The Great: Season 1 (2020)

SEASON:

Season 1
The Great

Critics Consensus

The Great can't quite live up to its namesake, but delicious performances from Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult and a wicked sense of humor make it a pretty good watch.

88%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 83

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 431

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Episodes

Air date: May 15, 2020

Catherine, Orlo and Marial continue their coup planning. They try to recruit an unhappy military general, Velementov, for their cause during palace celebrations honoring Peter's late father, Peter the Great. Peter, noting Catherine's unhappiness at court, gifts Catherine a sterile lover, Leo. She's hesitant at first, but Leo manages to charm her.

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Air date: May 15, 2020

Catherine takes her first steps toward a coup. Taking advice from Marial, she attempts to seduce and recruit palace intellectual Count Orlo. It's a disaster. However, after seeing Peter's brutal treatment of local nobles and unwillingness to listen, he decides to join Catherine's coup.

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Air date: May 15, 2020

Catherine, Orlo and Marial continue their coup planning. They try to recruit an unhappy military general, Velementov, for their cause during palace celebrations honoring Peter's late father, Peter the Great. Peter, noting Catherine's unhappiness at court, gifts Catherine a sterile lover, Leo. She's hesitant at first, but Leo manages to charm her.

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Air date: May 15, 2020

Catherine tries to manage her reputation at court and her relationship with Leo, both of which distract her from the coup. Meanwhile, the influential Patriarch of the church dies, and a new one must be chosen. Orlo sees an opportunity to try and influence Peter in the decision, and Archie makes moves.

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Air date: May 15, 2020

As the war with Sweden continues to rage, Catherine and Aunt Elizabeth visit the military at the Russian front. Seeing the soldiers reminds Catherine of her goal to rule Russia differently. Grigor struggles with Peter and Georgina's relationship and poisons Peter to end it. When Peter falls ill, Velementov, Orlo, and Marial all try to influence Catherine's steps toward takeover as Peter's life hangs in the balance.

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Air date: May 15, 2020

Peter has a new lease on life after his near-death experience. He is open to Catherine's progressive ideas of introducing art and science to court and wants to focus on an heir. Orlo tries to figure out who poisoned Peter and faces demons of his own.

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Air date: May 15, 2020

Catherine feels optimistic about peaceful coexistence with Peter and their increasing chemistry. When smallpox breaks out in the servant's quarters, however, Peter reverts to his old ways. Meanwhile, Leo and Catherine's relationship suffers and Georgina misses Peter.

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Air date: May 15, 2020

Catherine's political abilities are tested when she's given an opportunity to travel abroad with Peter and Velementov to discuss ending the war with Swedish king. Velementov finally sees the potential of her leadership and decides to support the coup. Back at the palace, Leo wants to leave court. Marial tries to keep him there by telling him about the coup.

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Air date: May 15, 2020

Tensions mount as Catherine, Orlo, Velementov, Leo, and Marial try to get regional counts on board with the coup. A few of the men end up killed. When a body is discovered later, Peter decides to torture everyone at the palace to find the murderous traitors. Marial buckles under the pressure and confides in Archie about Catherine's plans. Catherine realizes she is pregnant.

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Air date: May 15, 2020

Catherine's decides to move forward with the coup on her birthday. Peter isn't so easily overcome and holds Leo hostage as collateral. In exchange for a return to her status, Marial betrays Catherine to Peter and tells him that she is pregnant. Catherine realizes that the only chance for a greater Russia is to fight, without Leo. The battle begins.

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Tv Season Info

Cast & Crew

Elle Fanning
Catherine
Phoebe Fox
Marial
Adam Godley
Archbishop
Gwilym Lee
Grigor
Marian Macgowan
Executive Producer
Josh Kesselman
Executive Producer
Ron West
Executive Producer
Brittany Kahan Ward
Executive Producer
Doug Mankoff
Executive Producer
Andrew Spaulding
Executive Producer
Elle Fanning
Executive Producer
Mark Winemaker
Executive Producer
Matt Shakman
Executive Producer
James Wood
Writer
Bert & Bertie
Director
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News & Interviews for The Great: Season 1

Critic Reviews for The Great Season 1

All Critics (83) | Top Critics (35)

McNamara -- along with Fanning and Hoult, whose fine-tuned performances turn Peter and Catherine's contentious relationship into a complex frenemy-ship -- focuses on how power, and the comfort that comes with it, can corrupt them both.

May 21, 2020 | Full Review…

Reality is rarely as funny as this sparkling period satire, set in mid-18th century Russia amid a sneaky coup d'état that plays out like a Scooby gang caper (with wigs).

