In Hadley, Massachusetts, the townspeople have to contend with John Hawkins of the Hawkins Bay Company, who swindles the Native Americans out of their land, then rents the land to the colonists at unreasonable rates. Hawkins sends his young son Ned (Joe Dempsie) to placate the villagers and collect rent, not realizing his son will fall in love with Hope Russell (Alice Englert), the free-spirited and fiery daughter of the local pastor. The residents of Hadley must also be ready at any time for attacks from the Indians, wanting to retake possession of their land. Pastor Russell also happens to be harboring a known fugitive regicide named William Goffe, whose fighting skills save the village from a deadly Indian attack.
Back in Oxford, England, a kind and wealthy landowner and his wife, John Francis (Patrick Malahide) and Angelica Fanshawe (Eve Best), provide a wonderful and carefree commonwealth for those who live and work their land, meanwhile the other local wealthy landowner, Hardwick (Michael Maloney) brutally forces his employees to slave tirelessly and for meager wages in his clay pits as he makes bricks for King Charles II's castles back in England. He desperately wants to buy (or acquire through any means, really) the Fanshawes' land to expand his clay pits, since they aren't even using it for anything more than the scenery. What's worse, John Francis is a Catholic and during that time, being a "Papist" was quite dangerous because of the Popish Plot against the King. Angelica's daughter, Beth (Freya Mavor) is quite sheltered and lives a charmed life until one day she meets a dashing local outlaw named Abe Goffe (Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Fall) who opens her eyes to the plight of those around her, just outside of her lovely estate walls, while stealing her heart as well.
In London, the wicked Judge Jeffreys (Pip Carter) will stop at nothing to root out all of the regicides and will use any means necessary, including threatening to hang a pair of father and son thieves if they do not assist him in locating William Goffe. Will Blood (James McArdle) is sent in to the Fanshawe home in the hopes of exposing Angelica's past and leading Jeffreys to William Goffe's current location. To complicate matters further, Charles II also must contend with his young bastard son, the Duke of Monmouth (Tom Payne), who flits about the countryside gaining support for his place on the throne and imminent rebellion. Charles's response is simply to crack down harder on those all around him, including those in New England.
As the noose tightens around the Fanshawe homestead, Beth finds herself in a dangerous place when she is exiled to the new world and fate intervenes, further opening her eyes to those outside of her own culture. Ned becomes swept up in the resistance against Charles II's regime, much to his father's chagrin, and he is separated from Hope, who is forced into life choices against her will. Eventually, Ned, Abe, Beth and Hope will discover that they are all fighting for the same thing - freedom from the oppression of the British throne - and they will do whatever it takes to spread the word of those seeking to throw off the shackles of the British monarchy.
New Worlds takes a little while before you become fully vested into it because there are so many characters and the storyline flits to different areas; and then there are the audacious wigs worn by most of the men, which tends to make them all look quite similar. Once all of the characters become established, the story is rather compelling and filled to the brim with political intrigue and double-cross. The romance between Abe and Beth is sweet, although seemingly doomed at every turn, and the evolution of the two throughout the mini-series is really interesting. Although I consider myself a history buff, there was a lot of new material for me contained within this mini-series and I enjoyed it immensely. The scenery, especially in the new world, was absolutely breathtaking and bursting with color. Special features are slim, including a short behind-the-scenes featurette, a photo gallery, and a deleted scene which gives insight into Will Blood and his father and how they ended up in the grasp of Judge Jeffreys. While there's not a lot there, I enjoyed the additional info.
New Worlds is definitely not for everyone. It has its share of scalpings, beheadings and swordplay, so there's plenty of blood and violence, but if you are a fan of history, especially the Colonial times, you'll probably enjoy New Worlds.