Bonjour Versailles; French series making a splash on international airwaves
Along with baguettes worthy of committing fraud for and a cheese selection that would make even a cow moo with envy, France boasts a distinct sense of national pride and well-known elitism among their many national treasures. But looks like France will now be dropping their hard-core separatism in favor of more enticing pursuits—money, and dare I say, the English language.
Tired of sitting on their wine drenched sidelines, French producers have decided to enter the rapidly growing and increasingly lucrative international television arena.
In 2016, the channel Canal+ welcomed a 10- episode first season about the decadent life, loves, and rule of France’s longest reigning king, Louis XIV, set at one of the world’s most famous palaces which he called home—Versailles.
The period drama follows King Louis XIV through the scandal gilded halls of Versailles from which he ruled from 1643 until his violent death in 1715, in what can only be described as an enticing display of royal debauchery.
Louis enduring and eventful reign from his throne at Versailles brought wide scale intrigue, glamour, and legacy to the palace fit for nothing more perfect than the small screen.
Viewers got to enjoy major grandeur as production costs for ‘Versailles’ have broken the record as the most expensive television series the country has ever produced. With more than 30 million dollars poured into the ten first episodes alone, the show must reportedly be sold to more than 30 countries just to break even. We have a feeling it will do just fine.
Oui oui International TV
After French hits like Les Revenants ‘The Returned’, and ‘Borgia’ became international successes, French producers decided to try their luck with ‘Versailles’, geared explicitly towards international audiences.
The series was filmed in English and features a British actor in the role of the fiercely patriotic King, Louis XIV. The decision to mainly steer clear of French actors came with the hopes of being able to appeal to the widest possible international audience and boost the series as a viable contender for success on the global small screen.
The casting of an Englishman as a French King and the choice to use English instead of French as the series preferred language has not come without fiery backlash from French audiences. But as the show has already enjoyed wildly popular success, it seems producers can laugh blasphemy all the way to the bank
Having just finished airing its second seasons, the seductive series simply has us saying “Now that is television fit for royalty”.
Read more, as well as let us know what you think of the show.