Jenna Coleman’s back in this epic British drama about Queen Victoria. Feel like snuggling up with some tea, some Brits, and some romance? Victoria is most definitely for you!
- British Costume Dramas
- British Georgian/Victorian History
- A very slow burn of a plot
- Jane Austen style love stories (meaning pining from afar with sexual tension that you can cut with a knife)
If you don’t like at least three of these four things, then you should NOT watch Victoria on PBS.
Following in the similar vein of Netflix’s The Crown and 2005’s Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen, Victoria is a lush British historical soap opera. This season, only 8 episodes long, follows Victoria’s ascension to the throne, her emotional affair with her Prime Minister, and her early marriage to Prince Albert. I admit, the first episode drags on and on. I fell asleep halfway through (it’s almost 2 hours). But the second and third episodes (each running about 55 mins) were delightful.
The show starts from the moment Victoria, a sheltered eighteen year old is crowned Queen. The tumultuous relationship between herself, her mother and her mother’s advisor, Sir John Conroy, leads to several rash decisions by Victoria.
Her impetuous naivety is tempered by her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. Rufus Sewell, whom some of you may remember from Man In The High Castle, smolders as Lord M. Oh, you didn’t think he was sexy before? Clearly, someone needs to watch Middlemarch! The man is a Victorian-era thirst machine, fall-front pants, waistcoat, and all. Yummmmmm.
I digress. The show follows Victoria and the eventual love of her life, her first cousin Albert. Yes, I said cousin. Is it weird? In modern times, yes, in Victorian times, no. Their story is much more Austenian in nature. Like Mansfield Park. #kissingcousins
The show is not without its flaws. There’s a upstairs-downstairs component that seems a mimic of Downton Abbey. And with the exception of Baroness Lehzen, it’s hard to care about any of the servants. They are there to serve a function: show the compassionate side of Victoria. But I think the show could do entirely without them. They don’t appear often, but then they do it’s for some small emotional squeeze. They are characters of convenience, meant to show up when Victoria needs to learn some sort of lesson or have compassion for her subjects. But they feel forced, and there’s no one character amongst them to really root for anyone.
But the show is interesting enough, lush enough and tense enough to binge it all over the course of a week. Sure, it’s almost 9 hours collectively, but if you’ve already watched all six hours of Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice what’s a few more hours of cutie Tom Hughes and hottie Jenna Coleman?
Victoria airs on PBS. The first few episodes expire on 2/5, so start your binging now!