The Crown - Netflix to spend a king's ransom (2016) on QE2

Netflix has started production on The Crown, a 6-season 60-episode series about Queen Elizabeth II, reportedly budgeting nearly $160 million for it. Claire Foy will play the Queen for the first two seasons (the first of which starts in 1947 on her wedding day), then it’s not known if they will get a new actress or whatever.

— Alan

John Lithhgow will play Sir Winston Churchill

That’s all I need. I’m in.

$160 million is quite low for 60 episodes of television. They shelled out $100 million for 26 episodes of House of Cards, for instance, and roughly $10 million per episode of Marco Polo.

Yea that’s not much at all for a modern TV show. Committing to six seasons up front is allot though.

I never would have guessed that, but I know so little about the business of television. I’ve just always thought of television as the cheaper bastardized version of movies, so obviously it doesn’t cost as much. But, yeah, that figure makes sense. When you think about it, that’s 60 hours of content for $160 million. A movie spends that to produce just two hours of content.


In comparison, the 50 episodes of Game of Thrones thus far had cost HBO somewhere around $300-$400 million.

How can they figure there’ll be sustained interest in the subject (heh) for that long? Assuming most of the money is already spent or otherwise committed, and it turns out to be a flop, I guess they cancel, say, seasons 3-6, ending up with 24 comparatively expensive episodes? Maybe they have “unless it tanks” clauses in the contracts.

I do like that more American productions are trying out the “higher quality, shorter season” model. But has anyone committed to six seasons of a new series before?

I can’t believe that’s been true for a a couple of years now. The long format a show is just so much more engaging than most films, that besides be block buster action films with budgets that networks can’t match are the only thing I bother when it comes to movies. Everything else, the television season just does so much better.

It’s definitely unusual to commit to any series for that long, even an extension, though of course the actors are not committed to that length of time.

As for the budget, okay so other shows garner more, but I have a feeling this is more of a downpayment and not the whole budget. You can’t project out 6 years’ worth of costs like that and generally hit on budget (not usually for the entertainment industry).

— Alan

What an absurd statement, especially when so much television – even good television – is just filler, where the narrative is specifically engineered to get you to come back after the commercial or for the next episode. Television is fine and all, and it’s getting better, but the creative elements are so much more affected by the financial realities than film. Or maybe you can point me to the thriving indie television scene?

They’re two different media, each with their own strengths. Saying television does everything better than film except for blockbuster action is like saying novels do everything better than short stories except for being harder to carry around.


Well, you were talking about money, so that seems to exclude indie television, but there are more than a few series made on a shoe string budget that is made exusively for the internet that is pretty compelling. Community comes to mind, and the TWIT network is entire line up of shows produced for the internet exclusively, although that is primarily tech journalism.
If you havent listened to The Thrilling Adventure Hour, which in part follows adventures of Sparks Nevada, than you are missing out.
All of those are quite indie, and produced in a series.

Shows like the Flash show how a story can be well told over a course of a several hours and really get into the character motivation and universe. Something that is tough to do in films because there is too much necessary information missing.

In fact, scifi and fantasy might work best with mini series that can really open up the universe to the audience. I am really looking forward to the series based on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

With on demand television and high quality televisions, I really think that the truly interesting things are going be online or the small screen.

Just a thought. Television episodes are great for telling short stories but now with season long arks, they can also tell more difficult and complex stories as well. They really can have there cake and eat it. Movies like Marvel and Star Wars are the only series that seem to have ability to tell a longer story, but than you are waiting years for it complete the story.

I think TV is way better than film these days, and probably has been for a while. I dont give a shit about movies, and that has not always been the case. But now anything I want to watch on the big screen I wait til it comes out on the small screen, unless my wife drags me to the theater. I cant remember the last movie I just had to watch in the theater. On the other hand I have many TV shows that are appointment viewing for me, even if I time shift them by 15 minutes or so.

Aside from that, I am just more excited about TV shows in general, than films.

I see it as a common statement from actors these days in many interviews. They almost universally say TV story telling and characters are more interesting than most movies. It’s not a 100 percent but there is a reason the term “Golden Age” of TV is tossed around and so many networks are producing original content that never did before. I have a ever expanding que of shows to someday watch on services like Netflix and Amazon Instant.

The Godfather, James Bond, Twilight, Harry Potter, and Boyhood have nothing on the compelling ongoing sagas that wowed everyone in Revenge of the Sith and Ant-Man!

