With battling brothel madams, anti-vice crusaders, ripping bodices and intimate transactional relations galore (carnal and otherwise), the March 29 debut of Harlots on Hulu delivers a very different look at the world’s oldest profession.
Led by a fantastic Samantha Morton as madam Margaret Wells, the eight-episode first season of the series co-created by Jane Eyre screenwriter Moira Buffini and Alison Newman is, as I say in my video review above, a smart romp. More Fox’s Empire in many ways than PBS’ Masterpiece despite its London 1763 setting, the mainly female-written, -directed, -produced and -starring Harlots is also a deft and bawdy feminist rewriting of sorts of the infamous “Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies” that cataloged and rated the prostitutes of the decadent Georgian Era. The co-production between Hulu and ITV, which sees the series premiere in the UK on March 27, will drop a new episode each week.
Harlots also stars Downton Abbey vet Jessica Brown Findlay as Charolette, the eldest daughter of Margaret Wells and a much-desired top draw in certain upper-crust circles. Fortitude’s Eloise Smyth portrays Lucy, the virginal youngest daughter, who’s virtue is much bid upon and could provide financial resources for Wells’ war in this man’s world with rival madam Lydia Quigley, menacingly played by Lesley Manville.
Click on my video review of Harlots above to see more of what I think of what may be one of Hulu’s best original offerings yet. Will you be watching?