Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Late Bloomer's Review of The Crown Season 1

One of the things that I have always been fascinated with has been stories about royalty. I’ve read the books, watched the movies and TV shows related to royalty through the years, with most of my interest being with British royalty. For the most part, the stories I’ve devoured have been of historical figures. Learning about the royal family that exists today and getting an inside look into their story (albeit with artistic license and probably partially fictional and speculative) is something that made the TV series The Crown appealing to me.

the crown
Screen captured from Netflix

I’m a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to following the show. So far, I have only seen the first season (although this was released on Netflix in 2016) but I am looking forward to seeing the second one (because of Matthew Goode, who is also in one of my favorite shows of 2018, A Discovery of Witches). 

Season one, which has 10 episodes, covers the early life of Queen Elizabeth II, from the time when her father became the King of England to her marriage to Prince Philip and her father’s death and her subsequent coronation as Queen. There is a lot that covers the adjustment that Elizabeth has along with her family to her becoming Queen. I found myself sympathizing with her when she had to make decisions that sometimes disappointed her family but had to be done because of her role as Queen. Choosing the crown over family must always be a difficult choice to make for her. This season showed me the events that led to how and why Queen Elizabeth has been slowly changing and modernizing the monarchy according to the changing times. It was difficult for her in the early years of her reign and I understand why she is now making the effort to make it easier for her son and future heirs when they rule in the future.  

Claire Foy does a good job of playing Queen Elizabeth, as does Matt Smith as Prince Philip. I can’t imagine any other actors who could do justice to the roles as they did. The complexities of a royal life combined with that of marriage was well portrayed in this series. Several scenes showed how challenging their marriage was in their early years, my favorites being the ones where they hardly said a word, but you can see on their faces what they were trying to say to each other.

Vanessa Kirby, who played Princess Margaret, is a standout in the show. I found myself rooting for the Princess no matter how bratty she sometimes got. She just stood out in every scene that she was in. I can’t wait to see her scenes with Matthew Goode, who is also an excellent actor himself.

As fascinating as it must be to be a royal, watching this show makes me think that I would never want to be in their shoes. As they say, with great power comes great responsibility. As fancy as their lives could be, there are so many personal sacrifices that must be made with their lives as royals. 

While the show was entertaining for someone like me who is interested in the lives of the royals, I think that people who have no such curiosity would find the show a bit boring or dragging. Even in its most dramatic moments, I feel like it was a little too tame…but that is coming from a person who grew up where it is common fare for shows like this to be overly melodramatic.

Hope I can find the time to watch the second season before the third one is released on Netflix. I want to catch up with this one!


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