Monday, June 17Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

A Royal Review

Based on the novels by Lily Blake and dramatised by Laurie McCarthy and Stephanie SenGupta, the new television series, ‘Reign’ has stolen the spotlight on The CW – a popular American channel – and, of course, the wonderful Netflix.

Following the life of Mary, Queen of Scots and her engagement to the future King of France, Francis; a politically arranged union based on forming an alliance against the English Queen, Elizabeth I, this American, historical, fantasy has proven to be worthy of not just my praise but renowned awards. Examples include the People’s Choice Award and Hollywood Post Alliance Awards, and as Series 3 unravels this month, I am sure there will be many more awards to come.

Filming takes place in a variety of stunning locations, some of which include Toronto and Ireland; these natural settings are complemented by profoundly beautiful works of construction. The castles in “France” and “England” are two of the prime areas in which the majority of the action takes place, which is just one factor which makes this series so compelling to watch, as the sheer size and intricate design of these buildings always provides the audience with something interesting to look at. It shows that, even if you’re not concentrating on what the characters are doing or saying, you can, at least, appreciate the architecture or scenery.

In terms of the historical context of this series, the monarchy in France, Scotland and England and the way in which times have changed in relation to how royals are viewed by the general public and their varying levels of fear, hatred and respect, are conveyed quite accurately. I have been convincingly educated and enlightened by the romantic presentation of this historically poignant time, and continue to be thoroughly impressed with the quality of acting, music and effects used. This series is both entertaining as well as enriching, which, I think, is important when one devotes their time to television.

Relationships also form a fundamental part of the structure of this series; the audience are presented with a plethora of liaisons between characters that never fail to surprise. Just as you become convinced that a new relationship has settled, time and time again, obstacles are thrown in their way. Interestingly, this sense of frustration drives my personal curiosity as to what future seasons will bring, in conjunction with the prominent theme of lust. I would have preferred to avoid cliche, however, it is true that sex sells and I am obliged to acknowledge this in light of this program. There are countless erotic scenes between the talented actress, Adelaide Kane, and the accomplished actor, Toby Regbo, yet these scenes do not detract from the main action, but merely add elements of excitement and passion, intending to induce a deeper emotional response from the audience and simultaneously complementing the withstanding drama.

For those who enjoy action and intense fight-scenes, war is an ongoing theme throughout the series, including that of the dispute between France and Scotland and England. In addition, the commonly known chaos and disruption caused by religious faith, particularly that of Catholic and Protestant Christians who have very different ideas about the teachings of Christ, is a prevalent form of debate. Further aspects of interest include betrayal, love, murder, blackmail and so much more, and I am confident in saying that I will be following this series until it concludes. Inspirational and, at times, gut-wrenching, this successful new show is well worth a watch.