Fall TV First Impression: The CW's Reign

Reign "PilotThe broadcast networks have almost 30 shows debuting this fall, including a futuristic tale from the Fringe team, a new CW showcase for another Amell and Marvel-ous adventures for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

THE SHOW | The CWs Reign (Thursdays at 9/8c)

THE COMPETITION | ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, CBS’ The Crazy Ones (new) and Two and a Half Men, Fox’s Glee, NBC’s Sean Saves the World (new) and The Michael J. Fox Show (new)

THE CAST | Adelaide Kane (Teen Wolf), Toby Regbo (ITV’s The Town), Torrance Coombs (The Tudors), Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables) and many, many others

RELATED | Fall Preview: TVLine’s Grid Showing What’s On When and Versus What!

THE SET-UP | Kane plays the Mary, Queen of Scots, who as a blossoming teen — and after an attempt on her life — comes out of hiding at a convent to reunite with Prince Francis of France (Regbo) and formalize their arranged marriage. Francis, though, isn’t so quick to do right by their betrothal (and give up his somethin’-somethin’ on the side). Nor is his mother, Queen Catherine (Follows), rushing to see the deal sealed. Add in the randy French king’s roguish bastard son Bash (Coombs), a quartet of young ladies-in-waiting and opulent digs (the pilot was largely filmed in Ireland, though the show will now shoot in Toronto), and you get a CW-friendly “history” lesson.

Reign "PilotRELATED | Fall TV Preview: TVLine’s Snapshot Guide to All the New Shows

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Well knock me over with a feather. Upon watching the cutdown for this unlikely CW offering at the Upfronts, I instantly penciled it in for a short run. I perhaps didn’t “get it,” or, more likely, my eyes had glazed over from the trailers for the network’s myriad new sci-fi shows. But in viewing this pilot in full, Reign just might emerge a sleeper hit (by CW standards). It could be that its stark differences (era, setting) from Vampire Diaries, Arrow, Hart of Dixie and the like will make it “pop,” or that its super-sudsy themes (love! lust! betrayal! infidelity! voyeurism! self-pleasure! wait, what?) will reel in the abandoned Gossip Girl crowd. (For good measure, there is a whiff of supernatural hullabaloo thrown in.) The cast is uniformly fine — Kane gives Mary a root-for quality, but Regbo reads a bit ripe — with everyone amusingly doing some variation on a British-y accent that is neither French nor Scottish. C’est la vie!

RELATED | More Fall TV First Impressions: ABC’s Trophy Wife, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, CBS’ HostagesNBC’s IronsideABC’s Super Fun NightThe CW’s The Tomorrow PeopleFox’s Almost HumanCBS’ The Crazy Ones

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | This fate of this one lies largely on The CW’s promo department, which needs to sell what is technically a costumed period drama (“But Ma, I don’t want to learn!”) as the seductive, out-of-time sudser that it is. One X-factor is how Person of Interest‘s relocation will change the Thursdays-at-9 landscape — not that those 13 million older-skewing eyeballs will instinctively dart over to The CW, but the new CBS comedy The Crazy Ones isn’t gonna inherit them all. I optimistically predict better-than-Beastly numbers. Whatever the case, Reign‘s trajectory should be curious to observe.

Watch a video preview for Reign, then vote in our poll below.

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45 Comments
  1. Elyse says:

    I want to check it out but at the same time I don’t want to waste my time. there are so many actually good shows on TV.

  2. Ti says:

    I don’t know. It sounds interesting but as a history buff I have a bit of problem with the idea of this show (that could end having the same appeal that The Tudors had) and then there’s my problem with the CW that tends to cancell shows after one season (or half a season) leaving fans wanting more and with a very ugly after taste. Lately I tend to wait until I know the show will survive.

    • brown says:

      which means you’re part of the reason why shows get cancelled! networks need to see viewers in order to keep things on the air.

  3. dude says:

    I’m really interested in it because it’s the only different show they picked up but I just don’t see it winning over the CW audience. They’ll likely look at the costumes and give it a pass because its not about uber sexy rich people in modern times being uber sexy.

  4. Kristi says:

    I’m willing to give it a try for Adelaide Kane’s sake.

