The White QueenThe White Queen is a new TV series that was somewhat lukewarmly received this Summer over in England, where it premiered back in June on BBC One, but is likely to be the Starz equivalent of Game of Thrones when it reaches American shores later this week. Set to premiere in the United States on Starz this August 10th, The White Queen is based off of Philippa Gregory’s Cousin’s War novels, the first of which was entitled The White Queen. Much like Game of Thrones, the title of the first book becomes the title of the series, with a medieval base (though some fair bit of The White Queen is actually based in history, upon the War of the Roses, rather than fantasy and magic). Those who become fans of Gregory’s The White Queen however have a great advantage over George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones fans, in the Gregory actually publishes her novels rather prolifically, averaging one a year, with 4 already released so far and a fifth on the way (also oddly like Game of Thrones when it’s HBO series premiered).

The White Queen Cast

So why do I think this TV series, which took a rather harsh beating by reviewers in the UK and saw a fair, but not stunning, viewership in the so far aired half of it’s opening season on BBC, is going to be a hit in the USA? Because the Starz version will be edited differently and feature more sexually explicit scene, while also not targeting a group of people as familiar with the history of the events portrayed. Plus, for comic geeks, much of the series is written by English television writer, Emma Frost, who coincidentally shares a name with the Marvel comic character otherwise known as The White Queen…a funny little bit of serendipity that might even draw some comic fans into the mix (as if those few numbers will actually effect the ratings).

The slightly more sexualized version of The White Queen set to air on Starz will be just what many Game of Thrones and Spartacus fans are looking for, as they currently lack an ancient fantasy like setting with intense sex, violence, and drama that only a premium channel TV series can bring them. This adaption of Gregory’s novel is very much being advertised in the vein of Game of Thrones, Deadwood, Spartacus, Da Vinci’s Demons, or The Tudors. That’s something, that if Monday water cooler conversation over the past several years has shown, American audiences eat up. Swords, sex, and Shakespearean dialogue tends to be all you need when combined with a premium network television series for high ratings on a Saturday or Sunday.

The White Queen coupleSo what is the story of The White Queen? Starz describes it as:

The White Queen is a riveting portrayal of one of the most dramatic and turbulent times in English history. A story of love and lust, seduction and deception, betrayal and murder, it is uniquely told through the perspective of three different, yet equally relentless women – Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville. In their quest for power, they will scheme, manipulate and seduce their way onto the English throne.

The year is 1464, before the Tudor dynasty ruled the country, and war has been ravaging throughout England over who is the rightful King. It is a bitter dispute between two sides of the same family, The House of York and The House of Lancaster.

The House of York’s young and handsome Edward IV is crowned King of England with the help of the master manipulator, Lord Warwick “The Kingmaker.” But when Edward falls in love with a beautiful Lancastrian commoner, Elizabeth Woodville, Warwick’s plan to control the throne comes crashing down.

A violent, high-stakes struggle ensues between Elizabeth, her most fierce adversary, Lancastrian Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville, the pawn in her father’s power game – each woman vying for the crown.

The show stars Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth Woodville, Amanda Hale as Lady Margaret Beaufort, Faye Marsay as Lady Anne Neville, James Frain as Richard “the Kingmaker” Neville of Warwick, and Max Irons as Edward IV. Filmed heavily in Belgium, with a budget of £25 million (roughly $38.5 million USD), The White Queen is a 10 episode series so far that is set to air August 10th at 8PM on Starz. Watch the trailer below.

And for a slightly more indepth view on the series, watch The White Queen series overview: