The Crown – Review – TV Series (2016– )
On November 4th of 2016 Netflix released yet again, in its entirety the first season (10 one-hour episodes) of the already well received by fans and critics alike, British television series The Crown. The reviews were so raving, and I can tell you personally, I understand why being 6 episodes ‘in’, myself.
Netflix has 30 original series today. They will double that in 2017.
Not only was this a big gamble for the streaming service Netflix who is shifting in strategy already with doubling down on original content production and letting go (expiring) of their film deals for their film and tv portfolio. Each single episode of The Crown is budgeted at $5m, and has already been commissioned for two series, with the intention of four more, before the first had even been completed or an episode broadcast. (Netflix is doubling down on its original programming next year, Variety reports.)
Peter Morgan has revealed the series has been envisaged to be 60 episodes in total.
The series kicks off where Queen Elizabeth II born 1926 as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, faces of becoming the Queen as a 25-year old, with her coronation actually taking place on 2 June 1953. Dealing with the countries issues together with Sir Winston Churchill, and her family, the story immediately draws you in. Early 1950’s the British Empire economically was in decline and it’s Queen Elizabeth II’s reign that has to change this course. Can you imagine the amount of stress this must have been, being only an early adult? Writer Peter Morgan’s truly masterfully and incredibly well researched (you feel it from the moment you put on Ep. 1) ‘gripping’ script will take you on this journey you have simply haven’t seen before. From the world of power and privilege behind locked doors in Westminster and Buckingham Palace.
“A master class in arthouse film, writing, team effort and style”
The simple reason why it is so good is that writer Peter Morgan who you might know from writing features like The Queen (Oscar-nominated), The Last King of Scotland, Rush and Frost/Nixon, simply created a world, that even if you are a non-believer in old institutions like monarchies who I am, took the series in spite of the high budget, back to a masterclass of arthouse film, writing, team effort and style. A truly remarkable achievement If you ask me. Starting with the Elastic produced intro The Crown – Main Title Sequence, theme music composed by Hans Zimmer, to the what sometimes dark, and real life cunning intimate dialogues (dialogue-heavy) from the sheer brilliant cast, like Claire Foy’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, John Lithgow’s epic aging British icon Sir Winston Churchill, from the original composed music by Rupert Gregson-Williams (member of Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions team of composers), perfectly blended Editing, beautiful Production Design, perfect Art Direction, typical British landscape lighting, to set decoration, and truly majestic Roger Deakins like style of cinematography (DEAKINS: Shadows In The Valley). The cinematography in The Crown is done by São Paulo born Adriano Goldman (Sin Nombre), and Lux Artists Ole Bratt Birkeland.
Episode 2 “Hyde Park Corner” – Queen Mary bows to her new sovereign.
Images Speak Louder Than Words
One of the examples of the brilliant script is at the ending of the 2nd Episode”Hyde Park Corner”. With Winston Churchill’s speech “For Valour:” on the background with a perfect humble score (almost like the Shawshank Redemption’s – Brook was here ) scene by scene (in total harmony with the edit and the genius original composed music). We see Churchill giving the historical speech from Downing street with all the staff members and BBC radio employees. (all historical accurate). We also see vice prime minister Anthony Eden (brilliantly portrayed by Jeremy Northam) coming together in a room (gentlemen’s club like) filled with all cabinets members listening to the radio (hoping for Churchill to fail). Then we see Elizabeth arriving at Westminister with the car. With her husband again walking behind her. Clearly not happy with current events. Walking up to the stairs to her fathers father’s deathbed. Elizabeth sees her death father for the first time. She cries. The room is perfectly lit. What an extraordinary scene. Side note: Elizabeth already gets treated in her family circles as the new Queen. Everyone bows from her sister, to her own mother. The realisation kicks in with Elizabeth will be the new queen. Elizabeth’s eyes on the full front lookout, obviously being in shock of her father’s death and realisation her will life will never be the same anymore. A car arrives, Queen Mary (The mother of King George) gets out in full black clothing. The music changes in atmosphere. It becomes darker, and darker (think of Zimmer Nolan Batman). We go back to a shot of Winston Churchill’s continues speech “For Valour:” Churchill says the famous words: “God Save the Queen.” Shot of Anthony Eden closing his eyes and all cabinet members say it out loud as well. They stand up –“God Save the Queen.” Anthony Eden gets up too late and doesn’t say the words (brilliant detail). We see Elizabeth walking down the stairs with her family. Group Captain Peter Woolridge Townsend (Ben Miles) slightly bowing and letting Elizabeth know someone is coming her way. The camera turns to a filled hallway with family members at Westminster. Queen Mary comes out and we see her in traditionally funeral dress (with head cover), walking up to Elizabeth. The music comes to a perfect climax. Queen Mary bows perfectly, slowly get ups again. You hear the old floor making noise. Camera angle back to Elizabeth, slowly camera going to Elizabeth’s face for a wide close up shot; Eyes wide, open in shock. Music to a bombastic long horn. Fade-out. Black. WOW! Images truly speak louder than words. This true ‘shivering’ image brings it to the ultimate perfect climax (cliffhanger). Speechless I am. Perfect, goosebumps. Thank you Peter Morgan. Yes.. folks… A-One-To-Watch series.
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