AARP Eye Center
We will never be royals, but it’s easy to feel like one of the family when watching Netflix’s blockbuster series The Crown, about the United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II. Season 2 starts Friday. The first season was dubbed best TV drama (and star Claire Foy best actress) at the Golden Globes, and even Elizabeth’s granddaughter Princess Eugenie finds the show beautifully addictive. The first season, still available for streaming, takes newlywed Elizabeth from 1947 to 1955; the second season goes up to 1963 — when, according to British poet Philip Larkin, "sex was invented." Here’s why you should binge-watch both seasons right away.
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1. It Makes Downton Abbey Look Dowdy
With a budget over $100 million (possibly the costliest show ever), a costume designer from Game of Thrones and a production designer from Shakespeare in Love, The Crown takes you to the sumptuously glamorous inner sanctum of the House of Windsor. The gossip is richer, the writing smarter, the history more fascinating and the characters more absorbing than anything at the Crawley place — a hovel compared to Windsor Castle. If this show doesn’t give you house envy, nothing will.
2. But They Do Get Out of the House
Instead of feeling cooped up indoors with all that gold, the viewer gets to see royals sail to Antarctica, dance in Africa, risk death in rickety airplanes, fistfight school bullies, zoom to disreputable parties in sports cars and struggle with London’s killer fog and prime ministers who kill in sneakier ways.
3. Elizabeth and Winston Churchill Are Irresistible Together
Instead of winning World War II by eloquently bellowing, The Crown’s Churchill (John Lithgow) is a vulnerable guy on the way out after the war, gently educating the young queen on her impossible new job. Their relationship in the first season (with a few flashbacks in the second) is totally touching, and you won’t believe how much emotional information Foy can pack into a single glance.
4. Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Have Better Catfights Than Joan Collins and Linda Evans
In Season 2, Jackie (Jodi Balfour, with Michael C. Hall as JFK) disses the Queen, making her say, "I have learned more about humiliation in the last few weeks than I hoped I would in a lifetime." But wait until you hear what Jackie confesses in private — and see how their rivalry makes possible Elizabeth’s riskiest move and a great personal triumph that raises eyebrows for her Jackie-esque audacity.