The Great, the critically-acclaimed (including by us) sitcom about Catherine the Great's rise to power and transformed Russia into a superpower for the first time in history, has been renewed for a third season by Hulu. The announcement came at Disney's Television Critics Association winter press tour. Season 3 will have another 10 episodes of farcical, murderous mayhem.
As we said, The Great is what you might get if Game of Thrones was a sitcom. Creator Tony McNamara takes a mostly-sorta-true approach to history to create what would otherwise be a somber tale of power and betrayal into a revolving chairs farce in the pre-Enlightenment Russian royal court. Catherine (Elle Fanning), as the new empress in town, has to navigate her narcissistic sociopathic husband Peter (Nicholas Hoult), his court of ass-kissing nobles, and the Orthodox Church to gain power and improve the lot of all Russians. They, in turn, keep plotting to stab her in the back. It's like high school, only the mean girls and jocks are plotting to murder the new girl. McNamara told The Hollywood Reporter that he hasn't decided how many seasons The Great would run.
"I know a whole bunch of events that are interesting that you can hang things on," he said. "At the moment, I try not to look too far ahead. At the end of season two, I didn't quite know what season three was. I like not knowing what comes next. If you have a show with a great ensemble and a great bunch of characters, you can invent as you go for a while."
McNamara does have actual historical events and the timeline of Catherine the Great's ascent to the throne as a guideline after all. The show's central dynamic hinges on Fanning and Hoult's romantic comedy chemistry as Catherine vacillates between wanting Peter dead and having feelings for him, and Hoult's Peter suddenly falling in love with her and wanting to be a good dad to their son. However, he is still Every Girl's Worst Boyfriend Ever. Peter's days are numbered because eventually Catherine will have him (allegedly) murdered to consolidate her power. But until then, it's fun watching the two of them dance around each other in a casually homicidal screwball comedy.