Couch Potato

Long May She Reign

April 11, 2014 | No comments


 

I have found another CW show to obsess about: Reign. It is set in 16th Century France and filled with drama, love and politics.

Reign

The main character is Mary, Queen of Scots. She’s been engaged to Francis, dauphin of France, since she was a young child. The idea is that by joining forces with France, Scotland will be able to stand up against England. If you thought things were that easy, the opening narrative will set you straight:

“Since Mary, Queen of Scotland, was a child the English have wanted her country and her crown. She is sent to France to wed its next king, to save herself and her people – a bond that should protect her, but there are forces that conspire, forces of darkness, forces of the heart. Long may she reign.”

When I first saw the previews, I weren’t convinced this would work. I’ve changed my mind. This show is all kind of awesome.

Let’s examine the highlights so far:

1) Mary and Francis (played by Adelaide Kane and Toby Regbo) are perfect as the young couple who struggles to find their way in a world where what is best for your country (and the will of your king) always comes before your own wishes. In spite of all the obstacles they encounter, Mary and Francis make you believe in the possibility of true love and happy ever after. If you don’t believe me, watch episode 1-13.

2) King Henry II of France (played by Alan van Sprang) is hilarious, especially now that he has gone completely crazy.

3) Catherine de’ Medici, Queen of France (played by Megan Follows), is by far the best character. She expertly walks a fine line between being the over the top arch nemesis you love to hate, and a very honest woman you cannot help but relate to. The series wouldn’t be half as good without her. Not convinced? Watch the episode where she plans her own execution (1-13) or when she covers up a murder (1-14). The interactions between Catherine and the king’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers, are also great.

4) The setting and costumes are gorgeous. It’s kind of like Gossip Girl but with better clothes (and characters). And castles.

5) The soundtrack is probably the best of any show I’ve obsessed over: Kodaline, Twin Forks, Aidan Hawken, The Goo Goo Dolls, Ben Howard, Joshua Radin, Agnes Obel, London Grammar and The Lumineers just to mention a few.

There have been some less than perfect things to, but then again, no show is perfect. Some of the story lines leave a bit to be desired. I’m so over the love triangle (turned square or maybe pentagon by now) and the entire thing with the darkness/monster lurking in the woods is not nearly as scary threat as I think they intended. The show really should focus on the politics (like in yesterday’s episode – that was probably one of the best of the entire season). There is more than enough political drama from history to fill several seasons.

Talking about seasons and history; the first season is almost done and the show has been renewed for a second season (yay!) but I think time is passing too fast. There have been several time jumps (2 months between episodes 1-13 and 1-14) and a year has already passed. They are running out of time, considering Francis dies about a year after he and Mary wed. They cannot continue the show without the main couple, can they?

If they do, I will stop watching. Seriously.

But then again, maybe they will divert from history? The show is historical fiction after all, and they haven’t stayed completely true to history so far. This has frequently been brought up in negative reviews of the show, but I don’t actually think that having all historical details correct is that important. To be honest, I’m not watching the show to brush up on my knowledge of European history.

If I wanted a history lesson, I wouldn’t be watching the CW channel.

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Photocredit: The CW

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