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The Empress: If you love The Crown and Bridgerton, check out this new Netflix historical drama

Updated Oct 7th, 2022 10:16AM EDT
The Empress on Netflix
Image: Netflix

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We’ve still got more than a month to go before the highly anticipated fifth season of Netflix’s The Crown arrives in November. In the meantime, the streamer on Thursday debuted a new Netflix release that sort of feels like a German-language version of the fan-favorite series about Britain’s Royal Family. This one is The Empress, a 6-episode historical drama that should definitely give fans of The Crown something to tide them over in the meantime.

In truth, the similarities are all over this new Netflix release, practically daring you to ignore them. The dramatic orchestral score, a princess in love with a royal who she’s not “supposed” to be with, longing glances, sumptuous visuals … you get the idea.

The Empress Netflix trailer

You can check out the trailer for The Empress, embedded below. Meanwhile, here’s what you need to know, as far as the story:

On a day in August of 1853, two young people meet — he’s Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, and she is Elisabeth von Wittelsbach, Princess of Bavaria. The same princess who, unfortunately, is also the sister of the woman Franz is supposed to marry. “When the rebellious Elisabeth (“Sisi”) meets Franz, the Emperor of Austria,” Netflix’s summary continues, “the young couple’s intoxicating love completely upsets the power structure at the Viennese court.

“After the wedding, the young empress must assert herself not only against her mother-in-law, the sovereign, power-hungry Sophie, but also against Franz’s brother Maxi, who himself longs for the throne (and for Sisi).”

Meanwhile, enemy troops are also massing on the borders of the Habsburg Empire. When the proletariat rises up in protest against the emperor, Elisabeth must decide who she can trust. As well as what price is required to be a true empress and a figure of hope.

the empress netflix
Philip Froissant and Melika Foroutan in the Netflix series “The Empress.” Image source: Netflix

The Empress offers us the chance to tell the moving story of Empress Elisabeth for a contemporary audience,” showrunner Katharina Eyssen explains. “According to a modern image of women. Devrim (Lingnau) is not only a highly talented, multi-faceted actress, but for me embodies this very woman: Intelligent, passionate, rebellious.

“Philip Froissant, for his part, will make of the role of Franz Joseph something we have not seen before. An ambivalent and fascinating ruler, whose conflicts are more topical than ever.”

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Netflix’s next The Crown?

One YouTube commenter, in a note attached to the newly released Netflix trailer, joked that this first-look footage “has already destroyed the first two seasons of Bridgerton.”

In other implied connections to The Crown, meanwhile, it’s also interesting to note one other thing about Sisi. She inspired tremendous love and devotion from the public, akin to that directed at the 90s-era Princess of Wales. She was also part of what arguably was the first celebrity royal couple in Europe, and her beauty was legendary. According to Vogue, she actually spent three hours each day simply having her gorgeous locks of hair cared for.

Below, check out some additional scenes courtesy of the streamer from Season 1 of The Empress.

Felix Nölle, Melika Foroutan, Jördis Triebel, Elisa Schlott, Devrim Lingnau, Johannes Nussbaum, and Irene Della Casa in “The Empress.”
Devrim Lingnau and Philip Froissant.

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Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.