‘Catherine the Great’s’ Reign Will Begin on HBO This October

Helen Mirren in all her regal glory (Credit: Hal Shinnie/HBO)

It’s official: Catherine the Great’s reign starts this Fall in America.

HBO and Sky Atlantic announced the premiere dates for their upcoming limited series, which stars Oscar winner Helen Mirren as one of the most powerful women in history – and the person responsible for basically creating the nation of Russia as we understand it in a modern context.

Unlike HBO’s recent prestige period import Gentleman Jack, however, we’ll have to wait until our friends across the pond see it first. The four-part series will premiere in full on Sky Atlantic on October 3, with a U.S. bow on the premium cable network beginning Monday, October 21. 

A new queen is coming.#CatherineTheGreat, starring Helen Mirren, premieres October 21 at 10PM on HBO. pic.twitter.com/ccJvE61jgi

— HBO (@HBO) August 28, 2019

The arrival of Catherine the Great also continues the recent – and very welcome, if you ask me – trend of using the period genre to tell stories powerful and/or unconventional women on their own terms. Starz’s ongoing set of dramas focused on the women of Tudor history – The White Queen, The White Princess and The Spanish Princess – are probably the most popular and obvious recent examples, but shows like Harlots and films such as The Favourite are also more than happy to play with expectations about the kind of stories and perspectives period dramas can feature.

According to the official press release, this series will focus on Catherine later in her life, toward the end of the reign that lasted for more than thirty years.

The HBO/Sky production follows Catherine towards the end of her reign during her passionate affair with Grigory Potemkin.

Amid scandal, intrigue and immense conflict, they develop a unique and devoted relationship, overcoming their adversaries and together serving as the architects of modern-day Russia through a series of liberalizing reforms.

Jason Clarke plays Potemkin, and the rest of the supporting cast is full of familiar fa

ces to British television fans, including Rory Kinnear, Joseph Quinn, Gina McKee, Kevin McNally and more.

And to be honest, if this first teaser is anything to go by, it looks incredible.


Thoughts on Catherine the Great? On Mirren playing her fourth - yes, really - royal ruler? Let’s discuss in the comments.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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