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Elizabeth I

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The year is 1579, two decades into Elizabeth I’s reign as Queen of England. Still husbandless at 45, she has yet to produce an heir, and war among those who covet her throne appears inevitable. So don’t be shocked that Elizabeth I opens as the monarch undergoes a public pelvic exam: This excellent HBO miniseries is not about a young royal’s unparalleled rise to power, but the violent (and often humiliating) political ramifications of her middle-age sex life. EXTRAS While the ”Making of” and ”Uncovering the Real Elizabeth I” featurettes are what you would expect to accompany a meticulously rendered historical drama, they still offer extraordinary sound bites: Historian David Starkey calls Elizabeth’s physical relationship with the Earl of Leicester ”Clinton-esque” (referring to the Queen as a ”technical virgin”), while lead actress Helen Mirren instructs us on how the monarch ”adored men. She adored good-looking men. She adored athletic men. She liked witty men…”