Still Star-Crossed tells the story of Verona after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, the hour long drama unpeeling loyalties, secret romances and boob crushing corsets.
The first episode picks up halfway through the classic Shakespeare play during the secret wedding between Romeo and Juliet, both are gorgeous, the perfectly cast doomed romantic lovers.
Rosaline, the unseen character in the play is now Juliet’s cousin. Lashana Lynch is most definitely a bright spot as a leading character, as an orphan placed into the Capulet’s family she also doubles up as the Nurse from the original play. She keeps her mouth shut as Juliet Capulet’s mother treats her with distain and is focused on ensuring her sister’s future so she can run off and join a nunnery.
As we see the daily lives of those in Verona a couple of the smaller moments irking me. Accents are always an awkward one in American verisons of European shows, with RP English being the catch-all for medieval dramas even in Italy.
Politics are the main focus of the episode, introducing a new dynamic to the play, the addition of the Prince’s ruling family and allusions to real world threats (Medici, anyone?) it sets the groundwork for a political drama. Although at the moment I’m still trying to size up how the series is going to go.
With it’s young attractive cast and tenatitive literature link I think this show could have easily been snapped up by the CW with a Jenner or an ex Disney star cast in the lead. But I think Rosaline manages to bridge the gap between the romantic attributes and the conflicts of the surrounding city.
Most of the episode follows the second half of the play with the fight causing the death of Tybalt and Mercutio, Romeo gets sentenced to death and the whole poison and the dagger sitch happens.
I’m sorted of disappointed that there wasn’t a bigger twist on the original play within the first episode as it’s a jumping off point for something more sinister. As it seems that Mr. Montague had been trying to orchestrate the marriage from the beginning in order to strengthen his own house.
Rosaline is then paired with Benvolio as a way to mend the broken ties between the two houses and thus another secret relationship is revealed.
Overall, I feel like Still Star-Crossed could have opened with the funeral of Romeo + Juliet and worked it’s way back with flashbacks, I could have happily dived into the chaos of the end of the play and seen what happened with the relationships after the fact.