When the first episode of Reign aired, I watched it and quickly made a few assumptions that didn’t keep me interested for more than two more episodes. Netflix is currently streaming Season One, so I thought I would bite the popcorn and make it through 22 reruns.
Frankly, as the series continued, I began to enjoy it more. It does have its quirks, which can be very annoying if you’re a history buff. However, the series itself takes more twists and turns than finding your way to the dungeon of the castle. Here are my pet peeves about the show:
- It’s painfully inaccurate historically.
- The costumes are a miss-match of partially correct and terribly incorrect fashions for the day. Frankly, don’t expect them to get any of it right from the dresses to the hair. It isn’t going to happen.
- The acting of some of the characters is painful — namely crazy King Henry (just my humble opinion).
- It’s teenage dramatics, but let’s face it, Mary and Francis were 15 and 14 when they married in real life. What else can we expect?
- Mary can be very annoying. She NEVER listens to anyone. If she only knew that her demise would be by losing her head in her later years, perhaps she would have toned it down a bit.
- Nostradamus has a voice that is downright BORING! He never has an ounce of emotion beyond his monotone dribble about his visions, except when he’s about to be quartered he finally yells at the conniving queen.
- And what is with that modern music?
As usual, the story is the continual historical bewailing of France hating England, along with Scotland’s own struggles with the British. However, the story often takes surprising twists and turns that keep the audience engaged and a few things you really don’t see coming. I suppose that is why I went through 22 episodes and am back now watching it on CW. My only other complaint about the show is that Season One has a crazy and unnecessary sideline about some monster lurking in the woods that feeds on its victim’s blood–not to mention the pagan human sacrifices. The sideline is just so unnecessary, in my opinion. The show could have focused more on the background of the characters or created other interesting side plots.
As far as who is who in this convoluted story of inaccurate history, the characters vary from likeable to extremely annoying.
Adelaide Kane, plays Mary, Queen of Scots, who I think does a fine job of the headstrong teenage. Upon her arrival, her weakness is apparent, but as the show progresses she takes the initiative and matures into a potential queen and eventually a queen that can reign. I am amazed how often she usurps Francis’ counsel to do her own thing. Clearly, the man has no control over her actions. The writers, however, turn those rash decisions around for good.
Megan Follows, who plays Catherine de’ Medici, the queen at Henry’s side, is someone you don’t want to cross. She is such a conniving bitch (excuse my language but nothing else will do), that you either admire her or hate her for every action she takes and word she speaks. I could have chopped her head off multiple times and felt no remorse.
Torrance Coombs, plays the bastard Sebastian (Bash). As we all know, those kings have a way with mistresses leaving behind illegitimate children sprinkled here and there throughout court. Even though Bash is pleasant on the eyes, I don’t find his character engaging or swoon-able (if there is such a word).
Toby Regbo, plays Prince Francis, later King Francis II, and is good in his role. History tells us that the real Francis was extremely short, a weakling, and stuttered. Reign has given us a shorter man, but one with stronger attributes. He, like Mary, matures into his role as king, making his own decisions and taking actions that will shock you too.
Alan van Sprang, who played King Henry II (notice past tense), was not my favorite actor and frankly will not be missed. And yes, he actually died due to a jousting accident. (Does any of this make you want to read history books?)
All in all, I find the series entertaining despite its historical erreurs (that’s French for errors). Hey, call it creative liberty. It’s that thing authors do as they rewrite history to make it more engaging. Let’s see if CW can keep Season Two strong. Eventually, you know, poor Francis does die at a very young age only a few years after marrying Mary. That in itself could kill the series, unless they follow Mary back to Scotland afterward (what really happened). If that’s the case, maybe by then they will do some research and get the costumes right. I’m not going to hold my breath.
UPDATE: 2016 – Well Francis died and the series continued, but I did not follow.