  5. Brad O'Leary says:

    CW has such a bad track record! Arrow is the only show on it i actually enjoy these days even though I still watch the now painful Vampire Diaries but depending on the new season might not be for much longer. Loved Ringer only for it to be cancelled and only plan to watch Tomorrow People 1st episode and if it’s good will keep watching. Tried Beauty and the Beast only to realize it was a really dumb show despite having the gorgeous Kristin Kreuk who I still liked from her Smallville days. Have watched Top Model from the get go and will check out the new season in August.

  6. Not my cup of tea. SKIP IT

  7. Brandy says:

    I’m really excited about this one and I’m not usually into period pieces.From the promos, Adalaidevdoes great as Mary.Im glad CW did pick this up,I think going all scifi/genre all the time is a bad idea and I’m glad they still have a few “girly shows” on.This is my most anticipated new shows next season(I’ll also watch Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,The Originals, and maybe StarCrossed at Midseason).

  8. Babar Suhail says:

    I watched the promos and it looked really corny, so I’ll pass.

  9. grumpy says:

    No thank you. Has BORING all over it. I’m calling it now first CW show to get cancel.

  10. Eli says:

    Fools, all of ye!

  11. JC says:

    On paper this sounds like a bad fit for the CW, but just watched the promo and it looks actually quite good. Biggest difficulty is going to be selling it to the CW crowd, but TVD often have flash backs to this sort of era so ‘costume drama’ perhaps not completely alien to the usual CW viewers and following TVD it’s certainly got the best ‘launch’ slot.

    • Rita says:

      My thoughts exactly :) I think that, from the long preview, it actually looks very interesting and more people than what’s expected will end up watching the show. But we’ll see. I’m really excited, some of the actors like Coombs & Adelaide would be enough for me to check out the show, but the story is catching my attention too. I hope it’ll get better throughout the season as well, as it usually does with all shows :)

  12. Cherry says:

    Reign looks a lot different from the shows they have now, incorporating more sex, drama and style than its other shows.

  13. pylgrym says:

    It doesn’t have to last 20 seasons, we know it outdoes Red Wedding by the end. Maybe it will at least last long enough to teach boarders the difference between reign and rein which would do my English professor heart good.

  14. Ram510 says:

    Initially I had no interest in this show and thought it would be quickly canceled. But after reading this review I may give it a chance once during a week where everything except for CW is in repeats

  15. Danielle H. says:

    I think it looks great and fills a void in my Tv viewing at the moment that needs a historical hot drama. Hopefully it holds its own opposite some heavy hitters. Even though I feel like it has an uphill battle ahead, I will definitely watch until the fat lady sings.

  16. EJ says:

    I do love it that someone somewhere a few months ago came up with a far better title-Mary, Teen of Scots.

  17. Carla Krae says:

    The Continental (British-y) accent is what Theatre uses for historical work. It’s easy to understand, yet formal enough to clearly indicate they’re not modern characters. With French or Scottish accents, you’d have much of the audience asking “What’d they say?”

  18. Carla Krae says:

    I also think people might be underestimating the teen-girls-love-to-look-like-a-princess angle. Mary’s outfits will be a hot Halloween inspiration, I tell ya now. The dresses? The headpieces? Gorgeous. Plus, hot male royals. It has teenage girl fantasy written all over it.

  19. Alex says:

    This looks awful.

  20. Tee says:

    I was not interested at all from the first promo. This one would make me at least check out an episode or two.

  21. Jose says:

    Cant watch…. Big fan of the Tudors and the Elizabeth films….. And history buff so I know where her story is going and where it ends up…… Cant deal with her life knowing it doesn’t have a happy ending and the journey isn’t worth it

  22. tracy robinson says:

    Im a huge history fan, but im open to re imagine stuff. But I have looked at the promos and clips for this and it just looks so bizarre and wacky, plus the main girl has a pronounced Australian Accent thats a bit annoying, sorry so i will have to give it a wide berth. There are so many programmes I am looking forward to Im sure I will find something I like this year?

