I just had a long-haul flight to get through this week, so I downloaded the entire first series of teen show Reign. It’s streaming on Stan, and it’s a damn good time.
I’ve seen it before – a few years ago, actually. See, the show isn’t new (it started in 2013) and it’s actually been cancelled since 2017. It’s the stalest of TV shows. But it could have been great. The downfall? It stuck to historical accuracy when it came to it’s plot.
Basically, the show is about Mary Queen of Scots, a teen pledged to marry Prince Francis (Dauphin, really, but CBF with all these fancy terms) of France since they were kids. She moves to the French Court, and so begins a tumultuous love story between her and Francis, where the pair are torn between duty to their respective countries and their love for each other.
It’s GREAT SHIT. Let me be clear- it absolutely is a pile of steaming shit – while the acting is decent in my opinion, the plot is soapy as fuck and involves a lot of teen angst that is cringey at best. You’ve got romance, intrigue, intrigue-about-romance, bitching, conniving. It’s like The OC but in 1555.
That’s what we’re all here for though – soapy ye olde royal drama, right? Right – which is why it baffles me as to why the producers and writers stuck with the historical events so hard.
DO NOT READ ON IF YOU WANNA BINGE IT AND DON’T WANT SPOILERS. Seasons 1 and 2 are spicy as hell and if you don’t give in and Wiki the story (which I did) you’re in for a treat. You’re in for one anyway, but disclaimer – I’m about to drop a historical bomb.
In the real Mary Queen of Scots story, Francis dies of some ear infection business. They stuck with this in the series, and it was absolutely the moment the show jumped the shark.
Mary also never had kids with Francis. They kept that tidbit in the series, too – which really didn’t add to the soapy frothiness the rest of the show had. Like, ok kill off Francis but at least give us one of those ~his legacy lives on with this child~ things.
See, the reason it annoys me is the rest of the series is tentatively historical at best. The Reign showrunners didn’t try and bullshit us with “this is a historical drama”. They literally called the show “fantasy history”, and fucked plenty of historical shit up to add to the spice.
For example – in the show, Francis has this half-brother Sebastian who simply doesn’t exist in history, let alone have an unrequited crush on Mary that adds mucho romantic drama to season 1.
But most importantly – the general behaviour of the characters and their clothing is completely off. Kenna for example, one of Mary’s hands, wears these Lovisa-discount-barrel jewel headbands constantly.
The outfits are equally not-historically-correct.
My point is – if you’re going to modernise the wardrobes (which I don’t actually mind, like hell yes with these illogical yet extremely fun outfits) and change parts of the history to suit the drama, why not just fuck history entirely and re-write it for this frothy romance show?
What I wish had happened – Francis and Mary marry eventually, have some kids, maybe there’s some affair drama, whatever.
Sigh. Guess I’ll just have to enjoy the dramatics until Francis is killed off in season 3.