Mary Queen of Scots was one of the most fascinating figures in history, ruling over Scotland and serving as queen consult of France before an uprising sent her to jail for nearly 20 years, and eventually leading to her execution.
But the new CW period drama Reign, Mary is depicted as something closer to what critics call a Princess Diaries knockoff.
Mary Queen of Scots is portrayed by Teen Wolf star Adelaide Kane, but seems something out of a typical teenage drama, Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara notes.
McNamara writes that CW doesn’t choose to show Mary Stuart as the highly educated but “endlessly manipulated” woman who became queen when she was just 6 years old.
“She’s seen as a girl totally obsessed with her teen-dreamy intended, Prince Francis (Toby Regbo) — or wait, maybe his super-hot illegitimate (and entirely fictitious) stepbrother Bash (Torrance Coombs),” McNamara writes. “She’s also a queen more concerned with her popularity among her ladies-in-waiting than she is with how to regain control of her country or make nice with her potential mother-in-law, Queen Catherine (Megan Follows) and the mystical boy-toy Nostradamus (Rossif Sutherland.)”
But historical inaccuracies aside, Reign is earning good grades after its premiere this week. It has been hailed as ambitious, and more than just a knockoff trying to cash in off the popularity of period show Game of Thrones.
“Reign is undoubtedly insane and it’s definitely the most ambitious thing The CW has ever tried,” wrote Buddy TV’s Morgan Glennon. “It’s like someone wrote out a list of all the shows The CW has ever aired (sexy supernatural dramas! sexy social hierarchy dramas! sexy teens!) threw them all in a blender with a history book and out popped Reign.”
Reign would have plenty of material on Mary Queen of Scots to make a sufficient television drama. Before being imprisoned, the historical figure married her cousin, who killed one of Mary’s friends in a jealous rage.