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Reign (TV series)

Genre Historical fantasy
Created by Laurie McCarthy
Stephanie SenGupta
Opening theme "Scotland" by The Lumineers
Composer(s) Trevor Morris
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 44 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s)
Original channel The CW
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original release October 17, 2013 (2013-10-17) – present
External links
Official website

Reign is an American historical fantasy romance television series following the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots living in France.[1] The series, created by Stephanie SenGupta and Laurie McCarthy, airs on The CW and premiered as part of the 2013–14 American television season.[2][3][4] The leading roles are played by a combination of Australian, Canadian, English and New Zealander actors. Despite the show's subject matter, there are no Scottish or French actors in the main cast (though Adelaide Kane is of Scottish descent), and the show has yet to air in the UK.

On February 13, 2014, The CW renewed the series for a second season,[5] which premiered on October 2, 2014. On January 11, 2015, The CW renewed the series for a third season.[6]

Series overview

The highly fictionalized series follows the early exploits of Mary, Queen of Scots during her years living in France. 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 from Francis' bastard half-brother, Bash. Francis' mother, Catherine de' Medici, secretly tries to prevent the marriage following Nostradamus's confidential prediction that the marriage will lead to Francis' 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 court.

Opening narration for Season 1 (episodes 2-11):

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.


Cast and characters

Main cast

Actor Role Seasons
1 2 3
Adelaide Kane Mary, Queen of Scots Main
Megan Follows Catherine de' Medici Main
Torrance Coombs Sebastian "Bash" Main
Toby Regbo Francis II of France Main
Celina Sinden Greer Main
Anna Popplewell Lola Main
Caitlin Stasey Kenna Main
Alan van Sprang Henry II of France Main Recurring
Jenessa Grant Aylee Main
Jonathan Keltz Leith Bayard Recurring Main
Rossif Sutherland Nostradamus Recurring Main
Sean Teale Louis, Prince of Condé Main
Craig Parker Stéphane Narcisse Main
Rose Williams Claude of France Main
Rachel Skarsten Elizabeth I of England Guest Main

Recurring cast

Actor Role Seasons
1 2
Michael Therriault Aloysius Castleroy Recurring
Anna Walton Diane de Poitiers Recurring Guest
Katie Boland Clarissa Recurring Guest
Gil Darnell Christian, Duke of Guise Recurring Guest
Yael Grobglas Olivia D'Amencourt Recurring
Kathryn Prescott Penelope Recurring
Giacomo Gianniotti "Lord Julien"/Remy Recurring
Ben Aldridge Antoine of Navarre Recurring
Vince Nappo Renaude Recurring
Alexandra Ordolis Delphine Recurring

Notable guests

Development and production


In 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.[7] 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".[8] 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.[9] On February 9, 2013, it was announced that Australian actress Adelaide Kane would be playing the main character.[10]

Showrunner McCarthy describes the show as deliberately taking liberties with history, and that it's more "entertainment" than history,[11] while actress Anna Popplewell refers to the show as "fantasy history", exploring the characters in hypothetical situations.[12] Actress Megan Follows describes the show as "24 for the pre-Renaissance", as they may extend historical events over a longer period of time.[13] McCarthy adds 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.[14] Among the creative choices is the use of modern music in the show soundtrack, and its costumes.[14] 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.[15] 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.


Kane auditioned when she was filming a recurring role on the third season of MTV TV series Teen Wolf. When Kane got the part, the Teen Wolf writers wrote her character leaving the series.[16] Kane is part Scottish on her mother's side, and did research on the historical Mary Stuart in preparing for the role.[11] Torrance Coombs was announced as having been cast as Sebastian, one of the leading characters, in March 2013.[17] Sebastian is an original character created for the show, so Coombs didn't have as much research in preparation for the role, though he faced the challenge of changing his performance from that in The Tudors, another historical TV series he'd been involved in.[18][19] Alan Van Sprang, who was cast as Henry II of France, modeled his performance after Bill Clinton.[20] In November 2013, Amy Brenneman was announced as having been cast as Mary Stuart's mother, Mary de Guise, a role that initially went to Brenneman's Private Practice co-star Kate Walsh, who was unable to commit due to conflicting filming commitments.[21][22] Toby Regbo was cast as Dauphin Francis in March 2013. On March 10, 2015, it was announced that Rachel Skarsten has been cast as Queen Elizabeth, a role that is planned to debut in season two and become a regular in season three.[23] Showrunner McCarthy described the addition of Elizabeth expands the scope of the series, and that she will be part of season three's focus on the show's three queens.[23]


A large part of the filming for the first season took place in Toronto, Canada and Ireland.[20][24][25]

Editing for sexual content

The show's pilot was distributed on May 20, 2013 to advertisers and critics for promotion and to generate hype.[26] The pilot was edited before its final airing on October 13, trimming the sexual content of the scene where Kenna masturbates after witnessing a bedding ceremony.[27][28] A later episode of the season, 1.13 "The Consummation", has two versions: an on-air cut for television broadcast, and an online streaming version with additional sexual content that was made available on the CW's website a few hours later.[29] This action was criticized by the Parents Television Council for putting sexual content online "where presumably children will be able to watch them with no rating or blocking capability".[30]


