Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Season 2 sets bar high for historical TV shows

Claire Oliver

Netflix has released some amazing shows this past year including the second season of “Stranger Things,” the first season of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and the much-anticipated second season of “The Crown,” starring Claire Foy as the Queen of England. 

The show’s first season was met with some pretty rave reviews. Foy stood out as a true master of her craft for creating an accurate portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II.  The first season began with the death of Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, and her ascension onto the throne in the aftermath of World War II.  The first season digs deep into the marriage between Elizabeth and her husband Phillip, but the second season, released on Dec. 8, revealed even more scandal and intrigue within the walls of the palace.    


The first season was slightly dry on scandal and sex, but the new season really heated things up.  A deeper look into Princess Margret’s life allowed for a level of sympathy from the audience.  But there was a light at the end of the tunnel when we see her connect with her future husband, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, through a scandalous photograph.   

Vanessa Kirby, who plays Princess Margret, takes on a different kind of perspective to the monarchy.  Kirby dives into the character showing her desire for a companion in life and her loneliness.  

Philip stood out from the beginning as one of the more interesting characters on the show, not only for his attitude towards the traditions within the royal family, but also for his background.  Only a few things are mentioned in the first season about where Philip came from, but audiences will know the full story when watching the new season.  They get to see the darker side of Phillip’s upbringing in Nazi Germany as well as his ties to the Third Reich through his elder sister, who perished in a plane crash when he was a little boy.  Matt Smith, who plays Philip, remained elusive and difficult to read, just as the real Philip was at the time. 

We also see the connection between father and son as Charles is sent to the same boarding school that shaped Philip into the future prince.  The difference between the two is astonishing and you cannot help but feel pity for Charles, who is not as brawny and masculine as his father is.  The young actor, Julian Baring, looks just like Charles and even has the ears to match. 

The extreme attention to detail in the costumes as well as the accuracy of each character makes the show even more interesting to watch.  The comparison between the real people and the actors in uncanny.  The internal struggle of each character is seen on screen with human accuracy.

The show has a wide range of new characters as well.  The Kennedys visit Buckingham Palace during John F. Kennedy’s presidency.  Michael C. Hall, who is well known for his portrayal of Dexter in the popular show of the same name, plays JFK.  Audiences did not receive the performance as it was hard to follow Hall’s performance.  He lacked the charm and charisma that the former President had. His wife, portrayed by Jodi Balfour, also lacked a certain poise that Jackie Kennedy Onassis was famous for. 

The best part of the show was, of course, the Queen. Foy’s performance was stunning. The progression from wife, to mother, to Queen is flawless.  It is clear that Foy went to great lengths to create the character. The struggles she faces in this season are numerous and did change the face of the British Empire forever.  This included the Suez Crisis and the declaration of independence from several of the colonies including India and Kenya. 

The show also touched on personal struggles faced by the current Queen of England, like Philip’s rumored infidelity during his royal tour in 1956.

The subtleties in Foy’s performance really shone through and made the Queen more accessible to a modern audience.  You see her struggle with getting older and dealing with other women in the public eye, like Jackie Kennedy who was admired for her beauty and finesse.  It truly made Elizabeth more human, and you can see her doubt herself despite being the leader of a nation.

Should you watch it? Yes. 


The new season is impressive and effectively handled different aspects of the Queen’s reign during the `50s and `60s.  It was a pivotal time for many nations, and the British felt the changes as much as the rest of the world.  Foy and Smith led a star-studded cast and set the bar for historical television shows. It was worth the watch and is definitely binge worthy.    

“The Crown” Season 2 is available for streaming on Netflix.   

Collegian reporter Claire Oliver can be reached at or on Twitter @claire_oliver21.