Mar 22, 2017

[TV] The Crown: Season 1

I never expected to be the sort of guy who'd get into period dramas, but I have come to fully embrace this fact about myself now. I am proud to be a person who enjoys watching shows like Downton Abbey and I am totally happy that we took the time to watch The Crown. And yes, I'll probably get around to watching Victoria soon enough.

But back to The Crown, I had a good feeling that the show had promise based on the trailers and video clips going around social media. But I had no idea how much I'd enjoy this series given what could have been just another dry biographical drama.

Instead we have a fascinating journey into the Royal Family and the ascent of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne. That seems like a simple enough story, but in truth there's a lot of family drama before and after she becomes queen. There's also all the political stuff and dealing with her government, which is ruled in her name by the Prime Minister and all that jazz. It's all presented in a manner that is quite fascinating.

Synopsis: The Crown is a biographical television drama created and written by Peter Morgan. The show was produced specifically for Netflix and covers the story of Queen Elizabeth II.

The series begins in the 1950s as King George VI (Jared Harris) is taken ill and has to undergo surgery. This brings back Prince Philip (Matt Smith), who had married Princess Elizabeth (Claire Foy). The King is diagnosed with a malignant tumour in his lungs that they were unable to remove and thus Elizabeth is bound to become Queen of England soon enough. Around the same time Winston Churchill (John Lithgow) is re-elected as Prime Minister.

But very soon  the King passes and the burden of the crown moves to Elizabeth. But there comes the question of where they will live, what name she will take as Queen and even just what last name they'll give their children are all part of the things they have to fuss over as Elizabeth is set to become queen.

What I Liked:  Claire Foy is a remarkable actress and while I cannot speak about the accuracy of her portrayal, I can praise the impact she's had and the gravitas she brings to the role It's already hard to do the role of Queeen any true justice but what more a young queen. And yet over the course of the series Foy manages to convey an increasing amount of confidence and perhaps a self-assurance in her power and responsibility as the Queen.

And the series has so many great moments that one has to credit the writers for. There are a million and one things that go into the major shift in power that is a crowning and the team that wrote and researched this period definitely did a good job. All the nuances of last names and who marries who and all that fun stuff .

What Could Have Been Better: The show is nearly perfect for me but there's always something to balance things out. First, it's a naturally challenging show to keep up with given the many different characters involved and the intricacies of how royal succession even works. This is not the sort of show that will take a moment to explain thing to you so some outside reading is my recommendations to help folks better appreciate the series.

It is oddly distracting to see Matt Smith in the mix of things, but I'll concede that's more because I'm a Whovian. Thus when I see him on-screen, I keep thinking of The Doctor. It's a challenge he'll face for a while given the years he was with Doctor Who but it becomes easier to tune out of your brain.

TL;DR: The Crown is a rich, compelling, in-depth series that is probably as objective a documentary of the Royal Family all done quite beautifully. The acting is top notch and they really bring the excellent writing to life, thus making for an even better show. Thus the first season gets a great 5 quirks of being the Queen out of a possible 5.

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