Wednesday, 6 November 2013

“Reign” does it really reign?

So it seems in the midst of this summers historical movie, miniseries craze, all of which total are my cup of tea, the CW network has created a new series called “Reign.” Now I have to admit, when I first saw the trailer for the show I was like “Oh YES! This will rock!” but when the show finally aired about 3 weeks ago, I had some very mixed feelings.

The idea and the theme for the show is excellent but as we approach episode 4, there are some hitches that I hope are neatly stitched up before the season finale. 

The costumes. Umm I could really tear the show to shreds over the costumes, but I am going to gracefully decline and tell myself, this is art, and this is the CW’s producers interpretation, let them knock their socks off.  Also, the show is geared towards a younger audience and I applaud them for this move. History is important, kudos to the CW in making the story of Mary Queen of Scots appealing to the younger generation. I know I can let my girls watch the show, and its overall pretty clean.

Scenery, based in Ireland and Toronto I am told is beautiful, that alone makes up for the missing pieces.  The musical score by Trevor Morris of course is superb. Mr. Morris has a lengthy score bio including some recent works The Tudors, and the new show Dracula.

The story. It is believe able yes. Does it fit historical accuracy, not entirely. I haven’t found any source that states she was hidden in a convent, even wiki states otherwise. She did live in France for 15 years after the age of 5 before returning to Scotland to claim her birthright.  She was very much French as she was Scottish, as most her tutelage was learned in French court.  As the show progresses, what historical versus artistic interpretations remain to be told.  We will see what the screenwriters have in store for us.

Now to one of the most important factors of any new show; the acting. I really like the girl who is playing Mary (Adelaide Kane) . She is a gem, very pretty girl. But you can tell she is green. She doesn’t quite captivate you yet. We will have to watch.  The king of France, he might be a good actor, but the person does not fit the part at all. I am having a hard time believing a medieval King of France; Henry II would look like a football player. Bash (Sebastian, Torrance Coombs) and Francis (Toby Regbo) are lots of fun to watch. Then Queen Catherine, who is played by Megan Follows. I did not recognize her at first, but I have to admit she does play a very good snooty Catherine. Overall, the cast is okay, not superb and nowhere near the caliber of say, “The White Queen,” but it is not supposed to be.

As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see how the ratings fair out with this show. For the fans, and for those who want a fun history based show it would be nice to see it make a second season. Kudos to the CW and their writers for having the integrity taking on the medieval times.

~Andrea C. S. McMillin, BA Medieval Studies w/ History U.C. Davis and current scholar 
November 5, 2013

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