The Crown season five reviews: Critics call for show to ‘end forever’ as viewers slam latest series

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Reviews are in for one of this year’s most eagerly anticipated television shows, The Crown (season five) and it’s safe to say critics haven’t held back their frustration.

The new season, set to drop on Netflix this Wednesday, follows the years between 1992 to 1997, covering some of the most tumultuous events the Royal Family has ever seen, including the disintegration of three out of four of the Queen’s children’s marriages, a fire at Windsor Castle, Diana’s decision to write her tell-all memoir, and the arrival of Dodi Fayed.

Despite scathing reviews, the shining light of the series appears to be Australian star Elizabeth Debicki, enlisted to play the People’s Princess, Diana.

The West Australian’s Clare Ridgen described Debicki’s performance as “astonishing”, and critics seem to agree.


The Guardian (2/5 stars)

“It’s time for this bitty, boring show to end forever.

“There are only so many times we can see the Queen, whoever she’s played by, tell a family member they can’t marry this man or must remain married to that woman.

“More than once the script resorts to an ageing, increasingly unviable edifice such as HMY Britannia, the decommissioning of which is the season’s framing device, being referred to directly in dialogue as “a metaphor”.”

Camera IconThe new season, set to drop on Netflix this Wednesday, follows the years between 1992 to 1997. Credit: Netflix/Netflix


“The new, fifth season of The Crown is the show’s weakest outing yet: A generally scattered and unfocused show is less disciplined than ever.

“There’s an unpleasant didacticism to The Crown this time around, as if, in dramatizing among the most scrutinized series of events of the late 20th century, it’s doing us a favour.”

The Crown Season 5.
Camera IconThe Crown Season 5. Credit: Netflix/Netflix

The Mirror

“Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki plays the Princess to a T, dazzling yet understated.

“Diana fans will delight in Debicki’s performance. She plays Diana, the royal outsider, perfectly – capturing her charisma, charm as well as heart-wrenching vulnerability.”

Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales.
Camera IconElizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales. Credit: Keith Bernstein/AP

The Hollywood Reporter

“Yet at a time when seemingly every tabloid saga of the past half-century is getting adapted into an Emmy-bait miniseries, The Crown distinguishes itself by doing what it’s always done best: combining clear-eyed empathy, shrewd commentary and a refreshing intellectual curiosity into ten elegant hour-long episodes.

“The Crown‘s fifth season makes the case that it’s a conversation worth having — not by condemning the royals as incomprehensible monsters, but by offering them the grace of seeing them as simply human.”

The Wire’s Dominic West join as Prince Charles.
Camera IconThe Wire’s Dominic West join as Prince Charles. Credit: Netflix/Netflix

Rolling Stone

“It becomes difficult for any one story to maintain the necessary momentum, especially since the show as usual leaps forward months or even years from one hour to the next.

“Season Five continues the ongoing discussion about the struggle between royal traditions and the demands of modernity. But it almost feels meta now that the new episodes are taking place in a time that resembles our own far more than the Foy and Colman seasons did.”

The series covers some of the most tumultuous events the Royal Family has ever seen.
Camera IconThe series covers some of the most tumultuous events the Royal Family has ever seen. Credit: Photo Credit: Keith Bernstein/Keith Bernstein

BBC (3/5 stars)

“This series, when it hits its stride in the second half at least, is compelling as soap opera. It now feels hermetic and insular, at once a family psychodrama and the story of an institution contending with internal dysfunction.

“While there had been some speculation that this current series might prove the very worst of PR for the new King, in fact, on top of championing his progressive values and work with The Prince’s Trust, its arbitration of the Wales’ marriage feels very equitable.

The Crown Season 5. Netflix
Camera IconThe Crown Season 5. Netflix Credit: Netflix/Netflix


“In Season 5 of The Crown, one unifying theme stands out — being royalty is not a good time.

“While Season 5 doesn’t make Diana out to be a monster, it’s also starkly supportive of the man recently crowned in real life as King Charles III.

“While the past is very present, the show’s increasing progress towards the modern era — including new modern attitudes towards the monarchy — ensures that the future seems very close.

The Crown Season 5. Keith Bernstein
Camera IconThe Crown Season 5. Keith Bernstein Credit: Keith Bernstein/Netflix

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