I made a joke when we started this project that anxiety and rage aside, I was hopeful for the next season of The Crown. It’s something to look forward to, right? Premiering just two-ish weeks after (god willing) the end of the longest and most unnerving election of our lifetimes, this season will feature—gasp—a young Princess Diana and—double gasp—The Wedding.
And yet, I don’t know why I even brought up this show to my colleagues. To be honest, I don’t even really like The Crown very much. Yes, I’ve seen every episode over the last four years, from Queen Elizabeth’s (kind of) touching relationship with Winston to Princess Margaret’s sordid (kind of) affair with the much younger Roddy Llewellyn. But as anyone who knows me will confirm, I watch a lot of TV and the bar these days is even lower than normal. (Hi, Elite.) I get that the royal series is more or less universally acclaimed and the acting is great and the casting is inspired and the costumes are striking and yada yada yada…but let’s face it, it’s also incredibly, often mind-numbingly boring.
As if it were in on the joke, the trailer for the new season actually opens up with the ominous, slow ticking of a clock, ready to lull you to sleep before it even starts.
Upon further reflection, though, I realize the tedium actually is why season 4 of The Crown makes me hopeful. The tedium is the appeal. I know it’s a show based on the very real lives of complex, privileged, occasionally glamorous, often scandalous people who are honestly anything but boring—as evidenced by an entire ecosystem of tabloids that mercilessly exploit their missteps. But by recreating stories whose ending is already known—at such a stately pace! Listen to those accents!—I feel calm, finding a measure of peace in contrast to our current whiplash and shitty pandemic- and Trump-wrecked lives.
Plus…the costumes. —Amanda Silverman