I love this show. The writing, the casting, the acting, the production are all fantastic. But whether you love it or not, I’d suggest you must respect the quality.
What I want to focus on here is — why this show could go on forever — why The Crown is a story machine that can crank for a very long time.
In this “new” world of TV, where it seems like all the “old” rules of TV have been smashed, this show has followed one of the cardinal rules of old TV — a central conflict that can NEVER be resolved, and can manifest itself in an almost infinite number of ways (OK, not infinite, but a ton of ways). In any case, read a show that can last for five to seven years (and in the days of old, go into syndication). I’m guessing Netflix doesn’t care about syndication, but I’m sure they’re happy to have a show that can keep producing award-winning TV that makes people want to continue to subscribe to their service year after year.
Wonderfully, this central conflict that can never be resolved is all in the title — The Crown. The Crown is the conflict, or wearing it is. This is the central conflict of the show embodied in Claire Foy’s character — The Queen. It is the never ending conflict between her obligations as the Queen and her personal desires. For example … just watch any of the shows. Of course there are other storylines, but that central conflict is always there — the queen’s desires regarding herself, her sister, her husband, and her family versus her obligations as queen.
And because being the queen is so restrictive, her ability to get what she wants personally becomes very difficult — so there is always a strong conflict. And because she takes being queen seriously, her obligations as queen almost always win out, and we see her suffer, and persevere. Story-wise — this is beautiful.
So, I say to myself, and to you — if you want to write a great TV show, do that.
Photograph: Brook on the Mountain