the forthright and bold Lieutenant Grigory Potemkin.

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Air date: Oct 28, 2019

A victorious Potemkin returns from war to find Catherine preoccupied, leading the two to speak candidly about their pasts and future, while a Cossack stirs discontent among peasants in the countryside.

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Air date: Nov 4, 2019

Catherine and Potemkin experience growing pains in their relationship, as Potemkin's push for expansion puts him at odds with Panin.

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Air date: Nov 11, 2019

Series finale. Pressure from foreign powers leads to a bitter argument between Catherine and an ailing Potemkin. Catherine works to change the line of succession as her reign draws to an end.

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Tv Season Info

Cast & Crew

Svetlana Frolova
Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova
Sergei Shakurov
Aleksey Petrovich Bestuzhev
Yuliya Snigir
Ekaterina II
Mark Bogatyrev
Vasiliy Zalesskiy
Roman Madyanov
Aleksandr Ivanovich Shuvalov
Olga Medynich
Eizaveta Romanovna Vorontsova
Natalya Surkova
Elizaveta Petrovna
Pavel Trubiner
Grigoriy Orlov
Igor' Zaytsev
Sergey Volkov
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News & Interviews for Catherine the Great: Miniseries

Critic Reviews for Catherine the Great Miniseries

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (14)

Mirren will get an Emmy nod for this because she's Mirren. She is a great actress, and she's certainly good here. A pity she'll get that nod for so cramped a story.

Oct 22, 2019 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Although you should watch Catherine simply to enjoy the rare reverse May-December pairings, the show isn't by any means perfect.

Oct 21, 2019 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Nothing is subtle about it: not the acting, not the directing by Philip Martin, not the production design, not the costumes.

Oct 11, 2019 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Top Critic

The producers and commissioning editors made a decision that their heroine would be older - much older - on screen than she was in real life. Has this happened before? I can't think that it has... and really, it is quite fantastic: game-changing, almost.

Oct 3, 2019 | Full Review…

This series isn't just a vehicle for [Helen Mirren], it's a golden carriage. She is sumptuously dressed and adoringly, luminously photographed in great palaces in Russia. It's an amazing spectacle but Mirren easily dominates it.

Oct 3, 2019 | Full Review…

Flat biopic has violence, innuendo, nudity.

Jan 9, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Alas, the series itself, although it covers a fascinating period, is not a must-see.

Dec 6, 2019 | Full Review…

It pains me to admit that this show has been a slog, and I'm glad it's over...the real problem with this show is that it tries to cram roughly 30 years of history into four hour-long episodes.

Oct 22, 2019 | Full Review…

It sort of works.

Nov 1, 2019 | Full Review…

Although this particular portrayal of Russia's longest-ruling female leader is refreshingly modern, viewers' appetites for a gripping and emotional period drama are likely to left unsatiated.

Oct 25, 2019 | Full Review…

The series is a gorgeously detailed piece.

Oct 24, 2019 | Full Review…

The crown sits easily on Mirren, who can be bossy, seductive, vindictive, and girlish at will. She's great, even when trapped in a romance novel.

Oct 23, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Catherine the Great: Miniseries

  • Aug 15, 2020
    It's bad. Mirren is too old to play this Russian empress. Ekaterina is way better than this. The writing is lame, the script is awful, the pacing is inconsistent. At least the costumes and performances are nice.
  • Jun 07, 2020
    60% soft porn. It should've been called Lieutenant Potemkin: apparently Catherine the Great's reign and life started and ended with him. Might barely pass the Bechdel test? Costumes and sets were flabbergasting. Helen Mirren was excellent.
  • May 16, 2020
    Oops, I think I complained about the wrong series, I meant the one on Hulu 2020 called "The great" with Elle Fanning. Original post: Showing her get raped in the first episode as the main plot twist and her raper as a "cool guy". She is pictured as stupid an not capable of the situation. Definitely not written by a woman, especially not written by a woman who got raped and showed strength and resilience surviving this unlawful act. I wish they would once and for all show how men really look like when they rape: weak, confused, and like little overgrown babies, suckers for never felt love and naive. And that is the story of Katharina the great? What a shame. Anyway, the film doesn't represent Russian history at that time anyway. You could have at least do some research beyond Wikipedia. It looks like you try to disguise as french baroque and hope no one will notice that. So why should I watch this silly effort? Who paid for that? Not even a nice try. I wish people would create some fruitful contribution to society rather than buying their degree and delivering this boring bull*. Please stop that.
  • Jan 20, 2020
    Catherine The Great stars Helen Mirren as a strong powerful leader of her people. She people the Russian people to get educated and build a reputation of power and knowledge. During her leadership the Russian Empire was the expanded and captured lands from Alaska to Hungary in the meantime defeating the Ottoman Turks twice. This HBO miniseries was less about the history but more about Catherine and her lovers. Even in her hay days she was more intrigued to be loved with her younger servants. Her love affair and marriage with Gregory Potemkin was denied throughout history but recently revealed during the 90's. Helen was wonderful, and engaging for someone she portrayed that was much younger than her. The wonderful costumes and cinematography created a good series that brought the story to life. Overall it was a good series but nothing fantastic.
  • Dec 18, 2019
    Expecting caviar, but receiving re-heated fish & chips. Two stars because of Mirren, who has done much, much better work elsewhere. The acting, by and large, was reminiscent of a high-school play. I watched all of it because of my better half, otherwise I would have probably quit somewhere during part 3, or was that part 2? Where's the remote?
  • Dec 10, 2019
    Clunky story. Miren plays someone decades younger than she is. Bad.
  • Dec 04, 2019
    Ouch! I so much looked forward to this series :) Such an impressive period of history and such an impressive ruler should have provided some fantastic source material! Sadly I had to give up after episode 2... The actors with very few exceptions were either uninteresting, miscast or just not compelling in their roles. And it pains me to say this, but this includes Helen Mirren. I do hope that someone in the future does another Catherine the Great with exciting characters, storylines and settings :)
  • Dec 01, 2019
    Beautiful settings and costumes, Mirren is an excellent actress, but much too old for the role!!! This was painful to watch, beware...
  • Nov 30, 2019
    Mirren is fantastic, as always. The hamfisted direction kills the story. Cookie cutter and boring. The actors and the story of Catherine the Great deserve so much better than the slop served by the Philip Martin. Didn't make it to the end of episode 2 and I am a big fan of Catherine the Great - but this guy makes sex scenes less exciting than watching paint dry. Would love to see Mirren do this with a talented director at the helm.
  • Nov 18, 2019
    Extremely disappointing result considering the talent, the production and the money behind it. Plus they could hardly have had a more compelling subject to work with. But, somehow, they managed to make it boring. The Potemkin character, in particular, was miscast. Catherine should have been played by a younger woman. I barely made it through two episodes.

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