Critical Condition: The Romanoffs

The Romanoffs | Amazon Prime, from Friday


➢➢ “Early word on his new anthology was that Jeff Bezos sent down a thundercloud of million-dollar bills and no obvious network notes. So Romanoffs is the kind of TV series that used to exist in only in magical realist novels: Eight episodes, with all different casts, shot on multiple Earth continents, with a let’s-say-conceptual narrative about contemporary people claiming royal Russian ancestry …  The three Romanoffs episodes sent for review all run feature-length. Those episodes are sweet, beautiful to look at, very sincere, kinda dopey: neither armageddon nor second coming.” — Entertainment Weekly.

➢➢ “Matthew Weiner’s grand return to television for the first time since his Emmy award-winning Mad Men went off the air in 2015 is unfortunately nowhere near the calibre of that period drama. Wiener brings quite a few Mad Men stars to his new project — Christina Hendricks and John Slattery star in their episodes — but those turns only serve to remind you how great they are on their other projects rather than draw you into the storyline of The Romanoffs … The show falls prey to all of the pitfalls of making an anthology series, particularly one that resets every episode rather than every season like American Horror Story.” — TV Guide.

➢➢ “The stories overlap superficially with talk of ancestry, missing Fabergé eggs and the family legacy itself … But what primarily links them is the same sense of existential confusion and dread that fueled many of the best Mad Men stories. Whether they have a true claim to the Russian throne or not, all these people feel cast out of the life they thought they should have inherited, unsure of what to do with the one they got instead.” — Rolling Stone.

➢➢ “Each episode was directed by Weiner, who also wrote or co-wrote six, with the other two coming from established Mad Men veterans Semi Chellas and Andre and Maria Jacquemetton. A few Easter eggs connect some of the segments, but there’s no cohesive ongoing narrative or structure or tone or location in the globetrotting series … Each episode offers something different, each has different strengths and flaws and each requires at least some amount of tolerance — be it for quirk, whimsy or pretension; one critic’s can’t-miss gem will be another’s quit-after-10-minutes chore.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

➢➢ “While the production team has done fine work, from the elegant costuming to lush real-world locations, these episodes don’t deserve their length, especially with Weiner’s uninspired framings and tepid pacing … The Romanoffs provides an irrefutable defensce of its bad men and shows contempt for some of its most prominent women, without providing meaningful reasons for either. If these episodes find The Romanoffs putting its best foot forward, then it’s best not to keep step.” — IndieWire.

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