REVIEW: REIGN – SEASON 3

 

Starring

Adelaide Kane (Power Rangers RPM)
Megan Follows (October Faction)
Rachel Skarsten (Batwoman)
Torrance Coombs (The Originals)
Toby Regbo (The Last Kingdom)
Celina Sinden (The Retreat)
Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Jonathan Keltz (21 & Over)
Craig Parker (Spartacus)
Rose Williams (Sanditon)
Charlie Carrick (Deep Water)
Ben Geurens (Legacies)

Anna Popplewell, Toby Regbo, Adelaide Kane, Torrance Coombs, and Celina Sinden in Reign (2013)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Alexandra Ordolis (Nurses)
Clara Pasieka (Impulse)
Tom Everett Scott (13 Reasons Why)
Spencer Macpherson (Northern Rescue)
Nick Lee (The Fall)
Christopher Russell (Van Helsing)
Cristina Rosato (Bad Santa 2)
Andrew Jackson (Sea Wolf)
Ben Aldridge (Pennyworth)
Amy Brenneman (88 Minutes)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)
Mark Ghanimé (Private Eyes)
Giles Panton (The Man In The High Castle)
Blair Williams (American Psycho)
Richard de Klerk (Motive)
Lyla Porter-Follows (Frontier)
Christopher Jacot (Eureka)
Michael Therriault (Heroes Reborn)
Siobhan Murphy (Merry Happy Whatever)
Krystin Pellerin (Republic of Doyle)
Colleen Winton (Van Helsing)
Rossif Sutherland (The Con Artist)
Patrick Garrow (Robocop)
Christopher Russell (Flashpoint)
John Barrowman (Arrow)
Jonathan Goad (Alias Grace)
Adam Kenneth Wilson (Alien Mysteries)
Dan Jeannotte (Red 2)

Rachel Skarsten in Reign (2013)Mary (Adelaide Kane) has found herself reborn now that she and Francis (Toby Regbo) have decided to leave the past behind them and move forward again as one loving and happy team. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all problems have been solved, as Catherine (Megan Follows) is currently aiding the English queen Elizabeth (Rachel Skarsten) to conquer Scotland, thus taking away Mary’s power. This new alliance doesn’t really last that long, seeing Catherine ends up in the dungeons at French court rather quickly when she resurfaces on French soil.Megan Follows in Reign (2013)Even though everything seems to be heading towards the right direction for the beloved royal couple, Francis is still ill, and it seems he has an incurable disease, thus his time left on this Earth is quite limited. Not wanting to give up, Mary looks for remedies or healers who might be able to help her beloved husband. Meanwhile Catherine is still trying to influence people from the depths of the dungeons. Nonetheless, Narcisse (Craig Parker) decides to finally make his move on Lola (Anna Popplewell) now that Catherine is out of the picture. Even though Narcisse had a thing for Lola in the past, he went for ‘pleasuring’ Catherine, in order to profit from her power, as he was stripped of his by Francis due to his dubious practices.Toby Regbo and Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)All of this goes accompanied by the hunt for a murderer who has killed countless people, forcing Bash (Torrance Coombs) to request the aid of Delphine (Alexandra Ordolis) who has strange powers. Finding Delphine might prove difficult, as she is currently being hunted because people think she’s a witch and a murderer.The flow of this season is rather fast and chaotic, as there were four episodes less to wrap up the season, compared to the first two seasons of the show. Nonetheless, this quicker flow is quite likeable, as there is more suspense, a lot more events going on, which boosts the series, which was not bad for the most part, but sometimes a bit too slow and dull. Even though it’s clear that this season revolves around Mary and the problems in Scotland, the ‘side stories’ are all tied together with the main plot, and they prove to be extremely exciting. Overall these eighteen episodes feel more brutal, more adult and simply a lot more interesting. One thing proves to be an issue though, as this season suffers from the same problem that pestered The Vampire Diaries at a certain time, where sex seemed to be a lot more important than story value.Toby Regbo and Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)Acting performances remain constant in comparison with the previous seasons, as there haven’t been any significant changes cast wise. Only Rachel Skarsten is getting a lot more screen time this season, and she plays out her role as queen Elizabeth quite admirably. She does a great job in portraying a whimsical, ruthless and determined character. Craig Parker, who plays Narcisse, also becomes a lot more relevant again, as he is gaining more and more power again, perhaps even more than he originally had. Of course, the rest of the cast still provides very entertaining performances.Toby Regbo and Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)Reign: Season 3 takes a pinch of what made Season 2 slightly better than the first one, and shows that series can become better over time, rather than lose its momentum. You’ll be treated to a lot of interesting relations, many bloody battles, murderers, the occult and of course, a beautiful lead actress who knows what she is doing. The only setback of this last release is the fact that is comes with no extra features. Nonetheless, if you loved the previous seasons, this one will not disappoint.

