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REVIEW: ‘Reign’ a baffling miss for The CW

Adelaide Kane and Toby Regbo star in the CW’s 16th century drama, Reign. (Source: http://blog.zap2it.com/)

Adelaide Kane and Toby Regbo star in the CW’s 16th century drama, Reign. (Source: http://blog.zap2it.com/)

The CW’s “Reign” is, simply put, a futile attempt by the network to create its own dark show set in the past a la “Downton Abbey.”

With its dreadful, dull retelling of what could only loosely be considered history, this show leaves little to be desired.

The series, set in 1557, follows the rise to power of Mary, Queen of Scots as she deals with drama and conspiracy within her own court.

The pilot episode finds future-Queen Mary leaving the comfortable confines of her convent and traveling into the sprawling castle of her betrothed, along with finding her reuniting with her childhood friends who will become her ladies-in-waiting.

The series offers no lasting impressions, except for a scruffy dog named Sterling and an unrealistic expertise in the use of modern makeup.

Mary, played by “Teen Wolf” star Adelaide Kane, leads this cast of unknown actors and actresses, which has become the typical model for CW shows.

“Reign” is poorly written, poorly structured and offers no back story to support the plot or motivations for the events that happen within the castle.

With enough historical inaccuracies to warrant a drinking game and enough forced drama to fill the hallways of a junior high school, the series pursues a very limited audience.

The use of a contemporary pop music soundtrack is odd, as it does not align with the show’s historical theme. With the lack of continued dialogue, the show is more likely to get nominated for a video music award rather than an Emmy.

Filling an hour time slot, the show is painfully slow and would be better served in a half hour format.

For these reasons, it seems unlikely that “Reign” will reach the popularity of other CW shows like “Arrow” or “The Vampire Diaries.”

If you enjoy poorly depicted medieval-themed programs, this show could be right for you, but browsing for other options is recommended.

If you are a history enthusiast, be sure to steer clear of this series.

You can check it out for yourself at 9 p.m. Thursday on The CW.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

31 Comments

  1. I LOVED the premiere.The story and cast are great. It was 100% better than I expected. It definately deserves better ratings than it got. Hopefully it gets renewed.Complaints about the historical inaccuracies are pointless since this show airs on the CW and not the History Channel. Great use of modern music to move the story forward, especially during the wedding celebration.

  2. I dearly agree with the review, I was shocked by the make up, hair styles … costumes and acting when it is supposed to be happening in the 16th century, NOT THE 19th century.

    It exactly looked like a version of Gossip Girl (which I did enjoy) with funky costumes!

  3. I am so tired of all the complaints this show is AMAZING. I dont think it needs to be accurate, its a show. The Vampire diaries is a show and its clearly not real there for not accurate, so what if reign takes a little bit of history it was not made to be fully based off of it, just merely for good entertainment which it is.

    • Mmm that would be because Vampires haven’t been proved to have a bloodline traced to a current living monarch? What are you blabbering on about? It’s crap, regardless of how much it strays from historical fact, it’s just bad.

  4. I enjoyed the show very much.

  5. I am a college student with a history minor who admittedly (proudly at that) watches and adores the CW’s Reign. Many analytical reviews such as this claim that it is yawn-worthy, but I would argue that it is one of the best shows I have watched in a while (and believe me, my Hulu Plus account allows me a lot of that). And I must point out (though it seems another comment beat me to it) that this ‘limited’ audience of yours is not looking for a historically down-to-the-point show. If we were, we would have surpassed the CW long ago for a more historically-accurate channel. We are looking for ENTERTAINMENT, which is exactly what Reign provides. It may be a little rough around the edges and historically inaccurate, but at least it keeps its intended audience intrigued and appreciative of its fashion sense. Maybe you should have a member of the intended audience reviewing next time.

  6. Of course it’s not going to be historically accurate in any way, its cw. But the show is flippin’ awesome. Th CW demographic is teens and they’re not gonna watch a Tudors type show without any nudity or harsh violence (no one would). This show has the best acting by far than any other cw show, the sets are a lot less superficial, the costumes are amazing, and the content keeps me at the edge of my seat.
    I think its very silly to approach a show specifically designed to entertain teenagers, like an arrogant history professor.

  7. this was the best show in a while. & believe me i watch a lot of tv. but this show delivers great entertainment. of course if it was historically correct we wouldn’t be watching. its just show btw.

  8. Elodie Kuhne-Martini says:

    i completely disagree with this review!! i thought reign was incredible, the problem with the people who write these reviews is that that analyse everything, so what if it isnt historically accurate, they are not the history channel, because if it was historically accurate im sure it would not be as interesting. i was amazed by the costumes! they are beautiful even if they are not what exactly how they would have been in the 16th century. they chemistry with the cast was perfect. this is my favorite new show of the fall!

  9. I don’t think this article gives this series justice. I mean, it’s too negative. On the contrary, this series got me hooked with just the love triangle, and then, even more by the mysteries surrounding the girl in the castle, the scheming Queen and a struggle of doing the right thing for a kingdom and finding love. I think it’s the right mix of Gossip girl and Downton Abbey. It’s clear that you watched the premiere episode just to write negative things about it. I thought journalism was more than just finding flaws. Shame.

    PS: Does it really have to have accurate historical facts to rock? NAH. That’s just one of your boring criteria for a series.

  10. I wonder how many others out there Googled the history of Mary Queen of Scots after the first episode, realized it was not “historically” accurate, loved every minute anyway, AND watched the second episode?!? And how many of us would love to re-write our own history to make it more intreguing? No worries; it was enjoyable to watch and I’m anxiously awaiting the third episode!

