For six years, “Downton Abbey” reigned as the legendary historical drama on the PBS 9:00 pm timeslot on Sunday nights. However, after six seasons, “Downton Abbey” ended in 2015, breaking the hearts of its fans. Yet, with the sad ending of this renowned TV show came another historical drama, on the cusp of greatness: “Victoria.” Those looking for a summary of the first season before watching the season finale this Sunday, March 5 should read on; otherwise, beware of spoilers.
“Victoria” tells the story of Queen Victoria I of England, not only one of the longest reigning monarchs, but also one of the most powerful English monarchs ever. Victoria’s reign was the second longest in England’s history, and she was also one of the most powerful rulers to ever hold power, controlling nearly 14.2 million square miles of land. The first season depicts the first years of her reign, from her coronation, to her marriage, and to her first child.
Jenna Coleman, who previously starred in “Captain America,” “Doctor Who,” and “Me Before You,” plays the vivacious, vibrant Queen Victoria. Coleman perfectly captures the two sides of Victoria: her strong, stubborn exterior which contrasts with her inner-self, innocent and child-like. Alongside Victoria is Lord Melbourne, her prime minister. Rupert Sewell plays Lord M—as Victoria lovingly calls him. The relationship between Lord M and Victoria is analyzed throughout the first episodes of the season—an admiration for each other which often leads to hidden and deeper feelings for each other.
Despite many fans hoping for Lord M and Victoria to begin a more intimate relationship, their hopes were dashed due to Lord M’s refusal of Victoria’s proposal and the arrival of Victoria’s cousin: Albert.
Cousin Albert is played by the brooding Tom Hughes. The instant Victoria and Albert reunite in a family party, sparks fly. Albert’s over-serious demeanor and Victoria’s lightheartedness perfectly complement each other and finally leads to their marriage– one of the few marriages at the time that actually was based on love. Unlike how Downton Abbey was able to create a parallel world between the nobility and the servants which were equally entertaining, the storyline of the servants in “Victoria” is relatively dull and not very engaging.
Nevertheless, “Victoria” does a splendid job detailing the story of Victoria’s life and her reign as queen of one of the most powerful countries in the world–a male dominated world at the time. “Victoria” not only tells a beautiful, truthful story, but also delves into the character of Victoria to prove that women can be just as powerful as men.
The season finale airs this Sunday at 9:00pm, a 2-hour event that is sure to delight.