The first four episodes of the final series of Netflix’s The Crown drew mixed criticism, but many rejected it.
The royal drama’s sixth season depicts events in the late 1990s, including the death of Princess Diana.
It also includes the aftermath of her death where the ‘ghost of Diana’ appeared to Prince Charles and the Queen.
In a one-star review, The Guardian said “a Diana-obsessed series is the definition of bad writing”.
“For all its formal failures, Crown’s final period is also impossible to put down if it is placed well in living memory. Even if there was something to be involved, the memories and questions that arise in the viewer’s mind at every stage would make it impossible . ,” wrote Lucy Mangan.
“It started teetering in season three, lost balance completely over the next two seasons and is now falling into a deep abyss.”
He added that this was “despite uniformly brilliant performances from the entire cast”.
Anita Singh of The Telegraph echoed the Guardian, writing that “Netflix’s gem has hit a dead end” as the new season is “haunted by the strange ghost of Princess Diana”.
Its two-star review notes that the use of Diana’s ghost “on the plane home from Paris to cheer up the distraught Prince of Wales, and on the sofa at Balmoral to give the Queen eco-friendly advice”, ends up sounding “like desperation.” part of writer Peter Morgan” who created the hugely popular show which has been airing since 2016.
Singh also criticized the handling of the car crash scene, writing: “The chaos of Diana and Dodi’s last day in Paris is conveyed but there are no scenes in the Pont d’Alma tunnel: we cut from the sound of the crash to the sound of the phone ringing at Balmoral. All dialogue in where someone delivers the news of Diana’s death has been dubbed; their mouth moves in silence, and we focus on their reaction.
“Why do this? If it’s for reasons of taste, why does the camera capture Harry’s confused face when he says the word “no”? Good taste means leaving this scene to our imagination.”
BBC Culture’s two-star review described the final season as “a clunky, predictable end to the royal family drama” and although it was “a joy to watch over the years, too often in these predictable final seasons… we could have write the story yourself.”
Despite a four-star review from The Times, Carol Midgley noted that Diana’s haunting “isn’t the show’s finest moment” and “particularly self-defeating in a powerful and moving series of four opening episodes”.
However, the review later praised Elizabeth Debicki’s performance as Diana, calling it “extraordinary”.
“The empathy with which she describes the last eight weeks of Diana’s life and her likeness to Diana is uncanny, a head-tilting flirtatious, slightly lost and lonely soul who ends up in various swimsuits in the striking environs of Hello! magazine on Mohamed Al’s yacht Fayed.”