‘The Crown’ Season 2 Review Roundup: Royal Soap Opera Loosens Up In Second Season
The Crown season two begins in 1956 and blends the public and private events of Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family. This will be Claire Foy‘s and Matt Smith‘s final seasons as the Queen and Prince Philip, respectively. Both the couple and the country are preparing for war. Netflix is said to have spent twice as much on this new season as on the first, and the first season was the most expensive television series ever made. Like the first, the second season is also made up of 10 episodes.
THE CROWN SEASON 2 REVIEW ROUNDUP
“It is another nuanced, psychologically acute 10 hours of stately – but never dull – plotting and portraiture, which uses the past to illuminate the present, rather than merely retelling history (the courtiers’ bafflement at people crying over Billy Graham’s sermons, and the barely concealed royal resentment of the glamour of the Kennedys, surely have their parallels in Diana, for example). It is also, as the presence of the public begins to make itself felt to the Establishment, a little less suffocating than the original. The light and air is welcome, and prepares us for the unprecedented moment when the Queen, after being told the rude remarks Jackie Kennedy made about the sovereign’s intellect and home, shows a sense of humour. ‘Well,’ she replies, ‘we must have her again soon.'”
–Lucy Mangan, The Guardian
“With the Queen’s marriage teetering on the brink, her nation and its government aren’t doing brilliantly either. Running alongside the domestic drama, and sometimes overshadowing it, was the geopolitical and Westminster picture… But once again, it’s the performances that impress above all: it would be easy to take Claire Foy for granted, so comfortable is she now in this role, but she makes the impossible – bringing the unknowable to life – look easy. Matt Smith, too, has seldom been better. If the scripts do them justice, we could be in for another memorable series.”
–Gabriel Tate, The Telegraph
“So instead of following a single arc, The Crown kind of just wanders, peering in on Elizabeth and Philip’s marriage in the first couple episodes, then spending some time with Margaret and her new beau, a dashing bisexual photographer played by Matthew Goode. (Christmas came early, kids.) The Kennedys even pop over for a visit in one cheesy but wholly satisfying episode. It’s fun, how the show bops around, offering a surveying look at the royals as they were in the years after one global sea change and just before another one… The Crown is a grand production, elegant and ornate but stopping just shy of gaudy. Sometimes when Lorne Balfe’s score is really going for it, playing at full blare over scenes of some mundane plot development, all that opulence can seem a little silly. But, a bit like the monarchy itself, something about the show’s sheer belief in its grandeur—in the righteousness and necessity of it all—sells me on the enterprise. The Crown is a royalist soap opera that may be kind of irresponsible, here in fraught, fractious late 2017. But as a new real-world royalist soap opera kicks into high gear, what further harm could a lowly Netflix show really do? Long live The Crown, I guess.”
–Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
“The second season of The Crown brings back all the sumptuous, high-production-value, ultra-British refinement that characterized its first season. But it also does something different: It loosens up a bit… On every level, The Crown is deserving of praise. But it’s that subtle emphasis on the idea that even the most stubborn among us can at least try to evolve that makes it vital end-of-2017 viewing.”
–Jen Chaney, Vulture
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