Reign was announced on The CW's 2013 autumn line-up on May 10, 2013, placing it in the Thursday timeslot following The Vampire Diaries, its biggest hit in young women demographic.[2][3] The show had its series premiere on October 17, 2013, in the U.S.[31] In Canada, the series airs a day earlier on M3,[32] in simulcast with The CW on CTV Two, and in reruns on E! Canada.[33]

In New Zealand, Prime premiered the show Thursdays at 9:30 p.m., starting November 21, 2013. In the Philippines, Reign is scheduled to broadcast on ETC starting May 30, 2014. In Croatia, Reign is scheduled for Sunday evening on HRT 1 at 10:00 pm.[34] In Australia, Reign was originally scheduled to premiere on Eleven,[35] but premiered on Fox8 on August 5, 2014.[36] In the Middle East, it is aired on MBC4 at 10:00pm every Friday. Reign started to air in Romania in Fall 2014, on AXN Spin. Reign has yet to be broadcast in the United Kingdom.

In the Republic of Ireland the show broadcasts in the early mornings on RTÉ2 each Thursday at 02:15.[37]


Response to the show has been mixed, with various critics highlighting the show's focus on romance and teenage drama instead of historical accuracy. A number of reviewers have compared it to Gossip Girl, with similar emphasis on fashion, drama, and soap opera antics.[38][39][40][41] The review of the pilot by The New York Times described Reign a strong candidate as a "camp classic", calling it fun and acknowledging its historical inaccuracies.[42] The reviewer of The A.V. Club described the show as "an alternate-universe fanfiction than anything pretending to approach history", calling the show camp and fun.[38] The Miami Herald describes the show's opening episodes as "surprisingly entertaining", with Adelaide Kane's portrayal of Mary as "a teenager with a dawning realization that her royal caprices can have unexpectedly grim consequences offers an interesting take on the traditional coming-of-age story".[39] The review of Flavorwire described the show as "fantastical princess wish-fulfilment", a guilty pleasure that is relaxing to watch, and that its historical inaccuracy is to its advantage: "There is something about abandoning all pretense of authenticity that gives this story a lightness it badly needs; dead-seriousness just isn’t something that plays all that well at the moment."[43] Community Voices highlighted Reign as an interesting departure from The CW's other shows, but describes it as stuck in a rut, making it difficult to sustain a show that's "built on a binary premise: either Mary and Francis are coming together or they are drifting apart."[41] A review by a The Los Angeles Times critic is more critical, saying that the "sexed-up version of high school with horses" show "does not deserve" its main character, who is described as a "The Princess Diaries knock-off", but acknowledges that the show is self-aware of its position as a guilty pleasure.[44] USA Today is also critical, describing the show as anachronistic and "dumbing down" history for the sake of entertainment.[40]

Awards and accolades

Awards and accolades for Reign
Year Result Award Category Recipients
2015 Nominated Golden Maple Awards[45] Best Actor in a TV series broadcasted in US Torrance Coombs & Jonathan Keltz
Nominated Canadian Screen Awards Best Achievement in Make-Up Consummation
Jenny Arbour, Linda Preston
Nominated Canadian Screen Awards[46] Shaw Media Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role Megan Follows
2014 Won People's Choice Awards Favorite New TV Drama Reign
Nominated Monte-Carlo Television Festival Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Torrance Coombs
Nominated Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Adelaide Kane
Nominated Teen Choice Awards[47] Choice TV: Breakout Show Reign
Nominated Choice TV: Female Breakout Star Adelaide Kane
Nominated Choice TV: Male Breakout Star Toby Regbo
Nominated The Joey Awards[48] Young Actress age 9 or younger in a TV Series Drama or Comedy Guest Starring or Principal Role Vanessa Carter
Won Hollywood Post Alliance Awards[49] Outstanding Color Grading – Television Pilot
David Cole - Modern VideoFilm


Season Timeslot (ET) No. of
Premiered Ended TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere viewers
(in millions)
Date Finale viewers
(in millions)
1 Thursday 9:00 PM 22 October 17, 2013 (2013-10-17) 1.98[50] May 15, 2014 (2014-05-15) 1.24[51] 2013–2014 #158[3] 1.94[3] 0.9/3
2 22 October 2, 2014 (2014-10-02) 1.01[52] May 14, 2015 (2015-05-14) 0.83[53] 2014–2015 #174[3] 1.67[3] 0.6/2

Home media releases

Complete Season DVD/Blu-ray Release dates Additional info
Region 1/A Region 2/B Region 4/C
1 September 23, 2014[54] TBA January 14, 2015[55] Deleted Scenes
Two featurettes:
- The Making of a Queen
- The Authenticity of Reign: Recreating the 16th Century

Other media


Novels based on the series have also been published.

Title Author Published Publisher Type ISBN
Darkness Rises[56] Lily Blake May 20, 2014 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Digital Short Story ISBN 978-0-31-629611-3
The Prophecy[57] Lily Blake September 23, 2014 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Novel ISBN 978-0-31-633459-4
The Haunting[58] Lily Blake December 9, 2014 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers E-Novella ISBN 978-0-31-633455-6
Hysteria[59] Lily Blake May 12, 2015 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Novel ISBN 978-0-31-633462-4
TBA[60] Lily Blake November 3, 2015 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Novel ISBN 978-0-31-633464-8


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External links