British melodrama has never really gone out of style, but with Downton Abbey reaching its conclusion, the ravenous American appetite for it won’t be sated without another period drama set in the early part of the 20th century that shows the lives of British aristocrats. Fortunately, Netflix’s The Crown looks to pick up just a few decades later—subbing out World War I and the reign of King George with the end of World War II and the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s rule as monarch. Fans of glowering looks and dramatic proclamations of interpersonal turmoil are likely to be extremely satisfied by what’s contained in the show’s first trailer.
The show stars Claire Foy as Elizabeth II—and, in a perfect bit of stunt casting, John Lithgow as Winston Churchill—as it explores questions like "what role does a monarch play in a 20th century democracy like 1940’s England" and "how ardently can Matt Smith’s Philip Mountbatten assert his masculinity while arguing with his wife." Those are questions that deserve an answer, and—while the dramatics may be just a little thick—the trailer reveals a show that appears to have a lot of spring in its step, zipping in and out of the conflicts it sets up in a way that befits the show’s grand ambitions: ultimately, creator Peter Morgan (whose tackled British history and royalty in films as the screenwriter behind Frost/Nixon, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Queen, and rewrites on the John Goodman classic King Ralph) intends to tell the sweeping history of 20th century England through the series, with what we see in the trailer representing just the first of six seasons, each of which will depict another decade of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.