Already Binged ‘The Crown’ Season 3? Why You Should Add PBS’s ‘Victoria’ to Your To-Watch List
The Crown is one of Netflix’s most acclaimed dramas. The show has earned rave reviews — and multiple Emmys — for its take on the life of Queen Elizabeth II. And now, nearly two years after season 2 premiered, season three is finally here. All 10 episodes arrived on Netflix on November 17.
This season, Oscar-winner Olivia Colman takes over from Claire Foy as the queen, with Matt Smith passing the baton to Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip. Helena Bonham Carter plays Princess Margaret. The Crown is one of the most hotly-anticipated shows of the years, so who can blame you if you’ve already binge-watched the entire things? And if plowing through a whole season in one go has left you craving more royal drama, there’s another show you need to check out.
‘Victoria’ is another take on a famous queen
The PBS series Victoria is another take on a famous British queen: Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. She ascended the throne in 1837 at age 18 and she ruled for the next 63 years — longer than any other monarch in English history until her descendant Elizabeth surpassed her in 2015. Like The Crown, it thrusts views into the world of politics, palace intrigues, and scandals, though the dramas of the 1840s are different than those of the 1950s and 1960s.
Both ‘Victoria’ and ‘The Crown’ deal with the queen’s marriage
Both Victoria and The Crown are lavish period dramas set in the U.K. Each focuses on women thrust into a powerful role as sovereign and struggling with the fact that those around them sometimes underestimate their capabilities. And both women also have spouses who must learn to play second fiddle to their wives.
As a German, Victoria’s husband Prince Albert feels like an outsider at court and struggles to find his purpose. He eventually embraces a role as a champion of social causes and technological innovations.
‘Victoria’ star Jenna Coleman says the shows are different
“I watch The Crown because it is brilliant and I love it and it is incredibly well observed and detailed storytelling but I think it is completely different to Victoria,” the actress said. “They are completely different monarchs and it is a completely different time in Britain’s history.”
Coleman pointed out that for Victoria, becoming queen was actually freeing, as it allowed her to get out from under the thumb of her domineering mother and put her in a position where she answered to no one. Elizabeth, in contrast, had to give up some of her freedom when she became queen.
Victoria and The Crown are different in other ways. The former focuses more on the romance between Victoria and Albert. And subplots concentrate on the lives of some of the queen’s servants, which gives the show a bit of a Downton Abbey feel at times.
In other words, don’t expect an exact replica of The Crown when you tune in to Victoria. But if you’re interested in lavish dramas about the British monarchy, it’s definitely worth a watch.
Seasons 1-3 of Victoria are currently streaming on Amazon Prime and PBS Passport.
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