GOD SAVE THE TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN
Following an assassination attempt by the English, Mary (Adelaide Kane), Queen of Scots, is brought to the French court for safety. Since she was 9, she has been betrothed to Dauphin Francis (Toby Regbo) and now awaits to be married to him. One of Queen Catherine de Medici’s (Megan Follows) trusted counsel, Nostradamus (Rossif Sutherland) warns the Queen that he foresees Francis’ death if he marries Mary.
The trailers for this series caught my eye. It intrigued me that the CW was attempting to do a historical drama à la PBS, HBO and Showtime. It can be quite expensive to shoot overseas and create the costumes. However, CW’s take on this historical drama has more to do with teenage soap rather than accuracy.
The thing that works well for this drama is the lead actress, Adelaide Kane. While there is a lot placed on the shoulders of this young queen, she’s headstrong and courageous despite living far from home and having a solid support base. She ties all of our important characters together and brings out the charming personas in Francis, Bash (Torrance Coombs) and her handmaidens.
While Francis is the successor to the French crown, he’s still in the midst of growing and figuring out who he is. Then there’s Bash who is a bit more reassured and manly despite being the bastard child of the king and his mistress. He knows his place in court and is not easily fazed by the queen’s dislike for him and his mother. However, the two half-brothers are close.
I was so excited to see Megan Follows again. Be still my little Anne of Green Gables heart. She plays such a stringent character as the queen that there doesn’t seem to be any traces of Anne Shirley. It’s probably best for the actress as who wants to be confined to one single character for the rest of their career. However, Queen Catherine is so two-dimensional and seems more like a villain than anything else that I don’t feel very sympathetic towards her character.
It’s not Megan Fellows’ fault as it’s probably the way this show is written. The writers seem to think that the only way they can engage young adults and teenagers is to make a teenage angsty soap but unrealistic. For example, if Francis’ father, the king, wants to deflower a young handmaiden, what’s to stop him? I don’t even want to get into how they have distorted Nostradamus.
I’m aware that this show has many faults and that it is glaringly obvious. I’m going to kick myself for admitting this but I’m a bit addicted to the show. Total guilty pleasure. Despite the historical errors and the angst, I’m a little hooked on these characters and their romantic exploits. I hated Portugal’s Prince Tomas (Covert Affairs’ Manolo Cardona) but did love that it ignited Francis’ jealousy.
I could care less about the politics here which is a real travesty considering the real story is very tumultuous and fascinating. However, in terms of the entertainment value, consider me entertained.