Feud: Bette And Joan - Pilot

Starring: Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon, Judy Davis, Jackie Hoffman, Alfred Molina, Stanley Tucci, Alison Wright, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson
Creator: Ryan Murphy, Jaffe Cohen, Michael Zam
Rating: ****

Air Date: Sunday's 10pm, FX (US) 

Throughout history there has been countless amounts of spats, arguments and feuds amongst people in the public eye. However rarely are they then turned into an enlightening piece of entertainment for the masses to enjoy. That is exactly what televising visionary Ryan Murphy has done with his new series Feud.

Feud will aim to look at a different famous feud in each series, with season 2 confirmed to look at Prince Charles and Princess Diana. However season 2 takes a magnifying glass to the tumultuous relationship between classic Hollywood stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. It was a bitter and vile relationship these two women had, a relationship that has gone down in history, and now it will be immortalised through television.

Davis and Crawford are played by Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange respectively, and the two are divine divas who embody their roles with grace and glamour. The disdain between the two, and pure hatred toward one another comes naturally to the two, and it is hard to imagine the two getting along off set as well as on. The actresses have embraced the drama of the whole thing and they enter the show with their guns a-blazing and guards down. Giving a glimpse into the life of an ageing actress and how difficult it was (and often still is), the two bring the desperation and neediness that these two actresses so went through. Both Lange and Sarandon bring their all to the roles, and it is heaven to see Lange back on the small screen, and just as nice to see Sarandon alongside her for this bumpy ride.

The show itself is an intriguing and fantastic look at glamorous old Hollywood, but also the sexism, pressure and poor treatment actresses faced back then. There is no doubt that this is still an issue to this day, but to see how obvious and brazen it was back then is shocking. The script is unashamed to look at these subject matters, but keeps it from becoming preachy or too political in the way it is dealt with. You are just watching from the sideline, in those times, and you as a modern day audience pick up on the blatant mistreatment you are watching.

Ryan Murphy has come up with yet another superb and exciting concept for a television show, and while it has its teething problems like many shows do, it is still a fantastic piece of drama to get involved with and lose yourself in. The clever use of overly dramatic music and close up shots gives it that classic old blockbuster feel, which lends itself beautifully to the campiness of these two divas arguing and tormenting one another.

The story of Joan and Bette is a convoluted and long one, and the first episode does a terrific job at beginning to unravel their issues and look beneath the surface. Helped by a unbelievable supporting cast boasting of Stanley Tucci, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kathy Bates (with Sarah Paulson yet to make her appearance), Feud: Bette and Joan looks set to be yet another award winning anthology series for Ryan Murphy, and one that audiences around the world are bound to live for. 

Feud: Bette and Joan - Promo