See It or Free It: 'Reign'

Reign arrives hot on the heels of the success of HBO's Game of Thrones and Starz’s recent broadcast of The White Queen. Both shows have done well for their respective networks, and have garnered quite a passionate fanbase. The White Queen has been at the forefront of a lot of female viewer’s frenzy.

The flurry of interest in the medieval period was something that CW was understandably, ready to seize upon, and with the high numbers of female viewers that adore the CW, it’s a key demo that the network was ready to reel in. Reign simply put, is way too mild to be Game of Thrones, and lacks the stylistic passion to match The White Queen.

The production quality, however, is striking and it is easily the most lavish production that the CW has ever attempted. The costuming is stunningly gorgeous, and a virtual feast for the eyes. The soundtrack is the series' greatest asset. The folksy beauty of the music serves as the crowning melodic adornment of the show. That is where a lot of the series’ majesty rests.

Adelaide Kane’s portrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots, seems uncertain, and her expressions, and emotional range suffer as a result. The handmaidens are written in an annoyingly distracting manner and the characterizations vastly amount to the childish range of schoolgirl chatter.

Caitlyn Stasey (Neighbors) stands out amongst the group as a talent to watch in the role of handmaiden Kenna; her exuberant expressions indicate the markings of a star quality screen presence.

In the role of Prince Francis II (Mary’s main love interest) Toby Regbo's performance comes across largely smarmy. His turn will appeal to those looking for a Renaissance hipster with loads of emo angst. Otherwise, you are out of luck. The writing does not help Torrance Coombs fare much better as Mary’s other possible paramour, Francis’ fictional half-brother Sebastian. Or as he is more chicly referred to, “Bash”.

Therein lies, the major problem with Reign, it is too hip for its own good. There are ways to appeal and relate to younger audiences, and altering history with storylines or diction that overreaches credulity; is not the way to do it. 

Episodes Aired: 2

See It or Free It: See It, thus far; the production is engaging enough to stay with it. Plus things tend to improve in the first 3 episodes of any new series.
[Edited for Clarification]