Sometimes there are advantages to being behind the times. That's especially the case in this modern age of TV where there are shows up the wazoo; realistically, it's impossible to keep up with the pace they are released. Or at least that's how it feels to me. And so I'm quite happy to wait a month or two (or even a year or two) and see what the hive mind tells me is worth watching. Once upon a time if you weren't up to speed on the latest, coolest shows people had a tendency to think less of you. But these days there's a new, cool show dropping every week so no-one really cares anymore. They're too busy trying to keep up themselves to look down on others who are watching a show that was "so two weeks ago". Which brings me to The Crown - a series that kicked off back in 2016 but which I only started watching last year. That delay was intentional - it gave me time to see what people thought and whether it faded badly after a good first season (which of course meant there was no point in watching it). It also meant that while those early adopters were champing at the bit waiting for the next season to drop I was joyfully binge-watching the old episodes. And it was a joy, which surprised me because I have less than zero interest in the Royal Family. I still don't get why the taxpayer has to subsidise a group that basically does nothing in return. Change the social demographic a bit and you call those people dole bludgers who leech off the system. Yeah, yeah, I know the justification some give that the Royals are figureheads, they provide someone for the people to look up to. But really, how can you be expected to look up to someone who acquired their position due to an accident of birth rather than any special abilities? Anyway, the first few seasons of The Crown were enjoyable because I didn't know anything about the real history of the Queen and Prince Philip. I didn't need to get tied up in wondering what was real and what was dramatic licence. And I certainly didn't need to get distracted by Googling whether something happened once every episode. But that feeling really started to change halfway through season four, when the events The Crown portrayed had happened in my living memory. No longer was it a story I was unfamiliar with; it became a show were I remembered what had really happened and increasingly began to see what was real and what was added in for dramatic effect. What I particularly noticed was the way the storylines seemed quite keen to show Prince Charles in a positive light. It was as though the series decided it was on a program to rehabilitate his image. Sure, I understand that having a straightforward baddie (ie Charles) versus a goodie (Diana) can be limiting from a dramatic perspective. It's much more preferable that everyone have shades of grey, that they're a bit good and a bit bad. But from the fifth season on, it felt like the narrative went too far in trying to show Charles as a sympathetic character. One instance in particular in that season really stuck out for me. Charles was shown giving a speech to underprivileged teens at a Prince's Trust event. Now I assume that speech is a matter of public record so the screenwriters are limited by what he actually said. But they put this swelling soundtrack behind his words, as though he was saying something oh-so-inspiring. But he wasn't. Charles' words were dull and anodyne yet the soundtrack desperately wanted us to think they were quite powerful. It seemed to me a clear effort to shoehorn in an image of Charles as some sort of strong caring person - but it felt so contrived. Similarly the habit of having Charles constantly talk about how unfair it is that he couldn't marry the woman he loved seems an overt attempt to paint a sympathetic portrait. But let's just forget all that icky stuff about the decades of adultery on both his and Camilla's parts. I'm still debating whether to watch the new season or not. Though I have the feeling it might just irritate me even more.