TV Report Card | 'Reign' Season 1A Review

Overview: The highly (emphasis on highly) fictionalized account of the rise of Mary, Queen of Scots and her engagement to the Prince of France. “Reign” is “Gossip Girl” meets “Game of Thrones” with a twist of “Legend of the Seeker” thrown in for good measure.

Storyline Direction Pros: The key to enjoying this series is letting go of it holding any historical accuracy or insight into its subjects. The reality is its roots as a historical drama are simply a backdrop for a fictional meditation on the life and times of a teenager growing up in a palace, while in the throes of the Renaissance.

Once I accepted it as a quasi-version of the prematurely cancelled “Legend of the Seeker”, the skies lifted and I indulged in the guilty pleasure of its melodramatic storylines and magical interludes. There are kernels of historical truths nested within the series. You just have to read between the lines, very closely to see them and they aren’t necessarily indicative of the particular players that are being portrayed.

Storyline Direction Cons: The teen fervor of frisky handmaidens and their conquests has been entered into with sublime naiveté. The implications of their behavior are subtly touched upon and then dismissed. Francis and Bash (that’s Sebastian abbreviated) are poorly structured both as romantic heroes and scheming underdogs.

They are painted as sensitive and poetic. The trademark characteristics of every other male lead on a teen show. It’s time to shake-up the television landscape with a different archetype for the male love interest and “Reign” has a good opportunity to do this, given men during that time were different than they are today, especially in terms of the acceptable behavior code. It would have been more tolerable to explore, given it is “the past”.

Production Caliber: The best set design on the CW, one of the reasons you can ignore some of the series shortcomings is because of the beautiful scenery and lush design. It certainly looks the part of being epic.

Performance Quality: Megan Follows has been a standout among the cast and her younger co-stars would be wise to take note of her nuanced and restrained performance as the scheming Queen Catherine. She’s been deliciously entertaining in the role and added an iniquitous edge to it, as a whole.

Adelaide Kane and the rest of the cast do a fine job. One major sticking point for all involved is the lack of authentic accent use. The cast is using a traditional British accent, when there should be an assortment of Scottish, French and various other European brogues.

Musical Score: One of the best scores on TV. The European folk soundtrack soars and helps the show seize a lively colorization.

Overall Grade: B-, it has steadily improved and definitely qualifies as a guilty pleasure. The young characters comes across a tad dolt and the storylines are nothing earth shattering, especially when compared to the plots of snazzier series, such as "Game of Thrones". As a period piece on The CW though, it isn’t half bad. To read Eclectic Pop's TV Report Card for Season 1, click here

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