A ‘reimagining’ of the life of Elisabeth of Bavaria, the historical drama series “The Empress” gracefully recounts the life of the Austrian monarch, who came to the throne in a modest and unexpected way. Elisabeth, known as Sisi, was just a 16-year-old free-spirited teenager who said whatever she liked and had no intention of getting married. But his fate, and that of Austria, took a major turn in the summer of 1853.
Emperor Franz Joseph I was destined to marry his cousin Helene, Elisabeth’s sister, in an arrangement devised by his mother and aunts, Sofie and Luisa respectively. But at the engagement he proposed to Elisabeth, with whom he was in love, which not only frustrated his mother’s expectations, but changed the course of history.
The first season of the six-episode, approximately one-hour series tells the story of how the couple fell in love and the beginning of their marriage, and shows Elisabeth in a maturing phase, still naive and pressured by the rigors of legal life.
Played by Devrim Lingnau, who conveys her character’s emotions in a very pure, simple and captivating way, Elisabeth is airy, dreamy and has no idea what life is like for ordinary people as a rebellion begins to rise outside the royal estates.
Franz Joseph I, played by the charming and understated Philip Froissant, is an emperor without much of a pulse, influenced by his mother and without the courage to assume positions during the war. In the background, the series tells how the royal family discarded a pair of shoes after a single use, while the people were starving outside the castle.
But the stories of royalty are always interesting and fascinate us because fate can be so generous and at the same time so cruel to the same people. In the same head on which a crown is placed, tormentors and demons also live, who are willing to torture them until their last second of life and perhaps to another dimension.
In this first season, we only see small demonstrations that Sisi’s life is not going to be easy. They manifest in her difficulty in adjusting to a methodical life where she is bound to the castle, obligations, customs and dress, and every perfect court appearance. About the jealousy he has of Francisco with Louise, his former lover. But mostly in the form of a friend, but in reality a rival, Countess Leontin. Still, Elisabeth tries to free herself from her controlling mother-in-law and her brother-in-law, who also want her.
The aesthetics and photography in the series are exquisite, showing all the luxury and splendor of the monarchy in architecture, decorations and clothing. Colorful and lively clothes, bright, spacious and filled with natural scenes also show that the life of the nobility could also be fun, secretly unruly and lively.
Of those series where you finish one episode already thirsting for the next, “The Empress” is a mix of “The Crown” and “Bridgerton.” With great chances to win another season, as there is still so much to explore in Elisabeth’s life, she has everything to be the public’s new darling for years to come.
Series: the empress
Direction: Florian Cossen and Katrin Gebbe