Review: Bingeable ‘Crown’

(Above: Olivia Coleman in ‘The Crown.’ Source: YouTube video)

The Crown debuted its third season Sunday on Netflix. Episode one, “Olding,” suggests that this season of the historical drama, like the first two, is imminently bingeable.

It’s 1964, and a changing of the guard has occured at Buckingham Palace. Olivia Coleman, who won a best actress Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite, seamlessly slips into the role of Queen Elizabeth (played in the first two seasons by Claire Foy, who won an Emmy and Golden Globe for her performance).

The Queen is now middle-aged, a point the first scene underscores as Elizabeth grimly inspects her new postage stamp portrait. Prince Phillip’s duties are now performed very ably by Tobias Menzies (taking over from Dr. Who’s Matt Smith), whose long TV resume includes HBO’s Game of Thrones and Rome.

The political world is transitioning – and not necessarily to the Royals’ liking. The Labour Party’s Harold Wilson (Jason Watkins) is elected Prime Minister, and Elizabeth and Phillip have heard rumors that the working-class politician might be a Soviet agent. This unfolds as Elizabeth prepares to say goodbye to an old confidant and mentor, Winston Churchill (John Lithgow).

The perennially unhappy – and unlucky- in-love – Princess Margaret (now played by Helena Bonham Carter, taking over for Vanessa Kirby) continues to frequent dinner parties and, apparently, make the lives of her servants absolutely miserable. Meanwhile, an even greater Buckingham Palace scandal involving international skullduggery, blackmail and betrayal is revealed.

The 10-episode third season follows the royal family through the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, concluding with the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, celebrating 25 years on the throne.

The cast also now includes Marion Bailey as the Queen Mother, Clancy Brown as LBJ, and, in episode one, Samuel West as Anthony Blunt.

You can find more about this highly recommended series — and access all 30 episodes from three seasons — at Netflix.

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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