The Crown

The 10-episode first season of The Crown, about Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and her family—said to have cost as much as $130 million—is Netflix’s assertion of dominance in the new world order of entertainment. The Crown’s sheer sumptuousness is stunning to behold, but it also tells a surprisingly engaging tale of a family that is equally blessed and cursed by its very royalty. Beginning when Elizabeth (Claire Foy) is still a young woman, recently married to and much in love with Prince Philip (Matt Smith), the series slowly forces the weight of the crown on her head, beginning with the unexpected death of her father, King George VI (Jared Harris), and her ascension to the throne. This first of six projected 10-episode seasons portrays her as struggling to adapt to her new role while dealing with a raft of crises, including the love affair of her sister Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) with a divorced commoner, Peter Townsend (Ben Miles). She also must joust with Winston Churchill, here richly portrayed by John Lithgow. Highly recommended.