The Crown Season 4 [8/10]

Season 4 of “The Crown” covers the eighties, the Maggie Thatcher years, and after the slight dip of Season 3, represents a roaring return to form. Once again I find myself initially nonplussed: why am I, an anti-monarchist especially alienated from anything to do with Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, so taken with a ten-episode show in which they loom so often? The answer, as the answer has been for the three earlier seasons, is twofold: the plotting wizardry of Peter Morgan and the consummate acting. Sure, The Crown is consistently more than those two attributes. The staging and pacing are immaculate, the royal milieu is glorified sumptuously, the cinematography (many gloomy royal abode scenes, many English countryside panoramas, many riveting clos-up scenes) is first-rate, and the dialogue crackles. But the primary reason I find myself glued to the screen each and every episode, is Morgan’s nuanced intertwining of real and imagined events, intelligent and deep. If you then throw in Gillian Anderson’s unforgettable performance as Thatcher, Olivia Coleman’s brilliance as Her Royal Highness, and Emma Corrin’s amazing inhabitation of Diana (not forgetting many other stellar performances), my devotion to this series is understandable. Do not omit all four seasons of The Crown from your cultural roster, and in particular, bask in this fourth season.

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