Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Young Royals is a predictable but well written foray into the trials and tribulations of young love. Specifically, the show hones in on same sex relationships and the conflicted feelings and ideas that can come from that.
To make things more complicated, the show throws in a curveball in the shape of its main protagonist, Prince Wilhelm. As a royal Prince in waiting, a certain expectation is required of him. He needs to be perfect in front of the camera, and at least have a good excuse lined up if he’s not. It’s certainly not an easy life.
All of this begins when Prince Wilhelm is thrust into a new boarding school called Hillerska after a scandalous video of him fighting in a nightclub does the rounds.
With Wilhelm shacked up at school, he meets a range of different students – some more influential than others. At the core of this is August, the big cheese around campus and the one who takes Wilhelm under his wing to make sure he doesn’t mess with the “wrong sort”. Well, that “wrong sort” happens to be beautiful singer and fellow student Simon. As one may expect from this set-up, Wilhelm ignores August’s request.
The first few chapters work to introduce all of our characters before eventually throwing in our forbidden romance angle. Simon and Wilhelm have clear chemistry together and they embark on a whirlwind romance that essentially consumes the six episodes.
In order to fill the run-time though, Young Royals also dabbles with a couple of other sub-plots to mixed effect. Because of the chemistry between Simon and Wilhelm, the other characters fail to really match them with their stories.
There’s a sort of half-baked love triangle here between Simon’s sister Sara and Wilhelm’s pre-school friend Felice, with August tucked in the middle of these two. However, the show never dives in deeper than the surface level ideas with this and it ultimately falls flat.
The first half of the show does feel like it slips into cliched waters at times. The first few episodes are particularly guilty of this, with characters like August feeling like the “rich kid” archetype. However, given time he does actually have a lot more going on and there’s genuine reasons to explain why he is the way that he is.
Likewise, Simon and Wilhelm both have individual subplots here alongside their romance which involve their families. I won’t dive too deeply into this for spoiler purposes. Suffice to say, it definitely works well to make this character-driven drama deeper than its predictable story would have you believe.
While Young Royals holds no surprises, it is a well written foray into the trials and tribulations of same sex romance. The ending is left open for a follow-up, although the dreaded Netflix cliffhanger doesn’t make an appearance which is good. The unique angle into LGBTQ+ issues, coupled with some cracking chemistry between its lead pair, make this an easy recommendation.
Young Royals launches on Netflix worldwide 1st July 2021!
Verdict - 7/10