May 14, 2020 | Full Review…

As with McNamara's justly celebrated screenplay for The Favourite, it's the emotional honesty of The Great that allows the comedy to land so viciously.

May 13, 2020 | Full Review…

"The Great" doesn't exactly live up to the title. Fanning and crew work wonders, but it's unclear who this series is aimed at.

May 11, 2020 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

"The Great" is an engaging historical satire that resonates thanks to its vision of courtly debauchery and the tremendous acting by Fanning, Hoult and the rest of the cast.

May 15, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The most pleasant surprise here is Fanning, a skilled dramatic actor who hasn't had many chances to show her comedy chops over the course of her career.

May 15, 2020 | Full Review…

There was a lot to like about The Great, from the central performances of Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult to its use of modern dialogue and its sense of humour. Very moreish, though it did occasionally plunge too far into darkness.

Jan 13, 2021 | Full Review…

The result is funny, feminist, zinging, louche, and at least a bit true.

Jan 11, 2021 | Full Review…

[Tony McNamara] has some form in the area of fictionalised revisionism, as co-writer of the award-winning period black comedy The Favourite, though this time he overdoes the glib ahistorical dissonances and gratingly 2021-ish obscenities.

Jan 4, 2021 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

There must be limits as to the degree of humiliation Peter's retainers will tolerate, but each episode only seems to unleash new refinements.

Jul 31, 2020 | Full Review…

Historically bonkers, but so witty it will make your brain melt.

May 22, 2020 | Full Review…

Takes the risk of becoming tiresome at times, cut this down by a couple of episodes and we're on to a bonafide Faberge egg of a winner.

Jul 8, 2020 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Great: Season 1

  • May 20, 2021
    I loved this show so much, it adds a comedic and dark humor sense. And even though it isn't full historical, I really like the character. I also believe that the actors/actresses portrayed the characters really well. Can't wait for Season 2!!
  • May 08, 2021
    It is refreshing to see a hilarious version of a historic series. Exceptional performances from the two principles, while the sets and costumes are amazing.
  • Apr 27, 2021
    "The Great" lived up to its title and then some. Hoult (Czar), Fanning (German bride) and the other characters play off each other brilliantly due to top notch writing, direction, casting, and acting. Having studied World History at university both in the US and in Europe, the eccentricity of the characters and Russian outlandishness is VERY BELIEVABLE...as well as laugh out loud funny not only because of the inspired writing (with many writer's liberties, yes) but because it was the Russian monarchy's very excesses, eccentricities and disconnect from the common people that eventually led to Russia's Bolshevik Revolution with Czar Nicholas II being overthrown, similar to the overthrow of Louis XVI during the French revolution which led to Napoleon. All in all, a brilliant, brilliant show. Season 2 can't come fast enough!!
  • Apr 23, 2021
    this is a great series ... gets dragging in some episodes but otherwise worth watching the whole series.
  • Mar 30, 2021
    The show itself is great, but the dialogues between Elle & Nicholas are amazing and they make each episode one of a kind.
  • Mar 08, 2021
    This is huge fun. The credits flag it isn't historically correct so not sure why some of the critics at are moaning about that. A real rollicking tale with mischief and enthusiasm. Enjoyed every minute.
  • Mar 04, 2021
    I really enjoyed The Favorite and had high hopes for this. But I'm on episode 3 and struggling to find the will to continue. In an era of strong female characters, Catherine is written as a bumbling optimist whose intelligence us only apparent in the fact that she is one of the few literate people in the court. Even the "mean girls" moments feel pathetic. Setting up a tent to match your rival's dress. Scathing. Also, it seemed like all the other women found it hilarious but by the next scene they all hated Catherine for doing such a monstrous thing. Feels like the writers weren't even trying. Just keeping the production moving on the backs of famous name.
  • Feb 28, 2021
    Halfway through season one: I have to force myself to stop binge- watching. I laughed out loud a few times in the first 10 minutes: I was expecting a historical documentary, and the farce took me by pleasant surprise.
  • Feb 18, 2021
    Absolute drivel, smug self satisfied fantasy dressed up has historical comedy drama. Not funny, not dramatic, not historic, just empty and vapid
  • Feb 12, 2021
    Really fun and fresh. Fanning has the range of a pink potato, but thankfully the role required not much of her. The camerawork, the plot and cast dynamics were well done and fun without being tacky or cartoon. Still I can see young Keith Moss fitting perfectly for the role

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