TNT’s ‘Will’ is latest in Shakespeare-inspired television

If you thought you’d heard the last of William Shakespeare when you passed high school English, think again. The Bard is back this summer, wielding noticeable influence in TV pop culture.

First, ABC debuted the Shakespeare-inspired “Still Star-Crossed” in late May, which follows the Montagues and Capulets in the aftermath of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Young William Shakespeare — reimagined as an ambitious hipster chasing fame in London — was brought to life on TNT last Monday when “Will” was introduced.

They joined the already established Fox drama “Empire,” supposedly based on “King Lear,” and “House of Cards,” whose Frank Underwood has been compared to Richard III by critics.

That’s much ado about something.

So what is the appeal? Why is it that 400 years after his death, Shakespeare’s still influencing culture? What makes his work universal?

Chad Schrock, associate professor of English at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., says it’s the Bard’s uncanny knack for defining character, or what makes an individual tick.

“He figured out a way to get inside people’s heads even when we can’t see inside their heads onstage. What he did with soliloquies in particular (characters revealing their…

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