Vicki Briganti – CW50 Writer / Producer / Editor
Imagine spending close to a decade hidden at a convent. One minute, you’re playing footie (soccer) with nuns. The next, you’re whisked away on a horse drawn carriage to the French Court where your new social life consists of flirting with the future King of France and being visited by ghosts.
Such is a day in the life of Mary Queen of Scots in the new CW series, “Reign,” premiering Thursday at 9:00pm on CW50. If you enjoy romance, drama, and beautiful actors, you’ll likely get swept away by the story. Whatever you do, don’t ruin the air of mystery. Don’t Google ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ like I did – because the writers are taking liberties with history. This is a welcome diversion since reality isn’t as charming as fiction, is it?
Now that I told you not to, you’re probably searching ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ on your Smartphone. The first thing you’ll notice is that actress Adelaide Kane, playing Mary, is a gorgeous model, unlike the portraits of the real Queen Mary from the mid-1550s.
Aside from the eye candy cast (with European/Canadian/Australian accents), “Reign” has attractive bucolic scenes, competent directing, decent acting, and solid writing. But it’s the concept that rules. Capitalizing on the current popularity of the monarchy genre, who doesn’t want a peek into the world of nobility? They have fancy threads, a privileged lifestyle, and beheadings. Thankfully, “Reign” is heavier on innocent passion and less brutal than, say, HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
Since age six, Mary is betrothed to Francis, the future King of France – “for her faith, for her people, for Scotland.” Who cares if they fall in love or not? An alliance matters most; duty to one’s country is paramount. Love is a likely result, though, because the moment Mary and Francis see each other for the first time since childhood, they have chemistry. Of course, as we’ll later discover, Mary also has chemistry with Francis’s half-brother, Sebastian. The tangled web shall be woven.
A Taste Of Love And Sorrow
As overprotective mother-in-laws-to-be are prone to do, Francis’s mom, Queen Catherine, turns to her trusted advisor, Nostradamus, for a vision into the young couple’s future. It’s not good. The prophecy? “Mary will cost Francis his life.” That’s where the Internet is your enemy. According to wikipedia.com, that would mean Mary gives Francis a middle ear infection. Like I said, reality isn’t sexy or romantic. Let The CW scribes ink us a better fairytale.
Once Catherine learns her son’s fate, plotting and manipulation ensue to the point Mary doesn’t know whom to trust in the castle. Can she rely on Sebastian? Will Francis have her back? Much to Mary’s displeasure, her best friends – her ladies in waiting – realize they are disposable subjects in service to their Queen.
Aside from the romantic triangles, the pilot foreshadows danger for Mary, ghosts haunting the castle, and something sinister in the nearby woods. Even with such looming plot developments, the musical montage scenes with Mary and her friends have a refreshing, upbeat pace with the girls dancing, putting on make-up, and showcasing their evolving ascent into adulthood.
As the ladies flirt with mature situations and difficult decisions, they continue to appear innocent and virtuous. It’s a coming-of-age story of a young Queen. I venture to guess that “Reign” would appeal to girls who secretly consider themselves princesses on the verge of exploring the feminine power they have over men.
“Reign” airs Thursdays at 9:00pm on CW50, with its series premiere this Thursday, October 17th at 9:00pm.
>> More Motor City Musing With Vicki Briganti