TV Pilots in Review: Reign

We're reviewing six new 2013 pilots this Fall TV season! We'll be dishing about the good, the bad, and the hotties on the small screen. Twin Takedown style, of course ;) 

Network: CW
Premiere Date: October 18th
Air Date: Thursdays 9/8c


Chronicles the rise to power of Mary Queen of Scots (Kane) when she arrives in France as a 15-year-old, betrothed to Prince Francis, and with her three best friends as ladies-in-waiting. It details the secret history of survival at French Court amidst fierce foes, dark forces, and a world of sexual intrigue. 


Before the show, I remained skeptical that the CW could do a historical show. I mean, the production value has to be spot on, and how do you make a chaste time-period into something sexy? The CW seemed to prove me wrong on every aspect, so much so that this was my favorite pilot this year.

Becca: I agree. There was a lot that could go wrong. CW and horses? I don't think that's ever been done before. Castles? This isn't a WB backlot. How much is this going to cost? Can they pull it off? Well, I'll give you a hint on our feelings. We watched this pilot back in June (when critics received a copy), and we watched it all again last night. And I never once wanted to fast-forward or shut off my tv, even though I had already watched it all before.

And I'll put this into perspective. We had previously seen The Tomorrow People, The Originals, and half of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland in June. When they premiered in October, we fast-forwarded TTP and OUAT. The Originals was kind of new from what we'd seen, so we watched it. But Reign wasn't that different. And yet, we felt compelled, entranced, addicted to watch the entire thing again. It's that good.

Initial Response

Krista: Seriously, this show starts out spectacularly. The music has to be the standout. I swear the Lumineers must be a part of the music department or someone in the department is friends with them. Their song Scotland is used as the theme/score for the pilot. It was awesome.

Becca: I want that music score. I set the mood for the whole episode and managed to feel contemporary historical without feeling cheesy. And I love the gothic elements like the ghost (or rather person? see, we're not sure if it's truly supernatural or not) -- which remind me more of something the Bronte sisters would write (a la Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights). I love Scotland. I love ghosts. And I love romance. And castles. I could go on and on. 

Plot/Story Arc

Krista: The plot is based around the real life Mary Queen of Scots who was betrothed to the Prince Francis -- the future King of France. If you know the history of the Queen, you know it's a tragic one, which makes for a great series. I'm curious to see what they'll keep and change from actual events.

Becca: There isn't a lack of suspense even though we know the outcome from history. It reminds me of something like The White Queen that just aired on Starz. There's still so much tension even though we know how the series will (probably) end.

Krista: Nostradamus sees a prophecy that Mary will be the ruin of Francis and this begins the rivalry between the Queen of France, Catherine de Medici, and Mary. Catherine wants to take down Mary, and this will definitely be the driving force of the season. 

Becca: Yep, lots of power struggles. And again, there are those gothic elements too. I like that we don't know how supernatural this will become. I'm hoping there's more reason like The White Queen (which there is some magic in that show, but you almost get the understanding that it's still  based on logic or belief -- like religion). I could be making zero sense, but I'm just so excited to see where this whole series is going! 

The Characters

Krista: Mary Queen of Scots is obviously the lead character. I love her so much. She's come from a life secluded in the country (we see her first in a convent) and must return to court in France when it becomes too dangerous for her. 

She's strong-willed and acts like a Queen even at fifteen. But most of all, you have to love that she's down to earth with a big heart. I'm excited to see where the show takes her character. 

Becca: She's very down to earth, not whiny at all. And she's trying to fall in love, not just be married out of purpose. But she's also conscious of protecting her country. You feel as though Scotland is always in her heart. 

Krista: Reign is predominantly about the romance between Mary and Francis. And I love that this isn't an insta-love relationship. Francis is...well an ass. He's dealing with the fact that he's being forced into this marriage, and he's not taking it as easily as Mary. 

Becca: I think the creators handled the romance perfectly. It feels incredibly organic already. Francis is not willing to love Mary so easily, and that makes the romance exciting to watch. But with subtle glances, you do get the sense that these two who met at children (betrothed at only 6-years-old) have a deep connection. Those glances, like at the dance, are what swells your heart and makes you all giddy inside. They don't need to be throwing out "You're so hot, I like you. Kiss me!" If that happened, I would have shut off my tv. 

Krista: Also kudos for getting Toby Regbo. He played a young Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films. So much love <3

Becca: *gasp* I didn't realize he was young Dumbledore! Craziness. 

Krista: Next is Sebastian (but he's mostly known as Bash). He's Francis' brother...and also a bastard of the King. In the pilot, we get to know that Sebastian is the favorite son who's allowed to do things without fear of being killed. Because they don't really care if the bastard dies. 