REVIEW: REIGN – SEASON 2

Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)

Starring

Adelaide Kane (Power Rangers RPM)
Megan Follows (October Faction)
Torrance Coombs (The Originals)
Toby Regbo (The Last Kingdom)
Celina Sinden (The Retreat)
Caitlin Stasey (I, Frankenstein)
Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Jonathan Keltz (21 & Over)
Sean Teale (The Gifted)
Craig Parker (Spartacus)
Rose Williams (Sanditon)

Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Rossif Sutherland (Haven)
Michael Therriault (Heroes Reborn)
Sarah Winter (Versailles)
Camille Stopps (Guilt Free Zone)
Nicole de Boer (Cube)
Jane Spidell (Robocop: The Series)
Noam Jenkins (Earth: Final Conflict)
Ben Lewis (Arrow)
Kate Ross (October Faction)
Sergio Di Zio (Flashpoint)
Ava Preston (Critters Attack!)
James Downing (Cardinal)
Ben Aldridge (Pennyworth)
Tori Anderson (Blindspot)
Anna Walton (Hellboy II)
Rachel Wilson (Impulse)
Linzee Barclay (Lost Girl)
Amy Brenneman (88 Minutes)
Alan van Sprang (Star Trek: Discovery)
Alexandra Ordolis (Nurses)
Siobhan Williams (Deadly Class)
Rob Stewart (Painkiller Jane)
Katie Boland (Long Story, Short)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Meghan Heffern (Chloe)
Rachel Skarsten (Batwoman)

Sean Teale in Reign (2013)While the first season of Reign provided us with an entertaining experience, we were never truly blown away by the series’ plot, mainly due to the fact that the fiction portion of the series was lacking in originality and overall likeability, the the second season looked a lot more promising. Once again we visit the beautiful sets and costumes, and now that King Henry II is disposed of, the series takes a liking for the occult and the supernatural. It seems Mary and Francis will not have such a happy time as husband and wife just yet.Craig Parker, Anna Popplewell, and Camille Stopps in Reign (2013)This second season handles many separate plots, but the main theme is pretty much the conflicts between France’s Catholic inhabitants and the Protestant ones, with the latter simply wanting to practice their faith without being prosecuted or mistreated. Nonetheless, before these troubles arise, the second season picks up where the first season ended, namely with an outbreak of the plague, which has the entire castle on lockdown. Nonetheless, Francis (Toby Regbo) rides out to find Lola (Anna Popplewell) who has given birth to his illegitimate son. Even though this might be a sore spot for Mary (Adelaide Kane), she truly wants Francis to be happy and play a part in his son’s life. She even allows him to claim the son as his own, making sure it will not be shunned by others and by doing so, ensuring its future as a proper lord.Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)After the plague has passed, new problems arise with one of the most influential lords of France, Narcisse (Craig Parker), as he is causing uproars because he isn’t delivering grain to the people. This of course has to do with the fact that Mary killed his son by throwing him into a dungeon with infected people, after he demanded the king and queen to kill someone who also possessed a great deal of power. When the royal couple refused, he killed the man himself, and his family by using poison. This infuriated Mary and by this, Narcisse’s son forfeited his life by invoking the queen’s wrath. After this, Narcisse’s countermeasures, of withholding food for the general populace, are the cause of many bloodshed. Sadly, Mary and Francis can’t simply dispose of this lord because of the power he has and the secret he learns of the king.Mary, Lola and Estelle in Reign, The Lamb and the SlaughterAll this occurs while Catherine (Megan Follows) starts to see ghosts, princess Claude (Rose Williams) returns to court and lord Condé (Sean Teale), who is from a noble family that also has the right to claim France’s throne, grows closer to Mary. The latter is also one of the main storylines that occurs in this season. Acting performances are on par with the first season, which means that everyone puts down a rather convincing experience. It has to be said that the three main newcomers put down exquisite performances, with Craig Parker in the lead, closely followed by Sean Teale and Rose Williams. These actors brings their characters to life and add a sorely needed extra to Reign.Megan Follows and Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)Last time we discussed the ‘modern’ vibe that came off this series, which was not always that well suited for the timeframe Reign situates itself around. Nonetheless, during this season it bothered us a lot less, perhaps because we knew what to expect, or simply because it works quite well for the topic(s) of this second season. Only one thing remains that hampers the entire experience, namely that everybody is pretty much fucking everyone, making this quite unrealistic, especially considering if a woman did this during this time period it would mean certain death. Sometimes this series feels like it can only end if the leading actresses have screwed entire France.

