After a long wait, the 4th Season of The Crown and the last season with the current cast, was finally been released but did it live up to expectations?
The 4th Season of the Crown, which debuted on Netflix on Nov 15th 2020, does not shy away from controversy, covering the late 1970s. This includes the Christmas 1990 where it digs deep into the turbulent relationship of Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin), and the role of the first female prime minister Margret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). Thatcher is shown to be a force to be reckoned with through her meetings with the Queen (Olivia Coleman) and her approach to the role of leader of the nation in a majorly male dominated environment.
The new season of the Crown has been highly anticipated by many, but for me, it feels like a let down. Undoubtedly the cinematography and design, including the often extravagant costumes are as gorgeous and captivating as they have been since the first season. Increasingly, with the introduction of Diana, the drama is reaching boiling point. However, personally I feel that it is rather dramatic and not in an enjoyable way. The tense arguments between Charles and Diana often leave you feeling uncomfortable. The Queen herself seemingly slips to the sidelines whilst the heir to the throne battles with issues of his own making… he is constantly complaining about it too.
The often tense scenes are portrayed in my opinion very well by the actors themselves but the overall portrayal feels harsh and at some points, rather forced. Understandably this may be a representation of the state of the monarchy at the time, and its relationships with other institutions (parliament in particular) but how far can we believe the depictions? Shows such as this have always required some level of dramatising and imagination as has been presented in previous seasons but this pushes boundaries. There has been some harsh backlash towards Netflix. Some viewers are encouraging Netflix to add a disclaimer to the title, ensuring that future audiences take into account that some of the content shown may have been dramatised.
I personally found myself heaving a sigh of relief when we were given a reprieve from the squabbling of the younger members within the family in the form of a singular episode based solely around Princess Margaret.
However, it is still evidently clear that the older royals fall to the sidelines within the new season of the Crown. Although it may be argued that the spotlight fell to their younger counterparts at the time. The new season of the Crown, although filled with heated drama, rather feels like it has lost its shine. In my opinion, it is far from the regal and poised show it was when Clare Foy graced the role.
The actors led a dramatic end to their stint on the show with the next season of the Crown introducing new actors to the roles as the characters age.
Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter) will take the lead as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathon Pryce (Game of Thrones) as Prince Phillip, Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) as Princess Margaret and Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby) as Princess Diana. The role of Prince Charles has yet to be confirmed but rumours suggest it will be Dominic West (The Affair).