WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

“There are unscrupulous people in Russia,” Catherine tells her scheming foreign minister in the opening episode. “Fortunately, I am one of them.”

Fortunately for Catherine, at least. And arguably, for Russia too.

They don’t call her Catherine the Great for nothing. The German-born empress deposed her own husband, foiled a number of would-be coups and presided over the largest nation on Earth for more than 34 years—during what many consider to be Russia’s golden age. She was considered enlightened for her time and place, and she enacted (or, at least, tried to enact) many reforms for which she was later fondly remembered.

But you don’t get called great without taking chances or making enemies. The historical Catherine hatched many a scheme under the table and bedded many a man under the covers. And naturally, it’s that sort of “greatness”—the great licentiousness of her court and the great duplicitousness of her times—that is of the greatest interest to HBO.

The Motherland’s Mother

This HBO miniseries opens a few years into Catherine’s reign, but her crown is hardly secure. A rival, the son of a long-dead Czar, could potentially serve as a figurehead for a popular revolt. The scheming Orlov brothers, who helped Catherine secure the throne, want more power and prestige in return—and they believe they can take the throne away just as easily. Even Catherine’s own son, Paul, thinks it’s high time that mummy share some power with him. He is, after all, the man of the family.

Enter Grigory Potemkin, the latest youngish Lieutenant to catch the empress’s ever-roaming eye. He has his eye on Catherine, too—not so much for her power and wealth (though that doesn’t hurt), but because he’s truly smitten by her: her courage, charisma and her ability to operate so well in a man’s world while still flouting significant cleavage.

But Potemkin is more than just a pretty face: He’s also a skilled strategist, both politically and militarily. And with so many countries threatening war, and with so many nobles breathing rebellion, she could use some sound advice in both areas.

The fact that he’s good in bed, naturally, doesn’t hurt his standing, either.

Do as the Romanovs Do?

Starring Helen Mirren, who’s made something of a cottage industry playing queens, HBO’s Catherine the Great is a lavish production that attempts to recast Catherine as a feminist hero—especially when it comes to her attitudes toward sex.

"Actually, to this day we think we're liberated, but we still have profoundly different attitudes to the sexuality of women and the sexuality of men,” Mirren told bustle.com. “Things are acceptable in a man that are not acceptable in women. Catherine jumped over that fence and landed on the other side."

Most everyone in the miniseries is cavorting on the other side, though. Pretty much everyone who’s anyone here has sex for the camera—often repeatedly. For such a chilly country, it’s remarkable how many people cavort without clothes here. It’s almost as if HBO spent so much money on Catherine’s extravagant gowns that they didn’t have money to outfit half of the extras.

And while the principal actors tend to have their privates shielded from the viewers’ voyeuristic eyes, all the panting and grunting and heaving certainly reveals what’s going on underneath all those corsets.

On the spiritual side of things, the Russian Orthodox Church, while important in Catherine’s Russia, is depicted as just another power-hungry player more than it’s shown to be a devout outlet of worship.

Russia gets plenty violent, too: While Catherine saw herself as a benevolent monarch, she rarely blanched at ordering someone’s head chopped off or sending countless soldiers off to war. Remember, this is a woman who, if she didn’t officially order her own husband to be murdered, she certainly didn’t shed many tears when he was.

These issues make HBO’s Catherine the Great as problematic as—well, as Catherine’s historical court probably was. Back then, all that sex and death was the way business was done in royal palaces across Europe. But at least most of the time, they had enough to propriety to close the doors a bit. Here, on HBO, they’re flung wide open. Eighteenth-century debauchery is given a 21st-century makeover and handed to us on a silver remote control, for viewers to devour at their leisure.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Oct. 21, 2019: "Catherine the Great"

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Drama

Author

Cast

Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great; Jason Clarke as Grigory Potemkin; Rory Kinnear as Nikita Ivanovich Panin; Gina McKee as Countess Praskovya Bruce; Kevin R. McNally as Alexei Orlov; Richard Roxburgh as Grigory Orlov; Joseph Quinn as Tsarevich Paul; Clive Russell as the Fool

Director

Distributor

Network

HBO

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Released

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!