Review: ‘The Crown’ season five misses the monarch

Photo courtesy of IMDb.

By Clay Thompson | Intern

As a longtime fan of Netflix’s “The Crown” — by about five whole days, which is how long it took me to binge the whole series through the finale of season five — I think I can say with certainty that the fifth and penultimate season of “The Crown” is my least favorite so far. However, that does not mean it is bad on its own.

First and foremost, the writing and acting are all still superb. Imelda Staunton does a fairly good job portraying Queen Elizabeth II, but still, no one in my eyes can compare to the performance of the Queen by Claire Foy in the first two seasons.

Jonathan Pryce did a great job as Prince Phillip, who I think I can safely say, has had the most consistent and well-done character development in the entire show. I believe Elizabeth Debicki did a wonderful job as Diana, given that the late Princess of Wales has been portrayed by around nine actresses in different adaptations of her life.

The writing is still very good despite my later complaints. The character interactions and dialogue feel realistic to the characters and the times they live in. The episodic nature of the stories feels beautifully self-contained while still overall fleshing out the royal family’s struggle in increasingly changing times.

The soundtrack and set designs are also still the same, which means they are great. The daunting halls of Buckingham Palace, the stifling corridors of Balmoral and the beautiful estate of Sandringham feel familiar to returning viewers of “The Crown.” The music and soundtrack still royally rock with mixes of classic and modern influences that provide a great musical parallel to the changing times and the insecurities of adaptation plaguing the now much older royal family.

Overall, I would have to say as a standalone season, the fifth season of the Crown is still great streaming television. However, in comparison to its predecessors, this is the weakest season yet.

Mostly, I hate how the show has sold out when it comes to the Queen. The fourth, and now fifth seasons of “The Crown” have now become “The Charles and Diana” show. Seeing as how we have seen numerous adaptations of Diana’s life, the seeming betrayal of the show to its own original concept: following the life and struggles of Queen Elizabeth II throughout her reign, we are seeing much less of her and much more of the controversial royal pair.

Not to say that Charles and Diana did not play a large role in the Queen’s life later on, but the show seems to cast the Queen to the wayside, and focus on the two’s perspectives in the drama surrounding their marriage. I hated that we saw much more of them and their squabbles than we ever did of the Queen and followed what she was going through.

Overall, the fifth season of the Crown is decent, but as a committed viewer of the show, betrays and disrespects its core concept of the Queen for the flashy, gaudy drama between the Prince and Princess of Wales.

For a show created to follow the monarch of Great Britain, it feels really disrespectful to cast her aside, especially after her recent death, to focus on royals who have already been covered by other media adaptations extensively.