 

REVIEW: PENNYWORTH – SEASON 1

 

Pennyworth (2019)

Starring

Jack Bannon (Fury)
Ben Aldridge (The Railway Man)
Hainsley Lloyd Bennett (King of Crime)
Ryan Fletcher (Shetland)
Dorothy Atkinson (Harlots)
Ian Puleston-Davies (Vera)
Paloma Faith (St. Trinian’s)
Jason Flemyng (From Hell)
Polly Walker (Clash of The Titans)
Emma Paetz (Gentleman Jack)

Jack Bannon in Pennyworth (2019)
Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Emma Corrin (The Crown)
Jarren Dalmeda (The Outpost)
Salóme Gunnarsdóttir (Knightfall)
Richard Clothier (Above Suspicion)
Ramon Tikaram (Jupiter Ascending)
Ben Wiggins (Mary Queen of Scotts)
Jessica Ellerby (Lovesick)
Danny Webb (Alien 3)
Freddy Carter (Wonder Woman)
Harriet Slater (Faunutland and the Lost Magic)
Anna Chancellor (Trust)
Felicity Kendal (Rosemary & Thyne)
Peter Guinness (Sleepy Hollow)
Sarah Alexander (Stardust)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Charlie Woodward (Postman Pat)

Jack Bannon in Pennyworth (2019)Stories that have well-known, predetermined endings are tricky. Stories about peripheral characters before the main draw gets involved are tricky. Origin stories aren’t that tricky, but they become tricky when you’re telling one with the two previous requirements in place. In these ways (and few others), “Pennyworth” is a lot like “Better Call Saul” — the origin story of a supporting player in a larger story that hasn’t started yet, EPIX’s new series about Batman’s future butler doesn’t feature the Dark Knight or even the promise of getting to his story, eventually. Instead, it starts its own story of Alfred Pennyworth and finds compelling new life within — just like “Better Call Saul!”Emma Paetz and Ben Aldridge in Pennyworth (2019)OK, maybe not just like Vince Gilligan’s heralded spinoff, but it’s off to a great start through four episodes. The hour-long drama starts Alfred’s story shortly after his service in the war, as the 20-something Pennyworth (played by Jack Bannon) returns home to his mother and father, determined to run a security business and lead a more peaceful life. While that’s getting off the ground, he works as a bouncer and doorman at an underground London club, and it’s here he first runs into a young American by the name of Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge).Emma Corrin and Jack Bannon in Pennyworth (2019)It’s here that “Pennyworth” makes its first good impression, built on the back of many smart choices. For one, Wayne isn’t treated like royalty. He’s kind of a smarmy dick — like a lot of billionaires — and his introduction sees him as a bit of an overprotective, inept brother, relying on the good luck of Pennyworth’s talents and discretion to get out of an ugly situation. That the show doesn’t treat the Wayne name with an air of royalty, as if he’s the most important person in a show that’s not really his, is really encouraging, and it only bears out from there.Emma Corrin, Jack Bannon, and Ben Aldridge in Pennyworth (2019)Alfred himself is a well-rounded central figure, built from the heroic goods of more-than-capable soldier, but not such a smoothed-over goodie goodie to be made boring. He shows off his fighting abilities in the middle of a restaurant, careful not to bother the other patrons too much while tossing a hooligan over a table. There are shades of Future Alfred there, but not too many — he’s still got to become that wizened advisor to Master Wayne, so it’s nice to see he’s also got a few blindspots, too.Jack Bannon in Pennyworth (2019)Namely, women. One sucker punches him near the end of that early scene, foreshadowing many problems to come with his overconfident self-perception. Alfred doesn’t really know who he is yet, and that’s reflected as it so often is to men: through the (smarter) people they date. To get into much more might enter spoiler territory, but the women of “Pennyworth” are pretty well characterized on their own, outside of Alfred’s, too, even if there is a bit of a James Bond element to his lifestyle, as well as the show’s style. (The opening credits look like they’re ripped straight from Bond 20, while Alfred’s “for Queen and country” attitude compliments his 007-esque abilities.)Jack Bannon and Ben Aldridge in Pennyworth (2019)here’s where we talk about how damn good “Pennyworth” looks. Considering how gorgeous Bruno Heller (executive producer and writer) and Danny Cannon (executive producer and director) made “Gotham” — even with a broadcast budget — it should come as no surprise that London has rarely looked better than it does here. The lighting, both diegetic and non-diegetic, is stunning, making the crisp imagery pop when enemies are fighting and bringing beauty to a smoky side street when a noir-ish vibe is more appropriate. The costumes are pristine, sets expansive, and locations exciting in both their look and disparity. One episode is off to the countryside while another is buried in the bowels of a city. Along with sharp scripts, these touches help each hour stand out, and build on the overall enjoyment of spending time with “Pennyworth.”Jack Bannon in Pennyworth (2019)Though there are some structural issues (the premiere is nearly feature length, with wobbly beginning and ending notes) and the big-picture strife between warring political parties takes up a bit too much time, “Pennyworth” establishes an admirable long-game and introduces a number of characters you’ll grow attached to quite quickly. Bannon is a talented lead, flashing charm and strength as well as he balances immediate assuredness (for those hard-to-escape scenarios) and long-view obliviousness (toward his own path in life). The show mimics his versatility, coming across as an exciting new chapter in Bruce Wayne’s growing televised saga. “Pennyworth” sounds like a bad idea, but Batman die-hards and casual fans should both soon discover how very good it is.