THE CROWN – SEASON ONE (2016) & SEASON TWO (2017) – A Royal soap opera that is as good as it gets


Season One Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Season Two Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

In anticipation of the release of the latest Season 4 of Netflix’s The Crown, I have finally taken the time to watch this series. I must admit that I am surprised that it took me so long to finally take time to watch this but as the saying goes, better late than never. Having just binge watch Seasons 1 and 2 within just slightly over a week, I have to proclaim my admiration and ecstasy in what is quite possibly the best TV series I have been fortunate enough to see in recent memory. The series is explicitly produced with exceptional screenplay for all the episodes written by the outstanding Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) supported by an amazing cast and glorious photography, costumes and sets design. Excellence extend to even the aptly sober and majestic atmospheric music score that often served to heighten the sentiments portrayed by a scene. 

The Crown tells the story of one amazing woman, the current reigning Queen Elizabeth II of England. Peter Morgan has an ambitious project that carries us from the time Queen Elizabeth was crowned as Queen in 1953 when she was at a tender age of 27 right up to the present times over a projected six seasons with 10 episodes each. Seasons 1 and 2 covers roughly the first 10 years of the Queen’s reign, while being reinforced by relevant flash backs to her younger years and also important historical events that took place during that period. The series would not be as compelling as it is without the splendid performances of its cast particularly those carrying the pivotal roles:  Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, Matt Smith as Prince Philip, and Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret. Also worthy of mention is John Lithgow who I dare say gave one of his best performances in his career here as the illustrious and aging Prime Minister Winston Churchill, plus a quietly sensitive Jared Harris as the Queen’s father, King George VI. The ensemble cast puts in so much life and soul to their roles that every episode comes across looking so believable even though common sense and logic tells us that much of the actual dialouge and incidents captured so vividly here are dramatisation of the truth. 

One of the consistent delights of the series is how Peter Morgan manages to allow side characters to shine in episodes and side stories of their own while providing a kaleidoscope of historic events and personalities that touched the lives of the monach. I particularly liked the episodes about the dense fog of London in 1952 (Act of God), Churchill’s 80th birthday (Assassins), the friendship with Reverend Billy Graham (Vergangenheit),  Princess Margaret and her beautiful romance with the roguish photographer Tony Armstrong (Matrimonium), the Queen’s relationship with Jackie Kennedy (Dear Mrs Kennedy) and the eye opening episode of young Prince Charles early schooling in Scotland (Paterfamilias). All these contributed to not only a better understanding of the challenges faced by the Queen but also juicy details to make the series so watchable.

As testament to the series’ caliber, Seasons 1 and 2 have already won multiple awards from the industry including Best TV Series (Golden Globes), Best Actress- Claire Foy (Golden Globe and Emmy), and Best Supporting Actor – John Lithgow (Golden Globes and Emmy). I cannot wait to watch Seasons 3 and 4 which will see a new cast playing older versions of the characters as the stories cover the 60’s and 70’s. This is television entertainment at its very best.

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