Fall 2013 Pilot Preview: The CW’s ‘Reign’

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Fall is one of our favorite seasons here at TVSource Magazine because that means it’s time for a brand new season of television. We’ve screened as many pilots as we could get our hands on and while the networks don’t want us to publish reviews just yet (things can still change a lot between the time the pilot is made to when it hits our screens during premiere week), we can give our readers mini previews and our initial thoughts on why we will or will not be watching this fall.

First up on our list is The CW’s Reign.

Where/When: Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW beginning Oct. 17

What: Reign centers on Mary Stuart, the teenager who will grow up to become Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary arrives at the French Court where she is set to marry Prince Francis. The marriage has been arranged since the two were toddlers, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to go off without a hitch. Neither young royal is particularly ready to rush down the aisle and Francis’ half-brother Bash could prove to be a complication in the battle for Mary’s heart. But he’s not the only issue; Queen Catherine is convinced that her son will be doomed if the union happens so she’s willing to use her considerable power to do everything and anything she can to make sure the marriage never becomes a reality.

Who: Adelaide Kane (“Teen Wolf”), Toby Regbo (“The Town”), Torrance Combs (“Heartland”), Megan Follows (“Hollywood Heights”) and Alan Van Sprang (“The LA Complex”)

Why We Will/Will Not Be Watching: We’re not allowed to be too spoiler-y or go into many details, but here are our editors’ opinions after watching the pilot.

Mandy’s Take: This show took me by surprise. While some have called it Gossip Girl at the French Court, it is so much more than that. The show has the typical CW staples: a potential love triangle, pretty people, backstabbing and plenty of drama to go around. There’s also a possible supernatural element that makes it a great fit for the network’s target audience. But it’s the setting that makes it standout. Taking on a period piece is a bold move, but one that can work if viewers are willing to give it a shot. The main plot and the subplots are all gripping and not as cut and dry as one might expect going into the show. Mary is at the center of everything as she balances being a teenager with the weight of several countries on her shoulders and Kane does such a fantastic job that it is impossible not to root for her.  

Amber’s Take: Next to The OriginalsReign is hands down my favorite pilot from The CW. From the wardrobe to the rules of the royals to the messy romantic entanglements, Reign has everything I love in a period drama. It’s important for viewers to remember this show isn’t meant to be a history lesson. The writers are taking a specific era and people as a backdrop to create a story of their own. If you can separate history and enjoy a fictional take, you’ll love everything about this show. It’ll whisk you away and into Mary’s world, which is filled with a lot of darkness for a protagonist, who is simply just a teenage girl struggling to find her way in a life where everything has been decided for her. The male leads are pretty easy on the eyes too! This is one of my must-see shows for fall, the one I’m already harassing my friends about watching. 

Ryan’s Take: I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Reign. On the surface, it seems like typical CW fodder — pretty people embroiled in scandals, love triangles and power struggles — but it’s so much more. Yes, it has all of that, just done better than anything else on the network. Though the triangle between Mary, Bash and Francis is one of the main plots, I was interested more in Queen Catherine’s subplot, which ties into the main story. The cinematography is beautiful, the score is excellent and the casting is top notch. Adelaide Kane’s take on Mary, Queen of Scots, is what really won me over. She’s a girl with the weight of her country on her back, in a new place with people she doesn’t know if she can trust. The series will lure viewers interested in period-based dramas, though the liberties taken with the historical aspects might be difficult for some to accept. A definite must watch in my book.

About The Author

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Editorial Director since 2012. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.