I do not demand reality out of my prime-time soaps. Reality - real-life reality, not fake reality-show reality - is generally dull.
I do not demand absolute historical accuracy out of period pieces. But I do expect some effort to be made in that direction.
The CW's Reign (Thursday, 8 p.m., Ch. 30) is a prime-time soap that revolves around Mary, Queen of Scots. It's heightened drama (code for "fake"), which is understandable in a soap.
It is, perhaps, too easy to call this a medieval "Gossip Girl," but that's pretty much exactly what it is.
"Reign" plays fast and loose with history. Which is no big deal given that most viewers know little to nothing about the real Mary.
"Reign" is gorgeous to look at. Like all shows on The CW, it's populated by impossibly pretty people, the vast majority between the ages of 18 and 30. The costumes are stunning. The castle is impressive.
The show itself is, well, underwhelming. I love a good prime-time soap, but this one was sort of - meh.
Despite the fact that the pilot was crammed full of plot, I was kind of bored. Which is the most damning thing I could say about a soap.
"Reign" opens in 1557 at a convent, of all places, where Mary (Adelaide Kane) is being cared for by nuns. Turns out it's not the safest place to be, so she's whisked off to the French king's castle, because she's betrothed to Prince Francis (Toby Regbo), the heir to the throne.
And then things get crazy. OK, they get sort of stupid. Queen Catherine (Megan Follows) plots against Mary because Nostradamus (Rossif Sutherland) had had visions that Francis will die if he marries Mary. Francis isn't all that interested in Mary; she's not all that interested in him; but Mary is interested in Francis' half brother, Bash (Torrance Coombs).
There are also hints about some mysterious figure in the castle and some mysterious, well, thing in the woods surrounding the castle.
This sort of sounds like it could be fun, except that it's not. Maybe future episodes, which won't have to set so much up, will improve. Maybe not.
At least in the pilot episode, "Reign" is far less entertaining than it should be.
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