Pilot Perception: Reign

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: Reign, the CW in the U.S. and CTV Two in Canada, Thursdays at 9/8c

The Pedigree: The show is executive produced by Laurie McCarthy (Felicity, GCB) and Frank Siracusa (Beauty and the Beast). McCarthy wrote the pilot with Stephanie SenGupta (Hawaii Five-0). Brad Silberling (A Series of Unfortunate Events) directed.

The Cast & How You Know Them: Reign stars Adelaide Kane (Teen Wolf), Toby Regbo (One Day), Torrance Coombs (The Tudors), Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables), Alan Van Sprang (The Tudors), Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia), Jenessa Grant (Cyberbully), and newcomer Celina Sinden.

The Premise: Reign is about young Mary Stuart (who will become Mary, Queen of Scots) and her friends at the French court, where she deals with romance, court intrigue, Nostradamus (yes, really), and more.

A Taste:

What Works: The cast is mostly decent, and Megan Follows, especially, seems to be having a lot of fun. There are a lot of really pretty dresses here. And I appreciate that the CW is trying to branch out and do something new. But . . .

What Doesn’t: I was hoping this show would be weird and wacky and fun, but the pilot is really just weird and . . . not good. I don’t expect historical fiction to be accurate in all its details, but this was just inaccurate and anachronistic in its entire broad outlines and themes. And it wasn’t even fun enough to help make up for that. The writing is choppy and way too modern. The pilot has way too much going on – romance, friendship, family conflict, conspiracies, politics, various hints of paranormal elements – and just doesn’t do any of them well.

Our Favorite Line: “I just had a vision! I see you, beheaded, at my command.”

You Might Like This if you like soapy historical dramas (like The Tudors or The White Queen) and aren’t bothered by factual inaccuracies, or if you want to see Gossip Girl reenacted in pretty dresses. The use of contemporary music also reminded me of Marie Antoinette.

If You’re Interested: The CW is rerunning the pilot on Friday at 8/7c, or watch online at the CW or CTV Two. Then set your DVR for next Thursday at 9/8c.

(Photo courtesy of the CW.)

One thought on “Pilot Perception: Reign

  1. I agree with everything you said.I was looking for something along the lines of “The White Queen” but was quite disappointed.Some of it was interesting but I really disliked the modern music and make-up. It seemed to be just an attempt to woo very young people into watching “history”? I am not completely done watching yet,but was not too happy with this pilot

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