The holidays are coming up, so what better time to catch up with some new hit shows that were introduced this fall season? We wrote a special What to Watch post to introduce you to one of our personal favorites: Reign.
Reign is Gossip Girl wrapped in a period piece, with murder conspiracies, alliances based on engagements, a castle ghost, an evil mother-in-law and exquisite love-triangles. Plus who didn’t wanted to be a princess when they were younger and walk around in pretty dresses all day? Reign is basically the guilty pleasure of the year.
What is Reign about?
Mary, Queen of Scots, moves back to French Court after an attempt on her life at the convent. She has been engaged to the French heir Francis since they were six to secure an alliance between Scotland and France. But when she arrives at Court there is still no wedding date set, because King Henry and Prince Francis aren’t sure if this marriage is the right move for France (politics are a pain in the ass!). Her future mother-in-law Queen Catherine detest Mary, because Nostradamus – her personal counselor – had a vision that Mary’s union with Francis would be the cause of his death. So she tries everything in her power to get rid of Mary (side note: a woman’s virtue is everything). Luckily for our heroine she also has some friends at Court, like Francis bastard brother Bash with dreamy blue eyes and a mysterious girl called Clarissa who lives inside the castle walls. There are also four Scottish ladies in waiting (a.k.a. Mary’s BFFs) who moved to French Court, to add some girly gossip and sexiness to the show (it’s still the CW!). One of them is actually slutting it up with the King, who already has a mistress walking around (Bash’s mom). Besides the murder conspiracies, troubles in the romance department and political issues, there are people doing blood sacrifices in the forest right outside the castle. Yikes! These four components make Reign one of the most exciting shows this Fall season. Just don’t expect a history lesson.
The cast and characters of Reign
Adelaide Kane as Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots: The heroine of the story. A Scottish girl, I mean Queen, engaged to the French heir Prince Francis since they were six. She lived in hiding at a convent, because she is in constant fear of her life. Scotland has a lot of enemies, that’s why she has promised herself to the French heir to secure an alliance. You might know Adelaide as Cora – Derek Hale sister – on Teen Wolf.
Toby Regbo as Prince Francis II: Mary’s fiancé and the heir to the French throne. Before Mary’s arrival he is slutting it up with other a few other ladies.
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian: you will get to know him better as Bash, the King’s eldest and favorite son. But Bash is a bastard not a prince, because his mom is the King’s mistress. You might recognize his baby blue eyes from The Tudors.
Megan Follows as Queen Catherine de Medici: the mother of Prince Francis and evil soon-to-be mother-in-law. She beliefs in prophecies and has Nostradamus as her personal counselor. Queen Catherine is the character you are going to love to hate, thanks to the fantastic acting skills of Megan Follows (yes, Anne of Green Gables).
Alan van Sprang as King Henry II: King, husband, player and dad of Francis, Sebastian and a couple other kids we meet along the way, like Francis’ sister who gets married in the pilot and little brother Charles. King Henry is a narcissist who can’t keep it in his pants. Besides his wife, he has a mistress and he is pursuing one of Mary’s ladies in waiting: Kenna. Alan van Sprang is also a Tudors alum, just like Torrance.
Rossif Sutherland as Nostradamus: Queen Catherine’s counselor. She trusts him because he gets visions about the future which turn out to be right most of the time. He is also part time nurse at the castle.
Caitlin Stasey as Kenna: Lady in waiting number one. There are actually four of them, helping their Queen and BFF Mary at French Court. Kenna is the girl with brown hair, a few side braids and jewelry in her hair. She is also the slut of the group (pardon my French).
Anna Popplewell as Lola: Lady in waiting number two. Dark curly hair in love with a boy named Colin, who gets in a lot of trouble in the pilot. Breaking Lola’s heart in the process.
Celina Sinden as Greer: Lady in waiting number three. She – blondy with straight hair – is the only girl without a title, but her parents are crazy rich and expect her to land a gentleman with a title and some land while she is at French Court serving her Queen Mary.
Jenessa Grant as Aylee: Lady in waiting number four. She has blond hair with a crazy amount of side braids in it.
Anna Walton as Diane de Poitiers: The King’s mistress and Bash’s mom. You don’t see much of her in the beginning of the show, but she knows her way around the French Court after all these years and has some interesting plans too.
Katie Boland as Clarissa: The mystery girl who hides inside the castle walls, knows all the secrets and likes to take matters in her own hand to protect her newly found friend, Queen Mary.
What’s good so far
– A strong female lead. There not many of them on tv and Adelaide Kane does a great job as Mary, the teenage girl with a troubling love life and Queen of a country in need.
– The murder mystery plot (or plots) combined with the political stuff, makes the show very exciting. Yes, the political stuff is not boring at all. I didn’t expect that either. The writers added just the right amount of it to keep things interesting but understandable.
– The romance. The love-triangle between Mary-Francis-Bash is great. The writers didn’t wait around with this. With a few simple scenes the love-triangle is set in place during the pilot. It is one of the most interesting triangles I’ve seen these past few years. Plus since they are only allowed to hold hands until they are actually married, the tension between these teens reaches a whole new level than your usual teen soap. Okay, they might steal a kiss or two, which are epic!
– The soundtrack is amazing. No classic stuff, but folky hipster songs for this show. Some people detest it, but I actually enjoy it a lot. It’s very cheerful. The Lumineers even wrote a theme song for this show called Scotland. You can hear it every week in the opening montage, which looks stunning.
What needs some work
– The viewers mindset: you don’t have to expect historical accuracy in this show, because Reign is a fictionalized period piece (Bash didn’t even exist in real life) so watch it with the right mindset. If you want a history lesson, rent a documentary about Mary Queen of Scots. I can guarantee you that it won’t be as much fun as this show.
– Francis: he is kind of an ass in the pilot. Mostly because he can’t keep it in his pants… just like his father.
Should it get a
full second season order?
The pilot deserved five ATC televisions in my opinion. It was a great introduction and kicked of some interesting storylines. The show already received a full season order, although the ratings have not been great (time to start watching folks!). But I really hope that the tides will change for this show. A few sceptic TV critics even had to admit that the first half of the season was better than expected. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hope that the CW will announce a second season in May!
Are you going to give Reign a try during the holidays?