  11. I cannot believe all of the negative reviews this show has received within the first two episodes. No one expected this show to be historically accurate. Most loosely “historical based” shows and movies are full of inaccuracies. It provides great entertainment. If you were looking for a documentary, you are clearly watching the wrong channel to begin with anyways.

  12. I loved it! Very intriguing. It is a fictional tv show that never intended to reenact history. I loved the cast and the music is great. I hope it sticks around.

  13. So far I’m enjoying it, although the music and inaccurate costumes (almost modern day gowns) need to be overlooked. Many of them are definitely not period.

    The same goes for the accents or lack thereof. Mary is Scottish and the show takes place in France…but no corresponding accents. They all sound Australian or British.

  14. I actually REALLY enjoyed this show. I’m a huge fan of Downton Abbey and other BBC shows. However, I didn’t start watching the show with the expectation of it being historically accurate or it being as intense as some of the BBC shows I watch. I had a lot of fun of the show and actually really like the soundtrack. I hope it gets renewed!

  15. I am loving it!!!! Good acting, loving the funky costumes, and the music is great. I love the semi sexy parts and yet the intrigue is still there. Give it a chance and don’t expect accuracy. It’s not history class… It’s meant to be entertaining!

  16. I dont think the CW should have advertised this damn show as if it was the real story. Make something up and make DAMN sure that your viewers know that you’re making shit up. Let’s call a spade a spade shall we and dispense with the ‘historical drama’ lines. This show is a damn waste as they’ve advertised it. I think if they rebrand it as just a period drama without notable historical figures then it could work. As it is they’ll be drawing ire for the whole damn show rather than new audiences.

    • They have said muliple times in interviews that they weren’t going for historical accuracy at all and were instead going for a more fan fictionalized version.

    • Yes, like all of those horror movies that are “based on a true story”, it’s totally misleading, right?

      It was extremely obvious even without watching the interviews that it wasn’t going to be historically accurate. This is not the BBC.

  17. Thoroughly liked the show

  18. The actors, directors, and producers have stated many times in interviews that they aren’t going for historical accuracy and that the show is more of
    historical fan ficition than anything else. Who cares if the clothing isn’t fit for that time period, they costums are beautiful. They have stated very clearly that they aren’t going for accuracy and if you really want something historically accurate and boring go watch a documentary. So let me just say this is my new fav show on TV, Im obsessed with it. The drama, the plots, the many different love triangles that can be seen, and the mystery that surrounds the castle is everything I thought this show was going to be and more.

  19. I am in love with this show! I don’t care what anyone else says, it is incredibly intriguing and entertaining! I swear that if this show is not renewed for a season 2, I will be sincerely disappointed.

  20. It’s fiction basted on a history , it isent supose to be accured on every front, i love it , it’s exiting mistery , i love the cast there is much more to be descovert , and the teen drama what makes it difrent from those other midevel series. so keep going CW a job well done, hope more people thinks like me .

  21. I think that you’re being far too critical. It was obvious even from the trailers that the cw is in no way trying to make a historically accurate drama. While you may scorn the soundtrack choice, I think it’s a fantastic choice. I was surprised, too, that they chose to use modern music in this setting. However, I think that it reinforces the obvious modern overtones they’ve given the story.

    Depending on where it goes from here, it could very well turn out to be one of my favorite shows of the season.

  22. I am a teacher and I love this show! Is it cheesy and historically inaccurate? Absolutely. However, the feelings of the characters, the decisions, and the plot are entirely realistic and give a decent insight into the tough lives of anyone in royalty or even anyone that lived as a commoner in the time period. I do not think they were shooting for accuracy and I think this article is missing the fact that this is supposed to be an entertainment piece like the Vampire Diaries, not a History Channel report.

    Also, since when is Arrow “popular”. I literally do not have a single friend that I am aware of that watches that show!

  23. I disagree 100% with this review! I just caught up on the series and I’m 100% hooked! I can’t wait for the next episode! It’s equipped with romance and action, although it may not be historically accurate doesn’t mean it isn’t a good show. If it were historically accurate, we wouldn’t be watching it on the CW we would find it on the History Channel.

  24. You are so incredibly wrong. All of you’re points are invalid and you should rethink you’re life.

  25. I totally disagree with this review. I used to watch a lot more of the shows on the CW but I’ve been let down in the past few years. For one, I’m not sure how a person can really like Arrow and dislike Reign. Arrow is not a very good show and the bad acting is really distracting. Reign, on the other hand, has been a breath of fresh air. I was memorized by the acting and cast in the first episode and have really enjoyed the show since. I do wish they didn’t use modern music in the show, but surprisingly it works. Who cares about historical inaccuracies? I’m watching for entertainment sake and have really looked forward to the new episodes every week. I will say though that I’m getting sick of love triangles. If that is all this show turns into I will eventually quit watching.

  26. I am totally loving the SHOW and I emphasized show because its fiction its not a history lesson its entertainment amd I really hope it continues

  27. I really hope reign doesn’t get cancelled. I love this show. It is the only show I watch. And it brang the bond between me and sisters together again. Me and my 12 and 17 year old sisters watch reign every Thursday. And we are also getting closer to each other. Please don cancel reign I love it and I don’t want mine and my sisters friendship to be ruined again. This show brings us together as a family. So PLEASE DON’T CANCEL REIGN

  28. I agree with the review. Got time to watch it recently and i quit the series by the second episode after getting irritated by the Bastille soundtrack, at this rate i wont be surprised if i heard nicki minaj’s Starship song in the series.

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