Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Queen Charlotte on Netflix: A Royal Review

The Bridgerton series is one of the popular shows on Netflix, mostly because it already has a built-in market from the books and because that first season was a big hit with everyone (and made Rege Jean Page a very popular actor). I’ve seen the first two seasons and while I am not really a fan, I did enjoy watching the show. I was more of a fan of the first season than the second though. I wasn’t sure that I would want to watch the spin-off show Queen Charlotte, but Netflix has this thing where it suggests new shows to watch after you’re done with another. Netflix auto-plays the show when you don’t cancel it. When I was finishing with one show that was playing while I was working out, Netflix played Queen Charlotte and I started watching it.

According to articles that I have seen online, Queen Charlotte is meant to be a one-season spin-off and is simply meant to share the love story between the titular character and her husband, King George. This character was seen in the Bridgerton series, portrayed at the time in his life when he had already gone mad, showing how affected his wife was at seeing him in that state. 

While history does show that George and Charlotte were not just a royal match but also a love match and that he did go mad later in life, the series tries to change the story up a bit to fit into the Bridgerton narrative. As the show starts, “This is not a history lesson. It is fiction inspired by fact.” To those who are history buffs, do not expect this story to go exactly the way history does.

The season is a mix of both past and present Charlotte, interspersing time as the young woman suddenly married the King of England and the Queen who is worried that their kingdom does not have an heir as her children do not have offspring of their own. The story is also not limited to that of Charlotte and George. It also tackles the story of Lady Danbury, as well as that of a very young Violet, who would later become the matriarch of the Bridgertons.

Being a bit of a fan of the history of England, I liked seeing George and Charlotte’s children during the scenes where the Queen was pestering them to have heirs. I was also excited when the mother of Queen Victoria appeared later in the season, and also when she told the Queen that she was pregnant (with someone who would be the future Queen of England). 

Another thing I liked about the show was the story of Lady Danbury. The struggle she had to go through as not just a woman but a woman of color in those times was tough. I had a deeper appreciation for her character and her story after seeing what happened to her. I thought it was a bit sad that she did not have her happy ending when it came to love, but it showed that she was happy with how things ended up anyway. 

What I loved about the show was the main story, the relationship between Charlotte and George. You could see the spark between the two characters when they first met so it was disappointing that George went out of his way to push her away. The two lead actors, India Amarteifio and Cory Mylchreest, were so good at portraying the pain their characters had. Her being pushed away and him feeling so much love that he had to hold back for her sake.

Out of the two, it was Mylchreest that I became a big fan of after the show. Yes, he is good-looking. But apart from that I felt that he portrayed George very well. He had a very challenging role as George. He was the king that people looked up to, the scared young man on the brink of insanity, the determined husband willing to undergo anything to cure himself of his mental illness, and the pained man in love who wants to help his wife avoid the pain of losing him to his disease. He was so good. 

Part of me wishes that the show veered away from the insanity part of the story from history because I wanted Charlotte and George to be happy and together so bad. But, as I mentioned before, they had already set up his insanity in the Bridgerton series so that was not going to happen. I felt so sad for them because the young Charlotte and George knew what they were facing with his disease. I also felt a mixture of sadness and love for them when they were shown in the future as Charlotte told George that they finally found an heir. The sight of them lying on the floor in the same way they did when they were younger during a breakdown that he had really tugged at my heart. I wished that they had the happy ending that they deserved but I knew that was not going to happen.

Queen Charlotte, according to news articles, was meant to be a one-off show just to share her story. Based on interviews, the actors are also aware of that fact. However, there has been buzz for a season 2 because of its performance on Netflix. Shonda Rhimes, who created the show for Netflix, says the Queen Charlotte was always meant to be a one-season show. However, she did say that she is still open to the possibility of a season 2 if Netflix were to bring it up. No word on that yet though. Hopefully, we get to see more of Charlotte and George in the future. I would love that. 


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