First the bad news on this series: most of it is filmed indoors, and both the direction and the acting are often stagey and stilted--think stuffy stage sets. I suppose what this really means is that it shows its age. Now the good news: for all its shortcomings, it is gripping television. It has a huge and varied cast of characters; a plot encompassing the collapse of monarchy in Europe (no less); a script that is lean and able to balance sentiment with pragmatism. Above all, this is a BIG series. Its theme and scale dwarf recent series such as Boardwalk Empire. It is epic--and while any decent epic has failings, it also has an overarching sense of grandeur.
I have to admit that I had never heard of this series but am very glad that it has become available. A very close up and personal depiction of the future emperors and arch dukes and kaisers over the 60 years that would change Europe from an ancient old world place into the chaos of post 1918 republicanism, bolshevism, nazism and all the other isms. Far from being dry "historical recreations" every episode and every character is full of passion and motivation. I can't wait to watch the rest of the installments.!!!