Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every week, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.
The Hormonal: Young Royals
Mix Love, Victor with The Crown and you might get a series along the lines of Young Royals, the Netflix show hailing from Sweden. The story follows Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding), the youngest Prince of Sweden sent off to a prestigious boarding school following a hard party scandal. Of course, he finds himself miserable, despite the presence of his cousin August (Malte Gårdinger). That Wilhelm’s older brother, Crown Prince Erik (Ivar Forsling), also studied there as something of a school hero also adds to Wilhelm’s warm reception…and his pressure to excel. Wilhelm immediately crosses paths with Simon (Omar Rudberg), a local, middle-class student who only attends the school for class, rather than boarding. Wilhelm begins to feel a deep attraction to Simon, who already lives as an openly gay student.
Teen romance features heavily in Young Royals, though the show also dives into deeper issues of classism, wealth, bullying and, of course, growing up. Amid the romance, Simon begins dealing drugs to help pay for school, while August does his best to conceal both his drug use, and that his historically wealthy family might actually be broke. A mid-season plot twist also turns the story upside down; we’ll not reveal too much here, other than to say that chaos engulfs the romance between Wilhelm and Simon on a much larger scale than either anticipated.
Young Royals blends the usual teen soap tropes of secret romance, backstabbing, parental alienation and insecurity with a new layer of political intrigue to keep things interesting. In another refreshing twist, the series avoids the usual American convention of using make-up and digital technology to “erase” teen skin problems. As a result, the characters in the show look and feel much more like real teenagers, not impossibly pretty idols.
Thoughtful, creative and with a juicy queer streak to boot, we offer up Young Royals for viewing pleasure this weekend. Many a queer person has wondered what it would be like to fall for some beautiful royal. This series knows “fairytale romance” isn’t always magical.
Streams on Netflix.