🇸🇪 YOUNG ROYALS 🇸🇪
YOUNG ROYALS (2021-) is a new Swedish Netflix Original show. Drama and Romance. 6 x 40-50 min. 15 Cert U.K. Swedish with subtitles (dubbing also available)
“Prince Wilhelm adjusts to life at his prestigious new boarding school, Hillerska, but following his heart proves more challenging than anticipated.” IMDb
Edvin Ryding as Wilhelm
Omar Rudberg as Simon
Samuel Astor as Nils
Frida Argento as Sara
Mimmi Cyon as Fredrika
Nikita Uggla as Felice
Uno Elger as Walter
Malte Gårdinger as August
Nathalie Varli as Madison McCoy
Ingela Olsson as Annete Lilja
Fabian Penje as Henry
Carmen Gloria Pérez as Linda
Felicia Truedsson as Stella
Christian Hillborg as Rickard
Pernilla August as Queen Kristina
Ivor Forsling as Erik of Sweden
Directors: Rodja Sekersöz & Erika Calmeyer
Creators: Lisa Ambjörn & Camilla Holter
Writers: Lisa Ambjörn, Lars Beckung, Sofie Forsman, Tove Forsman, Pia Gradvall
Cinematographer: Marek Wieser
Music: Matti Bye
Sound: Tom van Heesch
Make-Up: Anna Mirow
Editors: Sofia Lindgren, Andreas Brixter, Gregers Dohn
Composer Matti Bye is a double Guldbagge Award-winner.
Omar Rudberg (22) was in the band FO&O with another well known name, Felix Sandman. This band was HUGE in Sweden. Apart from one short film this is Omar’s first role.
Edvin Ryding (18) will be known to many as the little boy who grows up during the course of Gåsmamman.
An Intimacy Coordinator worked on set throughout the production.
There are “teen” TV shows and there are teen shows. Some are designed solely for the teenage market and are often a very hard slog for adults to watch. And then… then there are series like Young Royals which, whilst clearly targeted at teens, are most definitely not solely aimed at them and which are great viewing for the grown-ups too.
The main storyline is that of the relationship between Prince Wilhelm and Simon. Wilhelm is in line for the Swedish throne whilst Simon is a poor “normal” kid on a scholarship. This is not exactly an unusual contrast in backgrounds for romantic dramas and romcoms but Young Royals still manages to bring something fresh to the story. There is more at stake and more pressure on young Wilhelm than in many creations like this and it is the LGBTQ+ nucleus that makes a big difference.
At this point, I must emphasise how impressive are the performances of both Edvin Ryding (Wilhelm) and Omar Rudberg (Simon). They have wonderful, genuine on-screen chemistry and bring both nuance and energy to their roles. The sex-scenes are realistic but not gratuitous and these young actors do incredibly well to bring honesty and naturalism to their scenes (see Notes). (As an aside Omar Rudberg’s singing voice is stunning!)
The supporting cast, both young and old, are tip-top. From the stalwart of Swedish acting that is Pernilla August to emerging talents such as Malte Gårdinger who mightily impresses as the complex August.
Although I have singled out Edvin, Omar and Malte I should make it clear that ALL the young talent are excellent, no exceptions. These are certainly ones to watch as their careers develop. What a good job has been done by casting because without these in the roles this would just not have been as good a show as it is (and boy, it is VERY good!)
The storyline is driven by the developing relationship between Wilhelm and Simon, two youngsters from wildly differing social backgrounds who face different pressures and expectations. As the series progresses we see all the things that work for and against their love for each other. It is their mutual love that is the strongest and most affecting part of Young Royals. It certainly brought tears to my eyes more than once.
“The course of true love never did run smooth.” (Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
The subplots also work well and reiterate the pressures these young people face. Expectations from parents, other adults and wider society, issues of self-confidence and body image, complicated and toxic relationships, sexual encounters, drugs, alcohol and the fear of not fitting in. It was good to see a character with Aspergers navigating their way through school, home and budding romance. Young Royals manages to use some of the tropes we expect from a teen series (the school bully) but twists them in a way that challenges the viewer far more. I liked the way that aspects of Wilhelm’s and Omar’s storyline were further explored and contrasted in the secondary stories.
The writing of this show is what essentially makes it as good as it is. Nuanced, smart, challenging with well developed, realistic characters who have believable motivations. Dialogue is always genuine and realistic. This is exactly what you would expect as a viewer from any well-written show that’s not “just teen”.
The soundtrack of Young Royals is very well chosen and the songs and tunes enhance not only the visuals but also add to the story and character development. A wonderful, varied score by Matti Bye provides yet another dimension enhancing everything we see.
It makes a refreshing change to see two women as directors and this combined with the work of the single cinematographer (Director of Photography) gives us visual results which are cohesive, impressive and often beautiful. Editors rarely get much of a mention in reviews but the editing is also exceptional. The pacing of Young Royals is perfect, at no point did it fail to keep my attention and I needed to know what happened next.
Can I recommend Young Royals? Yes, I can and unhesitatingly so. It is a classy, thought-provoking, emotionally-affecting piece of TV. As a viewer, you care about the characters, even the far less than endearing ones. All the characters have realistic motivations and actions. As a viewer, you really want to see Wilhelm and Simon happy in their love and you feel for them when things go wrong (remember that Shakespearean “course of true love…”?) Top this off with great chemistry and acting, music that cranks up the effect of the visuals and you have what is an excellent piece of TV. I will definitely be watching a season 2 when it (hopefully) arrives.
It is too early for Young Royals to have been nominated for, or to have won, any awards. But watch this space…