November 14, 2022

The Crown: Season 5 was just released on Netflix with an all new older cast as Queen Elizabeth ages. Now we have Imelda Stauton as the Queen. I have to admit that Clare Foy, seen in the first seen of episode 1 when she attends the ceremonial launch and naming of the Brittania, her official ship for touring, is my Queen Elizabeth. I think that she did such a masterful portrayal, and I can’t seem to get Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix out of my head when I see Stauton now. Dolores was such a nasty character and you wished for bad things to happen to her.

I feel much the same about the casting of Jonathan Pryce as Phillip, and for the new Charles played by Dominic West, known by me as the guy in The Affair. How appropriate! I do think that in bringing in Elizabeth Debicki as Diana was brilliant casting. She towers over West, and in truth is a woman at 6 feet 3 inches tall, but she has nailed the mannerisms and speech of the former Princess. She was excellent in Widows and Tenet. Having only watched the first episode, I can say that she is portraying the ill fated Princess admirably. I can see why King Charles, now that the Queen in real life has passed away, would not be anxious to have this released so near his coronation. Episode 1 is entitled Queen Victoria Syndrome, shows Charles to just be a dick. From engaging with Prime Minister John Major separately to discuss having the Queen give up her crown early to allow the next generation to take power, to his treatment of Diana as he dismisses his bride who only seems to want his attention and love. He is incapable of doing so. The reference to Queen Victoria Syndrome is with any longstanding monarch that the people grow to feel has become out of touch with her people.

Apparently the meeting with Major never took place, according to Major himself, and others have weighed in to speak about the inaccuracies to reality. Netflix is quick to point out that this is “entertainment” and they don’t profess this to be historically accurate. Still. Charles comes off again as being less sympathetic and whining that he is so progressive and deserves his chance to show what he can do. Given the love for the Queen, and despite the polls back in the 90s that felt she was “out of touch”, certainly when it came to Diana, there is little doubt that no one would support Charles on the throne sooner than he got it this year. Helen Mirren in The Queen, showed this magnificently and the struggles that the Queen had in dealing with the death of someone who was no longer part of the Royal family. In this episode, the not-so-subtle suggestion that the Brittania and the Queen herself were in need of a modernization/refurbishment is played out. Diana is the loving Mom to the two boys, and they adore her. As Major points out to his wife on a visit to the Royals, he seems them as not an example for the people to admire and emulate but as the entitled, isolated, whiny, dysfunctional group that they have become.

I look forward to more in this excellent series.

Love Is Blind: Season 3 came to a close and it had its fair share of surprises, and also predictable banter. From a surprise factor, those couple that decided to actually get married in the final two episodes were surprising to be sure. I had pegged a couple of those differently. Can I understand why they made their own very personal choices? Absolutely. Who ever wants to get married in a matter of weeks to someone who was a complete stranger?

It seems silly to expect that the little experiment would ever work, with so many challenges facing a young couple. The initial connection is within pods where they cannot see one another; one is expected to fall in love with the person and connect without added complexities of looks. Then they meet once they have proposed. Of course those who are motivated to be on TV and get their 15 minutes of fame are tempted to get hitched. Then the real world somewhat sets in as they meet other people from the pods and other couples. In this season, a couple of the young men show their immaturity and voice their thoughts about some of the other candidates of the opposite sex to their betrothed! What a mistake! For me this is mind candy, seeing how relationships unfold and either connect or fall apart. In some ways it is almost miraculous that couple decide to go through with it. The producers do find a way to keep picking at scabs for the couples as they revisit awkwards moments and places where people were not acting on their best behaviour. Of course, we as an audience only see what they show us, and all those many hours outside this show that were never ever brought forward. Families play a big part, and some decide that they will not support their own child in this endeavor. This is quite a surprise to me, as any family who would boycott a wedding for their child just surprises me. At the same time, there is evidence as to why they exactly that as part of the show. If you like this sort of thing, this delivers as expected. You will enjoy. If you don’t, then you’ll want to stay away.

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