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“The Royals” Breathing Life Back into Soap Operas

  As a little girl, I remember many summer months seated next to my mom or grandmother watching the over-the-top antics of the glamorous characters on shows like “Days of Our Lives.” The overwrought drama, beautiful people, and preposterous storylines were like a drug and I just couldn’t get enough. But the glory days of soap operas are long behind us, and I have to admit I didn’t really notice their demise. And prime time offerings, like “Gray’s Anatomy” and “Revenge,” didn’t quite scratch the same itch as those daytime soaps from my childhood. But there’s a new kid in town that might just change all this. Enter “The Royals” E!’s new scripted series is an homage to the wonderful soaps of yesterday. This show has everything you could want in a soap – a larger-than-life setting, melodrama, death, power struggles, sex, and even a hefty dose of sequins and big hair. They kicked it off with an early death in the family, used as a catalyst to introduce the primary players and set the scene. However, the story was diluted with too many half-baked scandals to keep track of, including a sex tape, the crumbling foundation of the monarchy, and the Prince’s hot and heavy relationship with (gasp!) a commoner. The second episode starts off with a garden party to show the world that after the death of the first-born son, the royal family was getting back to normal. Which, to no one’s surprise, resulted in the princess snubbing her adoring public while smoking and gulping down champagne straight from the bottle. Not to be outdone, the prince ended up crowd surfing and putting the royal security team into a tizzy. All of this, after the queen sternly told them both to be on their best behavior. The Casting Elizabeth Hurley, playing the role of Queen Helena, is the shining star of the series. She’s a gorgeous actress with fine comedic timing and is perfect for the role. Hurley makes you believe the ruling Queen of England could be a woman who constantly wears a corset and spouts irreverent comments like, “I’m just a bitch with money and power.” While Hurley has some memorable lines, the scandals are coming from the royal twins, Eleanor (Alexandra Park) and Liam (William Moseley). Eleanor is the not-so-sweet princess featured in the afore-mentioned sex tape and splattered across the front of British tabloids flashing her royal panties for all to see. While Eleanor dabbles in drugs and soft-core porn, Liam dabbles with the ladies of the kingdom. He’s definitely more interested in getting into his subjects’ knickers than landing on the throne. Why This Show Will Be the Next Big Thing Given America’s fascination with the real royal family, it’s not a stretch to predict that this saucy series could be the next big thing. And, if the second episode is anything to go by, they are well on their way. The pace was fast, the scandals were delicious, and there was a nice dose of adultery and blackmail added to the mix. I am hopeful that “The Royals” will get its bearings and become the soapy indulgence I’ve been missing. I can’t wait to see the silly trashiness evolve into witty cat fights and backstabbing power plays that leave the audience gasping for more. There’s a very special type of shameful glee delivered in a properly done soap – and it looks like “The Royals” are on the right track to become my next guilty pleasure. Photo Credit:Paul Blundell/E! Entertainment

About the Author

Rebecca Edwards is a pop culture junkie who loves watching, reading about and riffing on her TV addiction du jour. She has been a writer for over two decades. Her current TV obsessions include "Shameless," "True Detective" and "American Horror Story."

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