'Reign' review: Sex in the castle

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Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots, left,

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots, left, and Caitlin Stasey as Kenna in a scene from the new series "Reign," premiering Oct. 17, 2013. Photo Credit: AP

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WHEN | WHERE Premieres Thursday night at 9 on CW/11

REASON TO WATCH Costume dramas are cool? Who knew?

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Period pieces are all over the tube -- "The Tudors," "The Borgias," "The White Queen." And they're all about power. Hot young hunks have it / want it. Beauteous babes, ditto.

With the arrival of "Reign," those who lack premium channels like Showtime/Starz -- even those who lack historical sense of who these hotties are supposed to embody -- get their own chance at castles and lust, royal wranglings and bitter betrayal.

This CW take seems aimed at tween wannabes, still harboring childhood princess dreams yet itchily aware of burgeoning adult urges. A teenage Mary, Queen of Scotland (Adelaide Kane), is hustled off to France amid pounding modern music -- must have a marketable soundtrack -- to reacquaint herself with intended husband Dauphin Francis (Toby Regbo). Complicating their future: his mother, Catherine de' Medici (Megan Follows, from previous-generation crush "Anne of Green Gables"), with her "seer" Nostradamus (Rossif Sutherland, Kiefer's younger half-brother), vs. Francis'half-brother, the smoldering Sebastian (Torrance Coombs).

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Mary being a "beautiful and clever and unpredictable" modern Renaissance girl, she saunters 'round the castle with a quartet of BFFs -- her very own "Sex and the City" crew -- whose giggly gossip promises to "get our young queen in the game" and "enjoy the hunt." There are romantic entangle-ments, royal responsibilities, secret passageways, ghost voices, political schemes, bloody beheadings.

MY SAY Even some porn peeping! The BFFs manage to spy on a royal "consummation" (though one scene involving one girl's sexual discovery has been toned down since spring's pilot media screener).

So "Reign's" young viewers are made safer -- unless they think this pretty play actually has anything to do with history. Like, how fun, right? "Take off your shoes, c'mon, dance with me," Mary beseeches her BFFs, launching a music montage that almost makes those dreamy days of The WB live again.


BOTTOM LINE Not that I think The CW has any grasp of the mental mojo that made its WB network predecessor such a pop-culture kick. Really? This twaddle? Every single week?


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