Becca: Bash, Bash, Bash. The bastard. Just staring at a picture of him, he's not my type of guy. But let me tell you, his first scene with Mary and I was head-over-heels in love. Bash is a real contender for her affections. I adore him. And if this is a love triangle, it's going to be a really good one (that I approve of, and that rarely happens) because these two boys are dynamic and so lovely with Mary in their own right. 

Krista: I didn't really like him in the first scene he was in, but then he has a scene with Mary....yes! He's a much sweeter character than Francis, and yet there is this sinister quality to him. The layers that these characters already have from a pilot is insane! 

Becca: He is kind of sinister. There's something happening in the woods, and Bash is the one to stare at the forest like it contains death itself. He also has these looks like he's up to no good. He adds a lot to the show. Perfect casting choice and great acting here. 

Krista: Catherine de Medici is next. 

Like I already said, she's going to be the antagonist of the show. The Big Bad. For that, I think she does a good job. 

Becca: Yep, overall big bad. She's a typical snotty queen. When the royal family is introduced to Mary outside, I love how the queen steps out in front of the king and his mistress. She was all like "I am running this show, people!" The writers were brilliant to set up that scene like that by the way. We understood everyone based on how they approached Mary. Notice how Francis didn't even walk on the road. The little rebel that he is decided to walk in the grass away from his family. But Bash stayed loyal to his mother (the mistress) and his father, keeping by their side. 

Krista: My favorite sub-characters have to be the ladies in waiting, Mary's court. They are four girls, all close friends form Scotland. They're already so different, and I can see some great side plots introduced with these girls.

Becca: All of the girls are endearing. I think my favorite is the girl on the far right. She's kind of innocent and aloof. 

Krista: It's also good to note that only three of the girls have titles themselves. The girl on the far left (Greer) is in the court because of her money (much like how Catherine de Medici became Queen in the show). 

Becca: It will be interesting to see if Greer's marriage choices will be different from the other girls since she doesn't have a title. Because all the girls are there to find husbands (and take care of Mary, of course). 

Krista: We also see a HUGE side plot with Kenna. 

I'm not going to spoil it, but what happens will definitely play out through the rest of the series. 

Becca: Hmm, yeah, I want Kenna to stay away from him. But she's spunky and a bit reckless. It makes me nervous for her!

Krista: And lastly, I feel like we should talk about Nostradamus. He has visions of the future, and it's hard to tell if he's going to be good or bad. He's obviously working for Catherine de Medici, but it seems more like he's being coerced into that. 

I think is character is pretty interesting. But EW mentioned he was hot...uh...not so much. At least not as good looking as Francis and Bash. 

Becca: He's definitely not as cute as Francis or Bash, but if we're playing matchmaker, I wouldn't mind him teaming up with one of Mary's friends. I love how they show his visions (hard to explain in words, so go watch the pilot if you haven't already). He's a strong character, and I think we're going to learn more about his family as the series goes on. 


Krista: The romance is why I'll keep watching. It's an obvious love triangle between Francis-Mary-Bash. And I'm curious to see how the brothers will fare knowing they have feelings for the same girl.

I was shipping Bash and Mary until this happened...

It was all over after that. Mary's got chemistry with both guys, and that's just something you can't fake on TV. It's going to be a hell of a season.

Becca: It's seriously so hard to pick a ship. Mary has chemistry with both guys, but not in a Stefan-Elena-Damon, TVD, kind. It feels more innocent here -- real and true. There's a bit of childhood love with Francis and Mary, but there's something about Bash... you know that he would protect Mary above all else. And Francis, his attentions are split between his country. So you start liking Bash when he's there for Mary when Francis cannot be. See, it's so hard to choose! 

Production Value

Since this is also a historical show, I want to talk about continuity with actual historical events. I'm not dumb, I know girls didn't where dresses that looked straight from a modern day clothes rack or ties their hair into cute little braids. But you know what...

Seriously, this show is loads of awesome and I don't think it would be nearly as good if they had to be accurate for the time period. It's on the CW, and does a great job at bringing a contemporary feel to a historical setting. 

Becca: I agree. It's not 100 percent historically accurate. But who cares? We're watching a show on the CW with a brilliant production value. The castle? Holy crap! Have you seen these sets? They make Once Upon a Time in Wonderland look cheap and lame. Reign is believable. I believe in that castle, in those queens, and that king. And that's why I'm going to be watching every single week. 9 pm. I'll be there. 

The Ending

Krista: The ending had me swooning and begging for the next episode. There's some mystery to it as well with the gothic themes. So much love <3

Becca: Swoony, yes. This is such a promising series. I can't say enough good things about it. I don't even think I felt this way after watching the pilot to The Vampire Diaries


Krista: Fans of time-period dramas (but not people who are sticklers about historical accuracy). Any girls who obsess over great love triangles. I'd say it's for fans of The Vampire Diaries and Roswell. 

