Catherine the Great: Miniseries (2019)

Catherine the Great

Critics Consensus

Helen Mirren delivers a commanding performance in Catherine the Great, a sumptuously rendered drama that's only real shortcoming is its limited runtime.



Critic Ratings: 27

Audience Score

User Ratings: 0
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Air date: Oct 21, 2019
Air date: Oct 28, 2019
Air date: Nov 4, 2019
Air date: Nov 11, 2019

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Critic Reviews for Catherine the Great Miniseries

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (7)

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…

Fabulous as the sets are, they pale next to the magnificence of Helen Mirren, looking as creamily ageless as though she's bathed in all the caviar of Lake Baikal.

Sep 27, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Catherine the Great is the historical drama series I've been waiting for; massive, lush, beautiful, and with an element that's so often missing in big dramas about major figures: incredibly human.

Sep 26, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It's a production of epic proportion, but it works so well because even its title character is scaled down to a relatable level.

Oct 22, 2019 | Full Review…

Helen Mirren is her usual force of nature in Catherine The Great.

Oct 21, 2019 | Full Review…

There's a thin line between costume-drama soap and comic-book sophomorica, and Catherine The Great practically erases it.

Oct 21, 2019 | Full Review…

Catherine the Great reframes her desire as part of her glory - and revels in that glory, without asking too many awkward questions.

Oct 21, 2019 | Full Review…

Racy, interesting and visually arresting.

Oct 18, 2019 | Full Review…

She's great. The miniseries, not so much.

Oct 18, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Catherine the Great: Miniseries

  • 12h ago
    Hellen Mirren may be one of the wonders of the acting world, but playing a newly elevated Catherine the Great, who was just 32 at the time of her ascension, is not in Mirren's bag of tricks. The introduction of characters is done at a rip-roaring pace, and even having knowledge of the key players in Catherine's real life court, I'm still struggling to identify and differentiate between them on screen. The dialogue is filled with the typical mixture of clever quips and "disobey me and I'll kill you" lines, which one expects, but one also hopes that this mix will be captivating or emotion-provoking. Sadly they are not. Perhaps most problematic is the pace of this production. Fifteen minutes is all you need to realize that this was likely originally written as an hour-long weekly show, destined for multiple seasons. What we are given has been boiled down and condensed into a miniseries, which moves so fast that after the first installment I had no idea how we got from the opening scene to the closing line. It's an absolute tragedy, because even as an unbelievable 32-year-old, I still want to see Mirren's take on this heroine grow. We, her television subjects, however, will have to be satisfied with this half attempt that HBO has given us. Even with all of the problems that this show has, the costuming, over-the-top sets, and attention to detail do a great deal to lift this period piece when it begins to fall flat. I think history buffs will have to be content with these elements, because the rest is simply frustrating. If I can watch the remaining episodes semi-attentively and with my eyes in a squint, it might not be half bad... or half good.
  • 13h ago
    A lot of aesthetics, a lot of saturation and little plot to work with make this series pure stuffing, narrating in four hours what could be summed up in less than two
  • 1d ago
    Helen Mirren is amazing

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