Review: Queen Cleopatra – Suspect Dramatic History

Putting together a documentary series that dramatizes the history of the story being told is a very tricky task for anyone. Historical accuracy is a big component of everything as much as making the drama look and feel interesting for viewers. Unfortunately, the Queen Cleopatra docudrama on Netflix fails on all aspects of what makes an interesting and fairly accurate summary of the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra. The biggest Achilles heel of this series is how a look at this well-known historical figure is blurred and frequently blinded by a modern lens that feels incredibly disingenuous and very questionable.

This Netflix series has been immersed in controversy since it was first announced and revealed in trailers, attracting the ire and hostility of many worldwide. But while many other people can debate on the historical fact or fiction of whether Cleopatra was light or dark-skinned, the series does very little to make a point or prove one it can stand on. Many of the statements and claims made by the scholars and experts included in Queen Cleopatra are put forward without any supporting info or evidence outside of personal beliefs and hyper subjectivity of historical records. This is a major problem for something that tries to present itself as a historical observation of a figure who lived many years ago, as well as her contemporaries in history that were alive back then.

Much of the glaring inaccuracies and issues presented that cover Cleopatra’s life, such as her political ambitions and reputation in the ancient world, could have been pacified if the series was advertised as a fictional retelling of history, rather than an accurate one. But that’s not how this series presents itself, nor do any of the speakers say that during any point of the series. Things are just said and not further explored or supported with additional facts or insight.

Queen Cleopatra is made to look like a special one would find on National Geographic or The History Channel, with the credibility that would normally come with stories told on those networks. But what’s here is a bullet point rundown of Cleopatra’s life and historical relevance made into a spectacle that aims to convey a message that may be outside the truth of the real person. It comes off as incredibly disingenuous and very obnoxious to the culture and history it covers.

But what about the drama? Is the fictional exaggeration of Cleopatra’s life at least passable enough to forgive any historical inaccuracy? The short answer is no. Much of the cast playing various historical figures from Egypt and Rome in the ancient world give a very surface-level performance, bordering on amateur in many cases. While most specials that try to show historical events through drama don’t always have the best acting, the bar is made incredibly low in Queen Cleopatra.

Many big events from Cleopatra’s life are twisted in the series, making her seem a lot more than what the truth actually was based on historical records that can be easily found. While there is a range of dramatization allowed to give emotion or importance to key events, the series goes a bit too far in some spots and change up the dynamics of relationships between Cleopatra and other historical figures. This includes how the show depicts Cleopatra’s sister Arsinoe IV, her brother Ptolemy XIV, Julius Caesar, Marc Anthony, and many others.

On top of all of this, many of the sets and backgrounds appear to be very mediocre. We don’t get the scope of the ancient world during Cleopatra’s life, nor do we really see much of the kingdom she ruled or visited. While it’s not necessary to show much to make a point, we’re never truly immersed in the environment of Cleopatra’s time. There’s also a severe lack of imagery of Cleopatra from artifacts and relics of the time, which have been found and recovered over many years. This really dampens the credibility of giving a rounded and sharp look at the Egyptian Queen’s lifetime.

There were many statues, paintings, and renditions of Cleopatra that deified and revered her, despite the debate about her skin color and physical features. Instead, the series wants viewers to accept its own perspective of Cleopatra without the support or reference of objects directly from her era. Again, if the showrunners are not going to state that this is more fiction than fact, but want the be given the same credibility as more scholarly looks at history, then this is a very hard thing to ignore.

Queen Cleopatra is a bad series that tries to be more than what it actually is and ultimately ends up being a disingenuous attempt at covering a well-known historical figure. The facts about the Egyptian queen are poorly researched and supported, the drama is laughably bad, and the production of the series is haphazard. There are far better interpretations and series which cover the history of Cleopatra that are more worth your time. They live up to the legacy of the woman behind the history. This Netflix series on the other hand will be long forgotten by the sands of time.

What do you think about the Queen Cleopatra series on Netflix and the discussion about it? Have you had a chance to watch all of the episodes? Post a comment down below and let us know what you thought about it!

Queen Cleopatra
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    Queen Cleopatra - 30%


This series stumbles on a fundamental level for being a documentary series and drama based on a historical figure. The acting is poor and the production is very low-tier, with a high-level of questionable accuracy of the history it tells. There are better series out there that give justice to the legacy of Cleopatra than what this series does here. strives to be an apolitical, balanced and based pop culture news outlet. However, our contributors are entitled to their individual opinions. Author opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of our video hosts, other site contributors, site editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. This website contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. We disclaim products or services we have received for review purposes, as well as sponsored posts.

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Jakejames Lugo
Jakejames Lugo
Jakejames Lugo is a writer and content creator that has been covering video games, movies, and various sides of entertainment for over a decade. He has published reviews and articles on many different outlets and continues to make content for different platforms. Jakejames also makes video content regularly for places like YouTube and TikTok, and share daily posts about gaming on social media.

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