Reign is an American television romantic drama series that aired on The CW from October 17, 2013 to June 16, 2017.
The highly fictionalized series follows the early exploits of Mary, Queen of Scots. The first season opens in 1557, with Mary living in French court and awaiting her marriage to Prince Francis, to whom she has been engaged since they were six. Mary has to contend with changing politics and power plays, as well as her burgeoning feelings for Francis and the romantic attentions of Francis's bastard half-brother, Bash. Francis's mother, Catherine de' Medici, secretly tries to prevent the marriage following Nostradamus's confidential prediction that the marriage will lead to Francis's death. The series also follows the affairs of Mary's Scottish handmaidens Kenna, Aylee, Lola, and Greer, who are searching for husbands of their own at French Court.
The second season opens after the death of King Henry II, and follows the rise of Francis and Mary as King and Queen of France and Scotland. Together they have to balance their marriage with their roles as monarchs, and deal with the rising religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants, as well as the ambitions of the rival House of Bourbon for the throne of France.
The third season follows Francis's declining health and death partway through the season, leaving Mary a widow and struggling to find new footing since she's no longer bound to France as its queen. Francis's brother Charles is crowned the new underaged king, with Catherine as regent. The third season also introduces the court of Queen Elizabeth of England, who plots against Mary, fends off marital prospects, and deals with her secret love affair with Robert Dudley.
The fourth and final season has Mary returned to Scotland and trying to regain power in her homeland. She has to manage her allies, such as her bastard half-brother James and the outspoken Lord Bothwell, as well as her enemies, such as the Protestant preacher John Knox. Tensions mount between Mary and Elizabeth, with Mary marrying Lord Darnley, an English Catholic claimant to the English throne, in the hopes of taking England. In France, Catherine has to protect her son, King Charles IX, from the ambitions of her daughter Queen Leeza of Spain and her younger son, Henry.
- Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
- Megan Follows as Catherine de' Medici
- Celina Sinden as Greer
- Toby Regbo as Francis II of France (main seasons 1–3; guest season 4)
- Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Bash" (seasons 1–3)
- Anna Popplewell as Lola (seasons 1–3)
- Caitlin Stasey as Kenna (seasons 1–2)
- Alan van Sprang as Henry II of France (main season 1; recurring season 2)
- Jenessa Grant as Aylee (season 1)
- Jonathan Keltz as Leith Bayard (recurring season 1; main seasons 2–4)
- Craig Parker as Stéphane Narcisse (seasons 2–4)
- Rose Williams as Claude of France (seasons 2–4)
- Sean Teale as Louis, Prince of Condé (season 2)
- Rachel Skarsten as Elizabeth I of England (guest season 2; main seasons 3–4)
- Ben Geurens as Gideon Blackburn (seasons 3–4)
- Charlie Carrick as Robert Dudley (season 3)
- Spencer MacPherson as Charles IX of France (recurring season 3; main season 4)
- Dan Jeannotte as James Stewart (recurring season 3; main season 4)
- Jonathan Goad as John Knox (recurring season 3; main season 4)
- Will Kemp as Darnley (season 4)
Season overview Edit
n February 2013, The CW announced its order of a pilot for a TV series based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, created by Stephanie Sengupta and Laurie McCarthy, and produced by CBS Studios. Part of the reason McCarthy chose Mary Stuart as the subject is because of her life history and multiple husbands, which makes her story "sexier". The pilot was directed by Brad Silberling, with Sengupta and McCarthy as the writers and executive directors; Sengupta left the team in May 2013, leaving Laurie McCarthy as the sole showrunner. On February 9, 2013, it was announced that Australian actress Adelaide Kane would be playing the main character.
In interviews preceding the premiere, showrunner McCarthy described the show as deliberately taking liberties with history, and that it's more "entertainment" than history, while actress Anna Popplewell referred to the show as "fantasy history", exploring the characters in hypothetical situations. Actress Megan Follows described the show as "24 for the pre-Renaissance", as the show tends to extend historical events over a longer period of time. McCarthy added that the show is designed to be interesting to a contemporary audience, so viewers who aren't familiar with history will be able to watch and relate to the characters. Among the creative choices is the use of modern music in the show soundtrack, and its costumes. The show's costumes are designed by Meredith Markworth-Pollack, who worked on the CW's other shows Hart of Dixie and Gossip Girl, who created different looks for Mary and her ladies, each to complement their differing personalities. The ladies: Lola, Kenna, Greer, and Aylee, are loosely based on Mary Beaton, Mary Seton, Mary Fleming, and Mary Livingston who were ladies-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots.