Reign: The Complete First Season DVD Review

     Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Thai, Spanish,     Portuguese, English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 23, 2014
  • Run Time: 916 minutes


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            So many stations have tried to do the historical soap opera narratives recently, apparently in an attempt to cash in on the few that have worked. It should come as no surprise that CW has decided to follow in the footsteps of series such as “The Tudors” and “The White Queen,” and even less of a surprise that they have treated it the same as they did “Gossip Girl” or “Vampire Diaries.” With a cast of young attractive actors, the story quickly set up a love triangle, a narrative necessity of any CW series. While this is an inevitability that is irritating but forgivable, it is far more difficult to justify the typical CW inclusion of current pop music in the soundtrack.

     


            This extremely altered and fictionalized narrative takes its characters and basic concept from the teenage years Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland (Adelaide Kane), spent living amongst two-faced villains scheming against her. The series begins with Mary’s journey to France in preparation of matrimony with Prince Francis (Toby Regbo). This is a marriage made out of alliances and political maneuvering, created mostly for show. Both have relationships with others, including a torrid affair that Mary has with Francis’ illegitimate half-brother, Sebastian (Torrance Coombs).

     

            The show may be too heavily reliant on the forced romantic melodrama, no doubt catering to the teenage girl demographic above all the rest, but thankfully there is also plenty of forced political backstabbing and scheming to break up the sanitized romance. Alliances shift as the goals change from episode to episode. The more that happens in this narrative, the more it feels as if nothing will ever really change. The main effect this series had on me was the urge to go back and watch Katherine Hepburn in Mary of Scotland (1936) or any of the more recent portrayals that do not include pop music contradictions.

     

            The Complete First Season on DVD includes all twenty-two episodes on five discs, along with a handful of extras. Along with a handful of unaired scenes on each disc, the fifth disc includes two featurettes created for this release. There is a making-of featurette, as well as one on the historical authenticity of the show’s production elements.

     

    Entertainment Value: 4/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10

    Historical Significance:  2/10

    Special Features: 5.5/10




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