With so many choices in what to watch, it is hard to find a show that’s truly binge-worthy, that’s why I am so glad I found The Royals.
I cannot remember where I first saw the preview for E! Entertainment’s first scripted drama, The Royals. You see, I don’t have cable, and I barely watch regular TV, so how I found out about this show is a bit of a mystery in my world. Anyhoo, I saw a preview somewhere and thought I would love to see this, it looked like a fun show.
It wasn’t until my sister bought me an Amazon Fire Stick to replace my aging Roku that I was able to see The Royals. That, coupled with Amazon’s free month trial of Prime put me on the path to my next obsession.
Helena is the matriarch of a fictional contemporary British royal family who must struggle with both common and atypical family dramas while in the public eye.
Twins Prince Liam and Princess Eleanor enjoy the hedonistic pleasures available to them as royals, knowing that their older brother Robert bears the responsibility of being heir to the throne of England. But when Robert is killed, the family is thrown into disarray and a grieving King Simon fears for the future of the monarchy.
Unexpectedly next in line for the throne, Liam must adjust to his new role while navigating his attraction to Ophelia, the American daughter of the royal head of security. His self-destructive [twin] sister, Eleanor finds rock-bottom when her bodyguard turns out to be a conman.
Trying to preserve the status quo and keep the royal family under her control, Queen Helena allies herself with Simon’s brother Cyrus to preserve their way of life at any cost.
The Familiar Crew
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised that The Royals was created by Mark Schwahn. Mr. Schwahn created another favorite of mine, One Tree Hill.
The Royals showcases his creative diversity… here’s what I mean, take Shonda Rhimes for example, (the creator of Greys Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, The Catch and Scandal just to name a few), all her shows have a certain similarity to them; the characters are interchangeable, the dialogue beats and deliverance are the same in all her shows. I have to hand it to Ms. Rhimes, that is branding at its best!
Mr. Schwahn’s team looked familiar (if you’re one to pay attention to the opening and closing credits) producing partners, Tollin/Robins, a few of the editors from One Tree Hill and OTH alum, James Lafferty, directed a few episodes. Go! James! Other than that, both shows are night and day.
After giving The Royals my standard three-episode test, I was kind of intrigued to the point that I binged watched the entire first season.
At first, Princess Eleanor, played by Alexandra Park came across as annoying as heck and Queen Helena, played by Elizabeth Hurley came across as a catty woman who hated her children, Princess Eleanor and Prince Liam. I felt that she was worse than Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones), because at least Cersei loved her children, and because of that minuscule fact made her a little likeable … a little.
One of the characters that I loved right away was Prince Liam, played by William Moseley. A handsome Playboy Prince attending college is the equivalent of a wolf in a hen house. Moseley could actually be a real life royal. The actor could quite easily hold his own as a brother from another mother to Prince William and Harry. Heck, he even has the name to go with the title! I think that’s why his character is called, Liam. Think about that for a minute.
Jasper Frost played by Tom Austen is another character that I LOVED from day one. He is so delicious to look at, that I even ignore his cringe-worthy American accent. Looks aside, he is Princess Eleanor’s bodyguard/lover/blackmailer. Smooth as silk and cold as ice.
By casting Moseley and Austen, the network immediately honed in on their target demographic (women 18-49). Well played, E!
Eye candy aside, Eleanor aka Princess Peek-a-boo has become my favorite bacon eating bestie.
Speeding towards the midseason, episode 5 (the show has 10 episodes per season), the characters started developing and we get to see why they are the way they are. This is a show that does not take itself seriously at all and I think that’s what makes it so much fun!
The Comedy of Drama
There are moments where the drama is intense in one scene and in the following scene the comedy is outrageous … and it works! The only time I felt that the comedy was forced was when Cyrus’ daughters came to visit. They were just useless and totally off-ball.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but when the King’s real killer was revealed I was completely floored and couldn’t see the connection. It felt like the actor wanted out of his contract so they wrote him out quickly. By this time, I was ready to not question the killer’s motive because I was totally into the drama with the other characters.
Small Spoiler Ahead
The King is really a Queen
When slimy Cyrus finally claws his way to becoming King. The funny is turned all the way up. Cyrus, played by Jake Mascall, has the funniest lines and delivers it with such vengeance and ump that I sometimes had to rewind to hear it again.
The scene where his is poisoning his enemy had me laughing for days! That was one of my many favorite episodes. When Mascall and Hurley are in a scene together you know it is going to be a laugh riot. The two of them play well off of each other, each one more slimy than the next. They are pure fun to watch.
Fashion is a character in the show, after all, it is a show about the British Monarch and people are fascinated by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge aka Kate Middleton and her fashion sense. Not to mention the show is filmed entirely in the UK, the fashion capital of the world … sorry New York.
While there is nothing proper or princess-like in the way Princess Eleanor dresses, her style is chic and daring. Luckily, Alexandra Park has the body to pull off the wardrobe.
The girl is like a size 2 and she pulled out a dress from her closet for Ophelia, who is clearly a size 6, and through the magic of TV, it fits! Again, the show doesn’t take itself seriously, so neither should we. Without fashion, The Royals would be all hot guys with abs and a couple of ladies.
The Royal Review
If you’re looking for something fun, entertaining, and a gut-busting good laugh, then give The Royals a chance! I’d say it’s like The Tudors but set in a modern era or Gossip Girl for adults.
The thing about being caught up is that I have to wait a week for the next episode, which is annoying as hell! Now you know why I don’t watch TV in real time. Ugh!
After season 1, I considered keeping Prime only so I could get the rest of The Royals, turns out I’d still have to pay-per-episode with or without Prime, so I dropped Prime and paid for the full “Royals” season pass. Now I am current with E! viewers (season 3) and let me tell you, folks, it only gets better!