The CW new drama Reign is addicting, but it seems like not everyone knows just how good it is yet. The CW certainly does — it was just picked up for a full season. I’m psyched, because the show — a fanciful, pop music-filled reimagining of the teen years of Mary, Queen of Scots — is just starting to heat up. If you haven’t gotten into the period drama, here’s what you’re missing and why you should be watching.
The Love Story Is Just Starting to Build Up
We meet Mary (Adelaide Kane) just as she’s shipped from Scotland to France to marry Francis (Toby Regbo), but like most arranged marriages, they don’t really know each other at first and aren’t all that hot on one another in the pilot. But over the course of the first few episodes, we’ve watched their relationship blossom into a friendship and now a budding romance. It’s all very innocent right now (their most recent kiss is so sweepingly romantic I had to rewind it), but we know there are complications ahead. A Portuguese royal has already tried to poach Mary, and there’s also Francis’s cute illegitimate brother Bash who’s made some eyes at Mary.
There Are Juicy Scandals Brewing
Mary’s stable of ladies-in-waiting (who are refreshingly unlike Gossip Girl’s minions and are actually nice to each other) each have a little somethin’ something’ brewing, too. Greer is in a forbidden flirtation with a castle servant, and Kenna is gunning to be the King’s new mistress. I smell scandals all around.
The Political Intrigue Is Interesting and Easy to Follow
Does all the political drama and dirty dealings on Game of Thrones make your head spin? Reign also has a lot of political drama, but it’s so easy to follow that it’s like Game of Thrones-lite. Mary just wants to keep her home country of Scotland safe, and her hand in marriage is what keeps it that way. While you’re hearing a lot about politics, it all comes back to marriage and matters of the heart, so it doesn’t get dry or boring.
Reign also has a well-done supernatural element. Specifically, there is a castle ghost, and we don’t know yet if she’s real, a figment of Mary’s imagination, or friendly or malicious. One thing is for sure: it’s creepy! The ghost shows up in random times and places with a burlap sack over its “head,” and it always takes me by surprise and freaks me out. The show isn’t too heavy-handed about it, so I love the added, shiver-inducing bonus.
No one is going to accuse Reign of being historically or culturally accurate. But while that might put off some History Channel scholars, we love the CW’s new series. Adelaide Kane stars as sixteen-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots as she tries to cement her alliance with France by marrying Prince Francis (Toby Regbo). But the task is nowhere near simple: Reign mixes magic, devious plots, and attempted murder to make for a delightfully dramatic show.
However, the fashion of Reign’s Mary is more like a modern girl dressing up as the famous monarch for Halloween. If you Google search Mary, Queen of Scots you’ll find more high-collared, full-body balloon-like structures than the deep neck, body-fitting dresses Kane’s Mary wears. But, in all honesty, we’d totally love to dress up as this new version of Mary for Halloween (maybe next year).
The music, as well, doesn’t resemble anything from the 16th century; well, it is created with instruments, but that’s about as far as the similarities go. Unless The Lumineers, Bastille, and Joshua Radin are time travelers from the 1500s (which we doubt), the music is entirely unconnected to the era of the show.
Then there’s the most irritatingly inaccurate aspect of Reign: the accents. The French have American accents while the Scottish and English have British accents (which is confusing since the Scots and Brits are at odds in the series.)
Despite all these historical inaccuracies, Reign has managed to pull it all together and make it work. Maybe it isn’t as gritty as Game of Thrones, or as truthful as a History Channel documentary, but Reign is entertaining and we’ll take that over accurate any day.
Great news for fans of vampires, old school romances and futuristic abilities:
The CW has placed full season orders for The Originals, Reign and The Tomorrow People.
Said CW President Mark Pedowitz in announcing the renewals:
“In just a few seasons, we have built a much stronger primetime schedule. Our on-air ratings are up year to year, and our digital viewing continues to grow exponentially.
“We’re excited about the creative momentum the producers have established for all three of our new series, and now our fans will have the chance to see the full stories unfold for them this season. With the additional episodes ordered, plus two new dramas and new reality for midseason, we’ll be able to continue our commitment to adding more original programming all year long.”
Overall this fall, The CW is up 9% in total viewers and 10% in the key advertising demographic of 18-49-year olds.
All three just-renewed shows air new episodes this week.