"THE CROWN, Season Two," Netflix, TV-MA
While “The Crown,” the award-winning Netflix series following the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II, has always been rated TV-MA, the first season was relatively mild. Most of the content that might be considered “adult” was more in the PG-13 category.
The same is not true, however, of season two, which came out Dec. 8 and has much more R-rated content. Be warned, the following contains some mild spoilers (though can you really spoil history?).
The first season of “The Crown” contains one strong expletive, which happens so quickly and quietly you can almost miss it. There are also some very realistic scenes of a lung surgery, an embalming and horse-breeding — all of which you might see in a biology class, but nothing is overly violent or sexual. Mostly, it seems to merit a TV-MA rating because its content would go over a child’s head — and probably bore that children out of their minds.
For adults, both seasons of “The Crown” are examples of nuanced, interesting and poignant historical fiction that allow audiences to learn something and feel something at the same time. The show analyzes history, government and family relationships in a powerful way — plus the British royal family is just plain fascinating, encompassing a world most of us can only dream about.
Families should then be aware that season two introduces a fair amount of nudity that might not be expected after season one. Some of this comes from Prince Philip’s trip to New Guinea, where native women went topless, which, again, is something you might see in a textbook. There is one episode in particular, though, that has explicit, sexual nudity: the episode about the future husband of Princess Margaret, Tony Armstrong-Jones.
Apparently drawn from "Snowdon," a biography by Anne De Courcy, this episode shows Armstrong-Jones’ numerous, concurrent affairs, including one with both members of a married couple, which took place before his marriage to Princess Margaret. It’s all so sordid that when the queen finds out, as portrayed in the show, she can barely stand to hear the facts, let alone repeat them to her sister.
Knowing this, you might merely skip this episode and still enjoy most of season two as is. There are a few more F-words sprinkled throughout, though most of these expletives are in the Armstrong-Jones episode as well. Some may decide this content merits skipping the show altogether, but whatever you might decide, hopefully now you won’t have to be surprised.