  23. Maki says:

    It seems interesting. There aren’t that much history related shows and everything goes supernatural super effect green room style.
    I hope CW handles this show way better than Emily Owens and Cult which are 2 great show and where copletely neglected. They should annouce 1 or 2 Bigger Guest stars so they attract some viewers.
    But there is tough competion withe GA and Cbs comedies.

  24. Josh says:

    The girl is pretty bad on Teen Wolf..plus I don’t really want to see great women of history turned into weeping, insecure women who let bad boys walk all over them(after The Average CW woman who isn’t on Nikita)

    • Meh says:

      Well, problem is Mary Stuart did have bad luck with picking her men and I imagine she wept quite a lot. Her life in general wasn’t that great. I’m sure they’ll make her grow into a strong woman on the show, though.

  25. Will says:

    Been more interested in the contents of my handkerchief after blowing my nose, than I am in this awful looking show.

  26. pamela says:

    it looks okay but this is not a cw show, many good shows made for a more mature audience have this cancelled on this network.

  27. It's only me, and my opinion is not what CW wants to hear says:

    I will say this regarding Reign – it will either be a surprising revelation and a good case study for gutsy television programming, or it will be one of the biggest flops in the history of broadcast television and someone at CW will be fired. Nothing in between. I think audiences will either love this show, or hate this show. The numbers will tell the story by end of year.

    I’m not in the CW demo, so my vote isn’t important to the CW brass. I wish them the best, but I’m still betting ‘The Originals’ will get this 9pm Thursday slot by January (at the latest). Reign will end up a ‘short-run series’, and CW will spin it as a ‘success.’ We’ll see – the numbers never lie.

  28. Why not says:

    I already watch most of the shows on the CW (with the exception of ANTM, HOD, and TCD) so I don’t see a reason not to give this a shot. CW’s done pretty well recently (this coming from a fan of the genre shows the station has been leaning towards lately)

  29. Ellie says:

    Oh. Dear. Heaven. They actually made this? I thought it was a joke!

  30. Meh says:

    I think this could actually turn out really good. The promo looked a bit cheesy, but man, the Roswell ripoff looked ridiculously bad, so… I’ll definitely be watching Reign. Unfortunately, I feel like a lot of the CW crowd will not be able to appreciate it.

  31. A says:

    Reign was promising on paper, but the CW got a hold of it. They dress too modern and it will not be appreciated by younger viewers.

  32. bookworm says:

    I can’t get over the fact that nobody has an even remotely French or Scottish accent.

  33. Mika02 says:

    Had no intentions of watching this because of one reason The secret circle. But Megan Follows I will watch anything she is in. So I will DVR it and check it out won’t watch it live though.

  34. Everything just seems wrong with this show, pretty sure the hair and costume is not right for the date, the accents wow where to start is that a British accent the main girl is meant to have? I’m British that aint, also Mary was Scottish. I do not know if I can get over all them details. It might have something to do with the fact I am British and we do period drama well, so to see a part of British history being made for a youthful American audience, and with an Australian playing a Scottish Queen, hair and costume seemingly too modern. Basically I wouldn’t be able to get past all the details that seem wrong to even get into the story

  35. totally paused says:

    The obnoxious, anachronistic music is killing this show. It is loud, poorly mixed with the dialogue and the rhythms do not match the flow of the editing. Bad choice and even more poorly integrated.

  36. Jarine says:

    It was actually getting very interesting until they started taking their shoes off, looks like they bought them from Macy’s or DSW.

  37. Linda says:

    Anything Torrance Coombs is in I will watch. I think he is a good actor and deserves success. I like what I have seen so far.

  38. meh says:

    I’ve seen the first two episodes, and the accent snafu is really bothering me. I’m starting to think the only non-flat, northern american accent CW can/will do is English. They have an entire show that takes place in New orleans, and everyone on there has the same, bland boring accent (except Klause and Rebecca, of course. Even Elijah has lost his accent).

    Anyway, back to Reign, does CW think their viewers won’t be able to understand Scottish and French accents? Drives me bonkers when they pull this stunt.

  39. Callie says:

    Mary Stuart had auburn hair and i could wear all those dresses TODAY

  40. Julie says:

    Hi there, You have done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I’m sure they will be benefited from this site.

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