Crackling with good fun and sex appeal, this bio-series abandons strict historical accuracy (we've got Wikipedia for that!) for anachronistic music and a punk-rock vibe. It's all to the good. When a guy's plays require two pages of footnotes for each page of dialogue, the material could clearly use a little freshening up. Young Shakespeare is about as fresh-faced as they come; wide-eyed, too, on the wild streets of London, where he happens upon a theater troupe in need of some words to act out on stage. "Hey! I have words!" says Shakespeare, and we're off, toggling between the pleasingly zany antics of the all-male troupe of actors Shakespeare has hooked up with, the enraptured reception of the crowds of Mohawked Londoners, and the machinations of Marlowe and others who want to do our fellow wrong.
It sounds silly, and it is, but it's also glorious in its excesses, with shirtless pouty-lipped young men, swelling bosoms in tight bodices, retro stage-diving, villainous plans, romance, enthusiastic theater geeks, naughty young men and women drinking in bars and running around corners to kiss, a rap battle in period language that ends in the loser getting doused with beer. Surely staid 16th-century England wasn't this fun -- but it's great that this show is.