When you are the creator of Mad Men, one of the great series of recent television, which chained four Emmys to the best drama in its first four seasons, the expectations with your next creation are as high as dangerous. Because The Romanoffs it was a time bomb that could explode in the hands of Matthew Weiner. The scriptwriter had to be aware (if his ego allows it …) that expectations were going to play against him. Why The Romanoffs It is not Mad Men. We already knew it, but its first two chapters -letters from Amazon Prime Video; the remaining six will arrive week by week- they make it clear.
Weiner has allowed himself to play to do something different and has decided to have an independent story in each chapter, with different characters, settings and tones. They only have in common that at least one of the characters believes or is a descendant of the Russian royal family. The first chapter is a story in which a young French woman of Muslim origin goes to work for an arisca, proud, racist and hypochondriacal older woman also French. The second is focused on a couple whose life has fallen into routine and separately seek new emotions. The actress Marthe Keller shines in the first story, while in the second is Kerry Bishé who stands out above Corey Stoll.
Both episodes last 90 long minutes, always too many for television, be behind whoever is. The two spend the time that excessive length, with downturns in their journey, but in total, the two are entertaining, even sympathetic. They will not go down in history and they are not revolutionary, but they are not a disaster either. Of course, the anthological format will mean that we can not find a Peggy Olsen or a Joan Harris that will gain depth and grow over time. But we already said, this is not Mad Men.
The Romanoffs It is taken care of, well produced, well written, well interpreted. It's a good series, or at least that seems in its start. Having separate chapters, there will be better ones than others and there may still be pleasant surprises. But it falls into its own traps: those of the format, the duration of its chapters and those that imply being the successor of Mad Men in the career of Matthew Weiner.