10 TV adaptations of Shakespeare

In response to Broke and Bookish, top 10 tuesdays prompt: top 10 tv shows

With my month long focus on Shakespeare in September, I started thinking about it, and I could remember a whole bunch of movie adaptations of Shakespeare, a handful of Jane Austen TV adaptations, but no Shakespeare TV adaptations. So I have done a bit of research, and here are my list of top ten Shakespeare TV shows.

  1. Shakespeare ReTold
    • This mini series sets four of the famous plays in modern day settings, and imagines how the stories would play out: Much ado about nothing is set in a TV newsroom, Macbeth in a restaurant, The Taming of the Shrew revolves around a politician with a PR problem and a supermodel sister, and finally, a Midsummer nights dream is set at a leisure park
  2. BBC Television Shakespeare
    • From 1978-1985, seven seasons and thirty-seven episodes were made of Shakespeare’s plays. They were aiming for traditional representation and for realism, but at times the sets decreased the realism and the presentation was said to be, well, a bit boring.
  3. Blackadder- The Black Adder
    • The first series of Blackadder is  confusingly called The Black Adder, and is a satirical alternative history in which King Richard III won the Battle of Bosworth Field only to be mistakenly murdered, allowing Richard IV to become king. Aired on BBC soon after their showing of War of the roses (Henry VI and Richard III plays), they using many of the same actors which heightened the comical value.
  4. King of Texas
    • King Lear set on a ranch in Texas in the 19th century. This is a movie, but was made for TV, and received good reviews.
  5. Motorcrossed
    • Another made for TV movie, Disney’s Motorcrossed takes Twelfth Night into the realm of motor sports.
  6. Son’s of Anarchy
    • While not meant to be a true modern day adaption, Son’s of Anarchy is influenced by Hamlet, for example with the protagonists father killed by someone who was like a brother, who then married his mother. Also, several episode titles directly reference Hamlet quotes.
  7. Animated Shakespeare
    • 12 x30 minute cartoon episodes of abridged Shakespeare text, with some modern day English narration filing in the gaps made by the need for extensive editing.
  8. Romeo x Juliet
    • An anime series based loosely on the play, with Juliet a masked vigilante after her family was killed by the Montagues,  and dragons
  9. Slings and Arrows
    • Set in a small town which hosts a Shakespeare festival, this series focuses on Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear. The plays are both created by the New Burbage company for the festival, and the main themes are played out in the lives of the main characters.
  10. Game of Thrones
    • This epic fanstasy series 9book and TV) is inspired by both the War of the roses , and French Historical Novels by Maurice Druon. Being a true historical event which has been extensively covered in literature as well as by Shakespeare, it is often hard to tell what writing about the War of the Roses are inspired by history and what by Shakespeare.











I must say, some of them have sound like great programs, and I will have to look out for them!


2 thoughts on “10 TV adaptations of Shakespeare

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