The worst series of the week

The Crown season 6 review: retelling Diana's death — a suicide mission for Netflix?


The princess eclipses mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth II in the final instalment of the drama

Emma Corrin as Diana Spencer in season four of 'The Crown'.
Emma Corrin as Diana Spencer in season four of 'The Crown'.NETFLIX

Peter Morgan knew he was walking headfirst into a minefield. He had to know it. The creator of Netflix's The Crown was well aware that, as his series drew closer to Lady Di's death, the chances of messing it up increased tenfold. Many viewers won't tolerate any challenge to their views about Princess Diana. But how could he not try? Yet it's impossible: you can't go against Diana's memory.Perhaps you can't, quite literally: as a character, Diana is shallow and unremarkable. Her aura and symbolism are strong, but her story is simple and her personality likely followed suit. It's a situation where either nothing substantial happens or everything goes awry.

The first instalment of the sixth and final season of The Crown is all about Diana. Undoubtedly so. It's a no-brainer. What other choice did Peter Morgan have but to surprise us with a fresh take where Diana isn't the protagonist? Of course, Diana isn't the main character in The Crown, but in this final stretch of the series (which, in my opinion, is the best in all of Netflix's catalog), Peter Morgan couldn't, or wouldn't, sidestep making her one.

More challenges awaited: Elizabeth Debicki, portraying Diana in seasons five and six, delivers a stellar performance, making the script her own, while Imelda Staunton, taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from the remarkable Claire Foy and Olivia Colman, doesn't have much material to delve into. Retelling Diana's death without Diana and through her mother-in-law isn't straightforward. Besides, Peter Morgan had already done it in The Queen, another masterpiece. On the other hand, as my friend Isabel Vázquez said the other day, "when you say that it's awful, that it's a disaster, that the series is has gone massively downhill, what exactly are you comparing it to?".

What weighs most heavily on The Crown is not being as good as The Crown. Just as the fictional Diana struggles to match the real Diana's legend. If that was the goal for Peter Morgan and Elizabeth Debicki, their series succeeds. Debicki captures the princess's calculated gestures, and the screenplay places her in the center of a dark fairy tale with a remarkably focused purpose, despite its frequent retelling.

If only all bad series (indeed, all bad Netflix series) were as 'bad' as the latest installment of The Crown. Peter Morgan has set a high bar. Only he could have emerged unscathed from the challenge of portraying Lady Di. It's a suicide mission because no one wants to upset fans (yes, they're that passionate) of Diana Spencer. Like the pop star she seemed to be, Diana is more of a collective projection than a person. Her influence rivaled even the Queen's. She was an ordinary woman (perhaps, mundane) turned into an untamed and flawless legend. Diana outshone the Queen. She's also outshone The Crown.

Read the original review in Spanish here.