|Catherine the Great|
|Written by||Nigel Williams|
|Directed by||Philip Martin|
|Country of origin|
|No. of episodes||4 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||3 October 2019|
Catherine the Great is a British-American miniseries in four parts written by Nigel Williams and directed by Philip Martin for Sky Atlantic and HBO Miniseries. It stars Helen Mirren as the titular Catherine the Great.
The miniseries premiered in its entirety on 3 October 2019 on Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom. It debuted on 21 October 2019 on HBO in the United States. The show was also distributed worldwide by Sky Vision.
The miniseries depicts Empress Catherine II of Russia's reign, from 1764, two years after taking power, until her death in 1796.
The majority of filming took place in Lithuania, due to scenery of the country and favourable film tax incentives - Vilnius, Pažaislis monastery and Trakai Island Castle. A large part of filming, in particular the episodes happening in the throne room, many corridor episodes, the cross-dressing ball at the end of Episode 1, and the scenes that take place on the stairs outside the palace, were filmed in Rundāle Palace in Latvia. Other scenes were filmed in St Petersburg, Peterhof Palace, and Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo Russia.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.K./U.S. viewers|
|1||"Episode 1"||Phillip Martin||Nigel Williams||3 October 2019||0.345 and 0.332|
|2||"Episode 2"||Phillip Martin||Nigel Williams||3 October 2019||0.345 and 0.232|
|3||"Episode 3"||Phillip Martin||Nigel Williams||3 October 2019||0.345 and 0.311|
|4||"Episode 4"||Phillip Martin||Nigel Williams||3 October 2019||0.345 and 0.237|
The four-part miniseries premiered in its entirety on Sky Atlantic, On Demand and Now TV in the United Kingdom on 3 October 2019. It debuted in its entirety on HBO Go and HBO Now in the United States on 21 October 2019, while HBO broadcast one part per week until 11 November 2019. Catherine the Great premiered on Fox Showcase in Australia on 3 November 2019.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 68% based on 40 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Though its sumptuous setting and design often outshines its storytelling, Catherine the Great remains a seductive, if scattershot, period drama thanks to the great Helen Mirren". On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 61 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The Guardian, while praising Helen Mirren's (Helen Mirronoff, daughter of a Russian émigré) performance, found the work, overall, lacking.
Variety wrote: "Stepping back from the series' four episodes reveals a disappointing lack of ambition in portraying such a titanic force's final days".
Mike Hale of The New York Times criticized the film for having "a lot of yelling and passionate making up", and called it "a little distant and slightly embarrassing", comparing it to "a couple you don't know arguing in a parking lot".
Brian Lowry of CNN wrote "The peccadilloes of royalty never go out of fashion, but Catherine -- with her tumultuous decades-long reign -- brings more intrigue to the party than most".
Vanity Fair's Sonia Saraiya said that "Catherine the Great reframes her desire as part of her glory - and revels in that glory, without asking too many awkward questions".
According to David Fear of the Rolling Stone, "You can feel that [directors] are relying on the mighty Dame Helen to do most of the dramatic heavy lifting here. You can also sense when, despite her best efforts, that particular plan of action still falls short".
|2020||British Academy Television Awards||Best Make Up & Hair Design||Kirstin Chalmers||Nominated|||
|Best Titles & Graphic Identity||Elastic||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Limited Series or Television Film||Helen Mirren||Nominated|||
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie or Special||Jim Goddard, Craig Butters, Duncan Price, Matthew Mewett, Andrew Glen, Anna Wright and Catherine Thomas (for "Episode 4")||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Film||Helen Mirren||Nominated|||