Shows about the imperial culture are not new. Every now and then, we see the royal western past in films and web series. Yes, such depictions are becoming lesser by the day, but the advent of OTT platforms has become a boon.
The tales of Kings and Queens have dominated folklores across the globe. Recently, Netflix released The Empress, a new German series. It is a romantic story with a political premise. Six episodes long, the show spans a little under six hours.
Is it worth your time? Read my The Empress review to find out.
The Empress Review Summary
Not all political shows are captivating and romantic at the same time. However, The Empress achieves the feat through its well-crafted storyline. Below is my full review of this German show, now streaming on Netflix.
The Empress Synopsis
A country girl finds her at the center of attraction after she is chosen by the Emperor of Habsburg as his wife. The Empress revolves around her experience at the royal palace and how she deals with the sour challenges of being an empress.
Furthermore, the show sheds light on the traditional customs forced on newly married women, even in court.
Created by Katharina Eyssen, The Empress stars Devrim Lingnau (Elisabeth), Philip Froissant (Franz), Melika Foroutan (Sophie), Johannes Nussbaum (Maximilian), Elisa Schlott (Helene), Jordis Triebel, and Almila Bagriacik (Leontine), among others in lead roles.
What Works for The Empress?
The Empress has a story that makes you think, question, and, to some extent, introspect. The emotional aspects work well, and though the tale is not interlinked or layered, it never feels drabby. You will be curious about what’s coming up next in the story.
Furthermore, the makers don’t rush anything and give ample time for the events to unfold realistically. I just feel that the backstories could have been made more impactful somehow.
Each character in The Empress is given a distinct outline, which is nothing out of the ordinary. What is noticeable is the time they get to utilize the opportunity. Not only the lead pair of Elisabeth and Franz but also the countesses have their share of screen space.
Elisabeth felt a bit like Marina Quiroga of A Private Affair. However, she elevates very slowly when compared to the latter. I will discuss the prominent performances in the last part of my The Empress review.
The Royal Setup
Creating an empire in times of war is not exactly easy. Though the upside of technology helps a fair share in achieving that, it is still a tough nut to crack. The towns, the language, the music, the interactions, everything contributes to ameliorating the essence of The Empress.
You will find the sets perfectly suited for an ancient political drama. Added to it is the subtly creepy background score. Moreover, the actions of the characters speak a lot about the detailing the makers have carried through.
The Emotional Pitch
Mostly, The Empress is an intimate affair with sparkles of sarcasm. As a result, many emotionally intense scenes provoke varied feelings. You might feel angry, devastated, or even sad at times due to the pitch the show manages to present.
Devrim Lingnau as Elisabeth conquers a volatile character with vigor. She varies the pace of her act as and when required. You will like her onscreen congeniality and facial bonhomie. How she mixes joyousness with intensity on occasions is brilliance at its peak. Elisabeth will rise further in season two of The Empress.
Philip Froissant plays Franz in this German series. The best part about his performance is how he holds his emotional facial expressions. With small bits of movement, Philip ensures nothing goes awry. You will be engrossed in his act, specifically because Franz is an imperfect ruler who has the vision but not the required determination.
Melika Foroutan, as Sophie, is a character you cannot judge simply based on her outlook. She has the depth, caliber, and fierceness to change the course of the game. Melika brings the best out of Sophie, primarily through the dialogues.
Johannes Nussbaum plays Maximilian and surprises with a brilliant outing. His multifaceted demonstration of skills is devouring and sustainable. Moreover, the gray shade he adds to his expressions proves to be the point of cultivation. Nussbaum’s hairstyle, body language, and his ability to attract attention come out really well in The Empress.
Elisa Schlott appears in an unspecified cameo role in the German show. She plays Helene, the sister of Elisabeth, and adds the initial upliftment The Empress needed to create captivation.
Almila Bagriacik as Leontine grows with time in a conserved role. Her first sight gives an impression of Leontine being a calm-headed and shrewd personality. Eventually, the crescendo of Almila’s performance hooks you to the screen.
What Doesn’t Work for The Empress?
Slow Middle Phase
I found The Empress a tad on the slower side during the middle phase. Though it’s minimal, the speed does affect it, considering the show only has six episodes. The experience would have been much better if the pace had corroborated the short length.
Undoubtedly, The Empress should be watched. It is one of those rare shows that gets the ending right. As mentioned above, you will love most of it, barring a few pace issues.
Will there be The Empress season 2?
Yes, there will be a second season of The Empress. However, no official date has been announced yet.