...The title of the review about sums it up.
Reign is a show that [very, very, very ,very, VERY] loosely chronicles the teenage years of Mary Queen of Scots with a supernatural twist.
There is quite a lot of sex and sex appeal present in the show; nothing extremely lewd or graphically shown in nature, but frankly, it’s not the sex, violence or language that concerns me the most. And I’m sure that for those who have watched the show already, you know exactly where I’m going with this...
Now when I first saw previews of this show prior to its release, I was excited. I love history. And I find royal history particularly intriguing, being an illustrator and designer. Historical clothing is one of my niches; and I've studied it in-depth for years. And after watching the first few episodes of Reign, all I have to say is wow, was this costume designer sketching up concepts for the show while thumbing through a Vogue magazine?!
Obviously, every form of media, the producer of the content, be it literary, via TV, film, etc. that dapples in historical fiction, or even the retelling of true historical events has a lot on their plate, and a lot expected of them as far as accurately portraying the clothing, events, accents, dialects, architecture, etc. of the period. And I must say, Reign falls painfully short.
As I said, all media forms are subject to taking creative liberties; we've seen inaccuracy in plenty of historical films and dramas; The Tudors, The Other Boleyn Girl, Borgia, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Marie Antoinette and more. But what sets these productions apart from Reign, is that you can tell that the producers have done SOME research as far as basic construction and layout of historical clothing, and for the most part, the creative liberties taken are rather slight in comparison to the purely modern clothing used in Reign.
But then there's Reign: or what I like to call, "Ye Olde Beverly Hills." Young ladies of court walking around in sleeveless, shoulderless, low-cut dresses, strapped high heels, mini cardigans and long sleeved tee shirts over skirts? I'm sorry, what? The closest they come to devling into the 16th century is a Victorian corset that one woman is seen wearing while undressing. [And even THAT’S a pretty big stretch!]
Probably what bothers me the most about Reign is that it has taken a wonderful opportunity to get younger audiences [the series is aimed at teens] engaged in and enthused about mostly ACCURATE history, and totally misses the mark. If you ever visit their Facebook page and read some of the comments by fans, young and old, a lot of them agree, there are major inaccuracies, but there are even more who adore the show for what it is, and some, that don't believe the outfit choices are incorrect! The shortest, and yet most fitting comment I found to describe this series is: “Gossip Girl in corsets.”
I think that Reign feels too inconsistent and all over the place as far as their clothing choices are concerned.
In the promo image they used before the series’ release, the trio of main characters is shown wearing clothing that looked more like storybook royalty, as opposed to true historical royals, but, it was MILES ahead of what was to come. Now, this more storybook feel of the court’s clothing continued for part of the first few episodes, and then randomly, we get girls running around looking like they’re gearing up for their high school prom! It’s as if the creators just arbitrarily insert whatever they feel like, whenever they feel like, as opposed to easing us into new concepts / their ideas, and it doesn’t work.
The most painful part of this though, is that Reign has a decent story. For a stickler like me though, I just can’t see that far past the inaccuracies to thuroughly enjoy the show.
For those of you who don’t care about those details though, Reign is a fairly decent show; I’d rate it on for teens 14 to 15 and older. As I said, there is some sex, language and violence, but of course, since it airs unabridged on TV, there isn’t anything extremely graphic in nature.