Back in August 2016, a series debuted on ITV, starring Jenna Coleman, detailing the early reign of Queen Victoria.
Years ago (around the time that the film Young Victoria was released) I was a big fan of that particular period in history. While that film was annoying and not particularly accurate, I looked forward to the prospect of the ITV series with curiosity.
Aaaand…it was OK.
Jenna Coleman was good as the new Queen, but for the most part the characters seemed to be too cardboard-cutout to warrant any interest. Rufus Sewell was good as Melbourne, and certainly had a lot of screen presence. The characters of Victoria’s mother the Duchess of Kent and her weaselly adviser Sir John Conroy seemed farcically overblown and unerringly comic. I hope it was unintentional but for the most part I don’t think you can really play a villain convincingly without it being incredibly melodramatic.
The CGI was incredibly distracting at times and for the most part the televisual action was split between upstairs drama and the downstairs swindling of selling on gloves and candles. When I saw they were focusing on the servants too I got a bit annoyed because I really didn’t watch this looking for a rehash of Downton Abbey.
I hope they don’t make this 8-part series a romp of melodramatic farce akin to some sort of Gothic novel. I think I’ll wait till I’ve seen more episodes to make a stronger judgement. So far, however, the costumes are nice and Rufus Sewell is an interesting casting choice as Lord Melborne. I await more of the episodes with bated breath.
MY RATING: **.5 / *****