Sure. I absolutely get why some people prefer television to movies. I know about television enough to know it’s probably better now than it’s ever been, and not just for the convenience you’re talking about. But you really have to be willfully ignorant to claim that television is just inherently better at everything. Movies have such an edge when it comes to the kind of talent that only money can buy, or that only an independent industry can reveal. And whereas some people might prefer drawn-out storylines, even if there’s filler involved and even if it’s narratively jiggered to keep the audience coming back, there’s a unique power to being transported through a self-contained experience in 90 minutes directed by a single person (if you think having a single director isn’t important, contrast this season of True Detective with last season). And it’s not just a matter of television losing focus over the long haul. In movies, you get an intensity that television takes much longer to try to rival. The Red Wedding and Sophie in the barn were powerful scenes earned by the long hours that preceded them, but in terms of raw power, they can’t hold a candle to the beach scene in Under the Skin, the final confrontation in The Rover, or Tom Hardy on the phone to his son in Locke. And those are just from last year.

Also, if you don’t go to the movies anymore, you probably don’t appreciate the power of being completely removed from everything familiar and distracting, where only you and the movie exist in a dark room. Those of us who still go to movies cherish that. It’s a unique dynamic that – no joke – isn’t that far removed from what some people look for when they go to church. Someplace separate. Someplace sacred, in the sense of being separate from the mundane. Granted, this isn’t a perspective everyone shares, but neither is your preference for convenience. It’s a subjective preference, but it gives lie to legowarrior’s assertion that “television does everything better”.

Ha, actors love television! They have so many reasons to prefer it to movies. But that says less about any sort of inherent quality and more about the steady, convenient, and relatively lucrative work television provides actors.

By the way, one of the reasons television is getting better is because it’s attracting more celebrity level acting talent, the type of talent that was previously associated with movies. It’s a very different scene now than it was when I was lucky enough to get a couple of jobs on television myself. Even the smaller speaking roles are going to “names” these days, especially on the more successful shows. For instance, I can’t believe the actors that show up in bit parts on Modern Family. Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Zahn, Leslie Mann, Elizabeth Banks, Matt Dillon, Tim Blake Nelson, Edward Norton, Ellen Barkin. If I was trying to do now what I was doing ten years ago, I would be completely out of luck! It’s been fascinating to watch that change, both as a viewer and as a guy who is still friends with some working actors who are edged out of work by relatively famous people.


So it’s 60 hours of Veep, minus the comedy?

<reads the article> Apparently they’ll be mixing in politics at 10 Downing Street as well. And the creator is the guy who wrote The Queen with Helen Mirren. Still don’t see this as a lengthy series, though - people’s patience for actual history (as opposed to soap opera in a historic setting a la Downton Abbey or Mad Men) is low, and the Queen’s entire persona is based on being a suitably enigmatic, enduring, and flexible symbol of an entire nation. Which is a polite way of saying: her job is to be as boring as possible.

You can make a good two-hour drama about how hard that is, but I don’t know that people want 60 hours of it.

You give lip service to TV while you then go gaga over how magical the movies are. Its clear your extremely narrow minded and have very little real knowledge of what the best of TV offers today. So regardless of your passion for movies it falls of deaf ears to me if you remain ignorant of the other option available for entertainment.

We truly are in a golden age of TV with terrific acting and wonderful and engaging story lines and character development that simply cant exist in a 2 hour movie. The whole point I and others make is the days of the movies being the place where the best writing, acting, and story telling exist are gone. TV cant match the scale or spectacle of movies which is why stuff like comic movies and huge CGI fests dominate the theaters now but in every other area they have matched and in may ways surpassed them. That’s just the truth. If you cant see that then you are truly missing out on some of the best entertainment around with your doggedness of just wanting to focus on movies. I chose to enjoy both mediums.

Uh, okay. I’m not sure why you think I disagree with that statement.

My disagreement is with legoswarrior saying television “does everything better than movies”. But while I’m at it, I’ll go ahead and disagree with your statement that “TV has terrific acting and wonderful and engaging story lines and character development that simply cant exist in a 2 hour movie”. I’d argue you’re confusing quantity and quality. By that rationale, the best acting, storylines, and character development would exist in the soap operas that have been running for decades. I never would have figured you for a soap opera guy, but, hey, it takes all kinds. :)

By the way, where do you get this idea that I’m “ignorant” about television, or even “narrow minded”, or “just…focus on movies”? Do you think I participate in the discussions on this forum without actually watching the shows? I’ll bet you dollars to donuts – and I’m willing to throw down on this! – I’ve watched more television than you in the past year.


With the statements you have made I will safely say no you haven’t. It’s clear you have a bias words movies and still try to push the long since dead myth of TV being the second class to cinema. I’ll leave it at that.

Don’t forget your ball!