The first words that come to mind while viewing the Netflix original series, Young Royals is refreshingly unadulterated. The Swedish series portrays the teen experience, pimples and raging hormones included, extravagantly in a storytelling format rarely seen on TV nowadays.
Produced By: Nexiko AB
Directed by: Rojda Sekersöz & Erika Calmeyer
Genre: Teen Drama, Romance
Release Date: July 1, 2021
Country Of Origin: Sweden
Language: Swedish (and lots of English)
No of Seasons: 1
No of Episodes: 6
IMDb Ratings: 8.6/10
The series opens with the blown-up introduction of the Swedish royal family's younger prince, Wilhelm; who gets involved in a club brawl. In an attempt to save face and maintain its public image, the royal is packed off to a boarding school. Once at school he is backed and initiated into the rich, elite secret club. But he discovers a confusing curiosity being piqued by his classmate, Simon, which zealously leads to the development of mutual love between the boys.
However, the unexpected demise of the crowned prince, Wilhelm's older brother, puts him in the spotlight. This means maintaining a social stature at all costs; which hampers the budding bond. The season wraps up with a melancholy yet hopeful note where the lovers break up yet their love is still strong and evident. Something to keep the viewers looks up to in a new season.
The storyline could have been like every other fairy tale. Prince meets pauper, falls in love and they live happily ever after. If it was only that simple. Teenage life is drama and this is what exactly is delivered in the series. The love story is built up at a gradual pace, with little sideways glances, cute smiles, finger touches, raspy breath-taking moments of freshly baked first love.
Yet, the most inadvertently relevant side where the teenage mindset is ruled by raging hormones and sex is not sidetracked in the offer. The use of drugs and therapy to relive painstaking absurdity is not a hidden concept either. The utterly misjudged teen prince and his risk-taking, fearless love interest are what ensures a part of the teen drama. The other half is beautifully painted on by the remaining side stories taking place simultaneously. The directors have established an unsaid hierarchy within the characters. The definite plus for this series is the smart casting and excellent character performances managed by the group of seeming teenagers.
Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding)- The frustrated prince.
He is easy to adapt to, mispronounced as a brat and loathes attention. Annoyed with maintaining a facade, the prince prefers living the life of a commoner. Initially, curiosity consumes him but once he accepts that he actually loves Simon, he paddles deep into the tunnel with no end. He is not quick to judge and neither imparts any moral declarations when he learns Simon was dealing drugs on the campus. He knows he has the power but neither brags nor coaxes over it. Kind and soft by nature and it matters to him if people are hurt because of his disposition or actions. Heavily burdened with the sudden duty of being the crowned prince, he holds on for society and his family, despite the fact that it eats away at his bond with Simon.
Simon (Omar Rudberg) - The talented but poor love interest.
He is motivated, unafraid, proud and self-loving. Simon adores his autistic sister and ensures drastic measures to make sure people accept her. Despite his strong, independent nature he has a sharp streak of lying. He cares less about mingling with his classmates or their perceptions of him. His individuality shines through the royalty and elite presence surrounding him. Bold and out as gay, he pursues Wilhelm unabashed. Though in love, his self-esteem is greater and believes in being open about his sexuality in contrast to Wilhelm's closeted preferences to maintain the royalty image.
August (Malte Gårdinger)- The dual-natured, eye-candy.
The second cousin to the princes has the popular boy disposition in the series; excels in studies and sports alike and is a favourite of the headmistress of the school. He serves as the perfect example of a person with duality. On one hand, he ensures to sit up on his high horse, not mixing with commoners (but in reality his family is broke); while on the other, he engages with maintaining cordiality with Simon for he gets his stash of drugs from him. He is bold and pursues Felice tirelessly until they end up in a relationship. However, being haunted by ghosts from his traumatic past, he is paranoid and messes up. Despite being seemingly perfect, his frustrated, cold and bullying nature surfaces occasionally.
Sara (Frida Argento) - The socially awkward introvert.
Simon's sister plays a person who suffers from ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome. Sara is a person who suffers greatly to link with her peers on an emotional or for that matter on a conversational basis. Despite all these, her unhinged honest nature lets her strike a close relationship with Felice, a member of the horse riding club. She is one who aspires to be like her elite friends and is affected immensely by their opinions about her as a person.
Felice (Nikita Uggla) - The oppressed, stressed teen.
The person your teen self would seem to sympathize with the most within the series is Felice. She is rich but not snobby, loyal and loves her friends. Her initial obsession with Wilhelm is quickly diverted when she learns she has no chance and instead of letting the wound fester any further, gives up on pursuing him. She is seen to be too benevolent for her own good and tries desperately to live up to her mother's expectations, meanwhile suffocating her true self from emerging. Her growth as a person is seen in the series as she unshackles herself from standards and decides to live life as she is.
Highlights To Why I Recommend The Title
There are loads of LGBTQ+ stories out there but not many manage the cut. The sole reason for recommending this title is raw unfiltered drama and acting. In addition, the music score is hip and trendy and goes with the teenage scenario.
The definition of popularity in school is shown to the actual degree that exists. It is not glossed over with absurd rude, cheerleading, perfect skin girls as the other teen series. Simon and Sara share their lives and secrets with each other. Their abusive past has moulded their bond to strengthen with time. The sibling dynamic is realistic and heartwarming. August's character portrays duality, but a very valid trauma is behind shaping his personality. He is ashamed of his lie and in order to hide his stress, he resorts to drugs (an ugly truth and easy escape, teenagers might fall prey to). Though August bullies at times, guilt washes over as well, which shows he is a teen after all who is desperately seeking assurance and attention.
The queer elements are allowed to exist in the series not just as mere exhibits but to pause on the fact that love is love. Wilhelm is seen confused about his sexuality but is quick to accept that what he feels for Simon is not curiosity but sexual attraction. Wilhelm and Simon's relation is built on healthy conversation and the gradual development of attraction to love is shown.
In short, this is a must-watch for me with a number of prominent appreciable moments and true portrayals. Do check out the trailer!
Image Source~ IMDb
Video Source~ YouTube
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