Fans of Royal TV
by Matthew Gilbert | Boston Globe | February 28, 2019
I’m a sucker for the royal dramas. They marry history to warped family dynamics, and they’re generally quite pretty and transporting. They’re like “Succession,” HBO’s Murdoch family send-up, except with a majestic makeover, more servants, and at least one crown. There’s treachery, there are big castles, and at the center of it all there is the distorted psychology of a person who has inherited, not necessarily earned, a position closer to God than we mere mortals.
These shows are just what the Anglophile TV doctor ordered, a spot of tea as the cure for the uncountably many grim crime-solving dramas and superhero spectacles elsewhere on the schedule. For some viewers, royal dramas, like period novel adaptations, are too staid, too mired in the subtleties of their indirect exchanges to be entertaining. But for me, it’s fascinating to watch lives constrained by rigid social and dynastic rules, as messy human needs struggle against ancient policies. Things can get ugly around the palace, for sure, but most of the time the messes are hidden behind an elegant veneer of dignity.