Over the last couple of years, I seem to be tripping over Romanoff stories left and right, often mysteries with claims that one Romanoff escaped the murders, and building off the years of stories and fairytales that the Romanoff lineage in Russia endures. Very few of them have been any good, to tell the truth. So when I saw there was a new Amazon original series, I thought, “Meh”. Predicting cancellation on any of the streaming shows is a crapshoot of course, too hard to know if the series has any promising metrics at all or what will strike the fancy of the streaming service to renew. They generally don’t follow any predictable pattern of typical shows since there are no advertising revenues to measure success.
What I didn’t realize is that the series is actually an anthology of 8 stories about people who believe themselves to be the direct descendants of the Romanoff lineage.
The first episode, The Violet Hour, tells the complicated story of a lonely old woman who has an beautiful apartment in Paris worth a large fortune in and of itself. Her immediate family is all gone, and all she has left is a nephew. She is in failing health and needs a caregiver around in case her BP spikes, and the woman sews dissent with every word. She’s a battleaxe basically, taking out any petty grievance she can on those around her, and driving conflict just to get a rise out of people. The nephew wants the apartment, as does his cunning wife/girlfriend, and the woman is tired of waiting for the old bat to die. The aunt has a fainting spell, and is aggrieved nobody rushes to her side, even going so far as to fire the caregiver. When the agency sends a Muslim girl, named Hajar, the aunt goes batshit crazy trying every racist thing she can think of to push the girl away. But Hajar endures. And the woman occasionally respects her. She even dresses her in a beautiful old gown one day and takes a shine to her.
*Spoiler alert* Eventually Hajar hooks up with the nephew, despite a huge age difference, they disappear from each other’s life, and that seems to be it. Until Hajar comes back around, pregnant. Which pushes the wife/girlfriend out of the picture and makes the aunt really happy.
And I didn’t care about ANY of them. Hajar was potentially interesting, the nephew was boring, and the aunt + wife were just negative caricatures. I thought there was potentially some great material hidden with the aunt, and one or two scenes when she was talking about the past just shone. If only the 90 minutes could have stayed right there.
Maybe some of the others will be amazing. But for me, I won’t know. I’m going to go with my original predication — CANCELLATION.