Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This two-part, four-hour cable miniseries covers the history of Imperial Russia, from the origins of the Romanovs in Scandinavia 900 years ago, to the oust of the rotting royalty by the Bolsheviks in 1917. Although the miniseries touches upon Russia's oppression under the Mongol hordes and its embracing of the Orthodox Church in the tenth century, the production's main selling angle is its vivid depiction (via contemporary artwork and dramatized reenactments) of the "geniuses, madmen, and harlots" who sat on the throne, among them Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and Nicholas I and II. The series is dominated by a vivid, newly commissioned musical score, and spiced up with dramatic recreations of the high (and low points) of the Romanov dynasty. The final scenes depict the current Russian scene, with the nation's 21st century residents pursuing their ethnic roots. Russia: Land of the Tsars premiered May 26, 2003, on the History Channel.