The Historical Comedy Drama That Everyone's Binging On Hulu

A lot of people seem to think the past was a lot more conservative and prudish than the present. However, upon looking back at history, it actually appears like the opposite could be true. 

Hulu's The Great may not be 100 percent historically accurate (and depending on who you ask, isn't historically accurate at all), but hopefully, it encourages people to look into the real-life story of Catherine the Great and discover that plenty of strange things were, indeed, afoot in 18th-century Russia. For starters, Catherine the Great and Emperor Peter III didn't speak English back in the day, but that's merely a stylistic choice to help viewers today relate to the characters and develop a greater interest in this fascinating rise to power. 

The Great was one of the best shows on Hulu when it first debuted in 2020. In the aftermath of the show garnering several Golden Globe nominations, including one for Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy, there appears to be renewed interest in The Great, and anyone checking it out for the first time will be delighted to hear it's already been picked up for a second season (via The Hollywood Reporter). If you never thought a show about a Russian monarchy could get you on the floor laughing, then allow The Great to change your perspective. 

The Great has extended its reign into the pantheon of exceptional Hulu comedies

Robert Lloyd from The Los Angeles Times writes perhaps the best way new viewers should go into the series, stating, "[Creator Tony] McNamara had jotted down some names, relationships and a few historical bullet points, torn up the paper, and started writing." However, the broad strokes are there, and the series as a whole focuses on Catherine (Elle Fanning) realizing she would make a better ruler than her husband, Peter III (Nicholas Hoult). As she plays the role of the dutiful wife in public, she plots with her co-conspirators in private to find a way to rise through the ranks of the Russian political system.

There have been other TV shows and movies centered on the life of Catherine the Great in the past, but none of them have been quite as funny as this. The most recent is the British miniseries that came out in 2019 called, appropriately, Catherine the Great, which stars Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, and Rory Kinnear. Rather than focusing on Catherine's rise to power, this series instead picks up a couple of years after she's already ascended to the throne. Of course, it only makes sense for Russia to have its own series about the country's former ruler, and there have been multiple in recent memory, including Ekaterina and its own series also called Catherine the Great

Ultimately, it's a very good time to be a history buff, but even if you don't know the difference between the Kievan-Appanage and Imperial periods of Russian history, you can still find plenty to enjoy on The Great. It has the same kind of dark humor found in 2018's The Favourite, which makes sense considering McNamara was also a co-writer on that film. Cue it up as your next binge-watch knowing full well this is a show that absolutely lives up to its name.