Becca: Fans of The White Queen and perhaps gothic themes. I agree with Krista, you can't be a stickler for historical accuracy like proper hair styles. Any girl who loves a good romance. Basically, all readers of YA should at least watch the pilot. It has a lot of potential. I'd even throw in fans of Gossip Girl in there. 


This is my favorite pilot this year. Hands down. From the production value to the casting to the plot. It's was spot on for the network, and it definitely is the kind of show I love. It's been a while since there's been a good romance on TV (and I'm getting sick of that love triangle in Mystic Falls). So I'll be tuning in every week for Reign. An easy A+

Becca: It has been a long, long time since I've been this excited about a CW pilot. A long time. I've been waiting for something like this for years. And now that it's here, I can only hope there are amazing things to come. Best pilot of the season. For production, acting, writing -- it receives a big A+ 


Thursdays ratings haven't come in yet, but I'll be surprised if this show preformed low. It's pretty damn good and fits the networks lineup. I see it lasting a full season at least.

Becca: Ratings just came in. It's a hard night. I'm a little nervous, to be honest. Here are the ratings: "Reign earned a 0.8 adults 18-49 rating down 33 percent from a 1.2 for the series premiere of Beauty & the Beast." Beauty is going to be cancelled this year, no doubt (that has not been announced yet). It now has a 0.4 in its time-slot. In order for Reign to stay afloat, it's going to need to hold steady at 0.8 or gain more viewers (which rarely happens after a premiere). So whoever has not watched this, start watching! 


It's time for your voices to be heard! Have you watched the episode? Are you planning on seeing it? Sound off below!


  1. This is great, I'm going to go check it out now! This probably was one of my least anticipated fall shows but after your discussion I am really keen to go see it! I love your TV pilots in review feature, because I'm in Australia so I don't get to see what's coming out on TV.

    1. You must check it out! Australia :D I love Australian tv shows. I was obsessed with Blue Water High when I could find it online.

  2. Thanks for the review. I want to watch this series so badly. :D


    1. I hope you get a chance to watch it soon! I really hope it stays on air :D

  3. So excited after reading your review! I have it on my DVR right now ... so I'll be watching it soon!

    1. I hope you love it!! The music is so good :D

  4. This sounds amazing. I planed to watch The Tomorrow People but I think I should switch to this one. I haven't seen historical in a while. And I totally agree with Krista about the clothes and everything - I honestly don't care as long as it looks it fits the period to me! We can hardly make it perfect :) Amazing review ladies :)

    1. Thanks Tanja! People were complaining about the hairstyles not being accurate. And that's just not something that would bug me at all. Their hair is pretty in braids, and that's not enough to distract me. It's like Gossip Girl + Game of Thrones. Love it!

  5. I really wasn't planning on watching this because, really, the trailer just looked awful. But after reading this I decided to give it a go and OMG it was awesome! Definitely going to be regular viewing :D

    Side note: have now downloaded Scotland, because how could I not?

    1. Yay! So glad you liked it.

      Omg, yes! That song is amazing, right? I haven't been this excited for a show since Supernatural aired.

  6. All right, they've used The Lumineers and that's one of the things that makes this show awesome. Is this series also comparable with The Tudors, because that's one of my favorite historical TV shows. I know that they romanticize everything, but the courts, dresses and pretty actors are always such a pleasure to watch :p

    1. Yes, yes, yes! The Lumineers gave me chills all the way through the show. I hope it turns into their score and it's ongoing. I've never watched The Tudors, but I've heard that it fits well too :D

  7. To be honest, I wasn't as impressed as you were. I was watching it last night and it just kinda fell short. I was hoping for a period piece that was pretty accurate, with maybe just some embellishments for the parts of Mary's history that historians don't know. After all, her life was VERY eventful as it is. But the show was so far off from accurate from the very start (she had three ladies in waiting, not four, and all were named Mary, for example, and the costumes weren't period either.), I was really disappointed. I'm glad other people like it though, it just wasn't what I was hoping for. I guess it's just not quite the right show for me!

    1. Oh no! I definitely don't think the show intends to be historically accurate that much. The CW had never done a period piece, and the network leans more towards entertainment. So I think that's why they changed things up -- to see what's going to work for television. I can see how you wouldn't like it because of that. It's going to be geared more towards people who don't mind those things. Like me. I'm not a big historical buff, so I wouldn't be able to catch the inconsistencies.

  8. Who doesn't love a hot bad guy who actually has his sweet moments?!
    I seriously want to watch this one, but there seems to be a love triangle, which I honestly can't handle. I already deal with it in books, and to have it in my shows would drive me crazy.
    I hope the show continues to be awesome for you guys! :)

    1. I think the love triangle isn't as bad as it sounds. It's definitely something that's more intriguing for me than annoying. And I generally don't like them either. I hope you at least watch the pilot just to see if you like it!