A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Victoria is a period drama about the English queen who ruled from 1837 to 1901. There's no cursing, but there is some insulting language directed at Albert (who's called "stiff" and "stupid") and at German people, the despised minority of 19th-century England. There's some discussion of far-off wars and glimpses of abject poverty, such as a "match girl" who sells matches in a market. An animal is seen with a bloody, broken leg. There are a few veiled references to sex, with talk of a man taking a woman "to bed" and one who goes to a brothel he refers to as a "nunnery" (without nuns). Adults drink wine at dinner; no one acts drunk. The show is mild enough for kids, but since a lot of the drama concerns subjects such as political intrigue, it's probably best for adults and teens who enjoy history and the English monarchy.
What's the story?
If you picture England's Queen VICTORIA as an old woman on vintage postage stamps, prepare to meet the ruler (Jenna Coleman) as a teenaged newbie brimming with insecurities. She depends on her country's prime minister, Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell), to teach her everything she doesn't know about her job and its intricacies and on her cousin (and, soon, husband) Albert (Tom Hughes) for moral support. She's going to need it, too, to muddle through the scandal, corruption, and political intrigues of her court -- not to mention the drama going on among the servants a few floors down.
Is it any good?
Clearly engineered to fill the English-period-drama vacuum left by the end of Downton Abbey, this peek into a high-class life just isn't as much fun. Coleman makes an appealing heroine, and there's electricity between her and Hughes' Albert, with his floppy hair, hipster moustache, and burning eyes. But anyone who's ever heard of the Victoria and Albert Museum knows who the Queen will end up with. Domestic squabbles and foreign flaps blow up, but then blow over, as the servants downstairs gossip about the nobles and argue with each other. It lacks Abbey's juicy, grabby, soap-opera quality, and all of it comes off a bit stuffy.
Nonetheless, there are charms in Victoria for fans of vintage drama: elegant clothing, beautiful rooms with satin drapes and silver, tall hats, garden rambles, elegant dances. Oh, and palace protocol: One episode vividly depicts how the queen's comfort was prized over that of even her noble relatives, as a crowd of waiters sweeps every dinner plate off the table once she pushes her plate away. "I wasn't finished," says an aggrieved Albert. Who cares? The queen was through! And that's the way we do things around here! Viewers who find drama in such rarefied and archaic detail will find plenty to enjoy; others may wish for a little more spice.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Victoria's time period. How were things changing for England and the world over the course of Queen Victoria's reign?
How could you find out more about the historical events that the series refers to/takes part in? How accurate do you think the show is, from a historical perspective?
This drama focuses both on royal/noble characters as well as the servants who cook and clean for them and dress them. What other shows do you know that do the same thing? How is this show similar to or different from those shows?
For kids who love history
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.