The Crown Season 3 [7/10]

I abhor royalty (doesn’t everyone?) but, inexplicably, have been gripped by “The Crown,” created by Peter Morgan, who must retain a strong grip on the series’ writers and directors, because its hallmark is a stunning combination of narrative smarts and filmic atmospherics. The first two seasons were especially engrossing, anchored as they were be Claire Foy’s powerful performances as Queen Elizabeth II, and by a backdrop of England’s geopolitical decline amidst a new Cold War. Those two seasons, embracing the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s, exuded the drama of a new monarch amidst vast externalities. In Season 3, the narrative lens turns inwards, to an expanding Royal family (Josh O’Connor is hypnotic as young Prince Charles) that, frankly (in my opinion), reveals the family in a truer, dysfunctional light. After the initial visual and aural shock of Claire Foy being replaced by Olivia Coleman (who is excellent), and other replacements, we settle into a foggy world of pettiness and stupidity, a world that should repel me but the series’ storytelling magic remains strong. In conclusion, if you missed the first two seasons, they should be preferred, but Season 3 of The Crown maintains a steady record of engaging viewing.

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