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Prime Video might have just found its Bridgerton

Published Jun 23rd, 2024 5:57PM EDT
My Lady Jane on Prime Video
Image: Prime Video

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History remembers Jane Grey, England’s so-called Nine Days Queen from the 16th century, as the ultimate “damsel in distress.”

That’s according to the narrator in Prime Video’s new historical drama My Lady Jane, who goes on to lament that she’s known today “for her death, rather than her life” — before adding a bit of a jarring aside to let viewers know we’re not exactly in Masterpiece Theater territory with this new series: “F*** that!”

What if, the narrator continues, the story of the real-life Lady Jane had turned out different? Such is the foundation of Prime Video’s delightfully addictive new eight-episode drama — which, as an aside, I have to confess looks like it has at least an outside shot of becoming the streamer’s Bridgerton.

Just like Netflix’s similarly revisionist and bodice-ripping hit drama, My Lady Jane plays very fast and extremely loose with historical events and takes place in an alt-fantasy Tudor world — one that not only radically upends English royal history, but adds mysterious and magical creatures. The net effect is a swashbuckling romp wherein King Henry VIII’s son Edward doesn’t die of tuberculosis after all, and neither Jane nor her scoundrel of a husband are executed.

Also, bonus points for the saucy narrator, who’s so good that he frequently threatens to upstage events onscreen with his foul-mouthed musings (like opining that everyone knows King Henry was an “absolute s**t” and that sometimes “life gives you a real kick in the t*ts”).

My Lady Jane — which is adapted from a novel by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows — debuts in its entirety on June 27. I, for one, got an absolute kick out of what I’ve screened of the show thus far, which stars Emily Bader in the title role.

My Lady Jane on Prime Video
Jordan Peters as King Edward in “My Lady Jane.” Image source: Prime Video

The actual, historical Jane Grey was an English noblewoman and the de facto queen of England for nine days in 1553. She was a highly-educated woman, fluent in multiple languages, and ultimately executed as a result of political machinations outside her control. Bader’s portrayal of the character, though, is a ridiculously fun middle finger to all that.

Here, Lady Jane is the kind of noblewoman who dreams of publishing her own book about plants, so that the money then allows her to live life on her own terms. She chafes at her mother’s strictures and the suffocating patriarchy; she’s beautiful, headstrong, and quick-witted. In other words, she’s the perfect heroine.

Gird your loins, Prime Video triumphantly teases, “for the tragic tale of Lady Jane Grey, the young Tudor noblewoman who was Queen of England for nine days and then beheaded in 1553 … We’re retelling history the way it should have happened: The damsel in distress saves herself.

“This is an epic tale of true love and high adventure set in an alt-universe of action, history, fantasy, comedy, romance, and rompy-pompy.”

In other words, eat your heart out Lady Whistledown.

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.