REIGN

DVD-Reign-season-2-release-date-premiere-2015 (2)The second in our series of reviews of TV shows that are So Bad it’s Good!

There’s a new period drama on the block. Described as “Gossip Girl meets Game of Thrones”, Reign is the CW’s newest drama—and it’s sexier than anything teen T.V has seen before. It’s so bad that it’s good, and totally self-aware of its role as a guilty pleasure show, but there’s more to Reign than meets the eye. Based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, Reign follows the Queen’s life at French Court, her relationship and inflexible commitment to the future King of France, and the unbreakable bond she shares with her friends and ladies in waiting.

Reign takes historical inaccuracy to a whole new level. Some decisions, such as altering the age of the main characters from 14 to late-teens, are only fitting considering the demographic of the audience and sexually explicit content. Other decisions, however, are done purely for entertainment value. An affair with the Prince of France’s bastard half-brother? Sure! Never mind that said half-brother never actually existed. Let’s throw in another affair with the Prince of Navarre, elaborate costumes that are far more Coachella than 16th century, and a ridiculously good-looking King of France—a stark contrast to the sickly 14 year old boy that sat on the throne for just two short years before his untimely death.

However, fans are pushing for more historical inaccuracies—namely that King Francis does not meet his end this season, as history would suggest (at just 16 years of age, 2 years into his marriage with Mary Queen of Scots, an ear infection claimed the life of King Francis in 1560).

It might just be that the historical blunders are exactly what make the show so enjoyable. The Coachella inspired costumes? They’re actually awesome.  Costume designer Meredith Markworth-Pollack has a cult following on instagram, where over 48,000 people wait for the latest updates on ‘Reign Costumes’. Markworth-Pollack combines Armani fabrics and Gucci gowns with beads and bedazzlements of her own creation, producing extravagant outfits for the leading ladies and gentlemen to wear on screen. While it might not always resemble the high necks and long-sleeves of 16th century French fashion, the pieces worn by Reign’s cast light up the screen each and every episode.

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Reign gets something right though: women are badass. Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland (portrayed by Adelaide Kane in the CW Drama), is strong, powerful and won’t take sh*t from anyone. Kane brings a kind of strength to her character that is usually absent from our screens when it comes to female teen characters. Kane’s Mary is very rarely the victim, and when she is, she fights back with incredible physical and emotional ferocity.

Her ladies in waiting are powerful in their own ways; Lola (Anna Popplewell) reclaims her identity after being labelled an unwed mother, Greer (Celina Sinden) takes control of her life and earns an income, despite her gender, after being abandoned by her husband, and who could forget how Kenna (Caitlin Stasey) owns her sexuality, unafraid of going after what she wants. The Queen Mother, Catherine Di Medici (brought to life by Canadian-born actress Megan Follows), is perhaps the most badass of them all—fierce in her conviction, diplomatic decisions and in her love for her family (plus, her icy stares are beaten by none). Reign shows its teen audience the resilient nature of female friendship and the importance of pure girl power.

Reign also creates conversation around typically taboo subjects. The pilot episode attracted controversy because of its depiction of Kenna masturbating, beginning her journey of sexual exploration. Reign is being heralded, and rightly so, as a teen show that values female pleasure in a way that’s positive and largely absent of the male gaze.

The thing about Reign is that it’s undeniably entertaining. Isn’t that the magic of good T.V? For all its historical inaccuracies and predictable plot lines, Reign is the kind of show you can binge watch whole seasons of at a time, at 2am with a block of chocolate (and let’s be honest, you’ll finish both in one sitting).

 – Sammi Taylor

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