Y’all know I have a documented history of binge-watching new shows. This fall, Witches of East End hooked me after a marathon two-day catch up. Over the holidays, I cleared my DVR of the first eight episodes of Reign, and I have to say, it might be a keeper.
The bait for me was the casting. First, I grew up watching Megan Follows, so the fact that she agreed to a regular role on a series was a huge draw. Second, Torrance Coombs, a star of one of my Canadian gems Endgame (now on Hulu–get on it) was one of the three leads. Add to that they were shooting it in Toronto so the potential for HITG goodness was off the rails.
But it wasn’t enough to make me watch live, so I started recording them. I had the impression Reign was going to be sort of a 15th century Gossip Girl replacement. And I wasn’t wrong. But it’s also scary and violent and a reasonably solid companion to The Vampire Diaries, which precedes it. When the show returns with new episodes tonight, I will be watching.
The show is a fictionalized account of Mary Queen of Scots’ courtship with France’s King Francis. Shunted off to a French monastery as a child to avoid being assassinated, Mary lived a quiet adolescence. After a murder attempt, she’s brought to the castle of King Henry, his wife, Queen Catherine (Follows), and their son, Francis, to whom Mary’s been engaged since childhood.
Once there, she’s met by her court of childhood friends (the disconnect there is that if she’s been locked away, how did they all stay her close girlfriends, but that’s never explained) who arrive from Scotland (nobody has a Scottish accent–go with it) to fulfill their obligations as her attendants. All are around 15/16 when the story begins.
Mary and Francis have a fractious start as he’s already sampling the ladies of the court. His supernatural-minded mother maintains the counsel of Nostradamus, who has foreseen Francis’s death if he and Mary go through with their marriage, so that’s a problem. Also complicating things is Francis’ half-brother, Sebastian (Bash), played by Coombs, with whom Mary bonds in an “outsiders unite” sort of way.
The show is definitely soapy as we follow the love lives of Mary and her ladies. And it’s mysterious and spooky as a ghostly girl with a gunny sack mask wanders behind the walls, doling out help to Mary while also murdering one of her friends.
It’s also political (doing the right thing for France and Scotland comes up A LOT) and romantic and gorgeous to look at–the castle is ornate, the grounds are lush, and the fabulous costumes combine period styles with modern touches.
The casting is great.Â Adelaide Kane jumped from her role as Cora on Teen Wolf into the role of Mary and it’s to her credit hat she resonates here as the anchor of the show when she wasn’t really as much a presence on Teen Wolf (it didn’t help that her character was comatose for much of the third season).
Toby Regbo, who plays Francis, is new to me but I like what he does in the role. He’s very good playing a flustered prince finally faced with something he wants but is being blocked from having.
Follows seems to be having a blast as the much maligned Catherine, whom we should probably never trust and who will stop at nothing to protect her son.
Alan Van SprangÂ is great as King Henry, who wastes no time in bedding one of Mary’s ladies and then has to deal with the repercussions of ousting his mistress (Sebastian’s mother) in favor of the girl while his wife just laughs it off and focuses on her plotting.
And finally, Coombs doesn’t disappoint as Bash. He played mousy on Endgame but here he’s all wounded swagger as the bastard son who’s older than Francis but will never be an heir. He’s very good in his scenes with Kane and I can imagine the Mary and Bash relationship might start getting priority over the Francis leg of the triangle because of their chemistry. It’ll be interesting to see if TPTB swing the story their way for a bit.
The guest stars have already been a treat, too. We’ve hadÂ Shawn Doyle (Coombs’s costar in Endgame–but he and Coombs were never onscreen together here–boo!, and recently of Lost Girl) as well asÂ Manolo Cardona (Teo from Covert Affairs), and next week, Greg Bryk who lots of folks are finally finding out about over on Syfy’s new Bitten.
Reign returns tonight at 9/8c on The CW. Here are a couple of sneak peeks as we pick up with Mary and Bash on the run.
Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW
Photo: Marni Grossman/The CW
Photo: Sven Frenzel/The CW
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Maahra Hill Talks The Irrational
I’m a Jesse L. Martin stan back to the OG Mothership Law & Order (pour one out for Lennie Brisco, y’all), although I admittedly tapped out on The Flash at a certain point. This season, Martin has been back in his old NBC stomping grounds with The Irrational, a different,…
George R. Olson, Tim Rozon, and Sarah Levy Talk the SurrealEstate S2 Finale
[Spoilers for the SurrealEstate Season 2 finale.] How’s everyone doing after the finale? As we close out the second season of SurrealEstate, some of our merry band of misfits are scattering to the winds–Zooey to law school, Phil to the Vatican, and Augie back to his think tank with Rochelle,…
Previewing SurrealEstate Season 2 Finale + Revisiting the Season with George R. Olson
[Warning; General spoilers ahead.] Strap in, SurrealEstate fam, because we’ve arrived at the Season 2 finale, and it’s a doozy. As we saw in the closing moments of last week’s episode, Susan is back. But because we have one more episode left, it’s not as simple as all that, as…
Tyler Hynes Talks Through His Eight-Film Hallmark Holiday Library
Things you realize when you have to re-record your shows on a new DVR – just how many Hallmark movies your people have done. Fan favorite – and one of ours – Tyler Hynes has done eight Christmas movies for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries since 2018. Alongside…
Spencer Creaghan Talks About Creating SurrealEstate’s Signature Sound
SurrealEstate is winding down its second season, with two episodes left, and just as in Season 1, Spencer Creaghan’s music continues to be a character unto itself. And every week, he shares tidbits with the fans via his s social media channels, something he started to help give them an…
Andrew Walker Talks Christmas Island and the Magical Hallmark Community
[Warning: Spoilers for Christmas Island.] Now that the Screen Actors Guild strike has been resolved, we’re able to resume regularly scheduled programming and interview our favorites and yours. Up first, earlier today, I spoke with Andrew Walker about Christmas Island, which premiered last weekend and encores tonight and through the…
George Olson and Danishka Esterhazy Talk SurrealEstate “I Put a Spell on You”
[Warning: Spoilers for the episode.] Tonight’s fun new SurrealEstate found Luke caught up in an especially bewitching woman, Kay, played by Tara Yelland, Susan trapped in her house, and Zooey learning the ropes. In the next part of my conversation with showrunner George R. Olson and producing director Danishka Esterhazy,…
Danishka Esterhazy Talks SurrealEstate: “The Butler Didn’t”
[Warning: General spoilers for the episode]. Tonight’s new SurrealEstate, “The Butler Didn’t,” follows the team as they investigate the years-earlier mysterious death of a woman whose ghost now reenacts her hanging by dropping over the banister from the second floor to terrify anyone on the landing or at the bottom…
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk the From Season 2 finale
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale.] How’s everyone doing after that finale? While we wait and wonder and hope for a third season announcement, soon, here’s what Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders had to say about their parts of the finale, and where they hope they get to go next….
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk From Season 2 + A Season Finale Preview
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] It all comes down this, #FROMily. As Sunday’s episode wraps up Season 2, we begin with the aftermath of the terrifying onset of seemingly simultaneous attacks on Julie, Marielle, and Randall, which accelerate the “We gotta get out of this place” of it all. Sara comes…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…