21st Sep2020

‘The Duchess: Season One’ Review (Netflix Original)

by Rhys Payne

Stars: Katherine Ryan, Rory Keenan, Katy Byrne, Steen Raskopoulos, Michelle de Swarte, Sophie Fletcher | Created by Katherine Ryan

When I discovered that Katherine Ryan was starting in a series (which she also helps to direct) I won’t lie I was very taken back… I know Katherine Ryan as a stand-up comedian; I know for her perspectives on feminism and somewhat crude jokes. Initially, I was very shocked by the inclusion of Ryan mainly due to the fact that she is more well-known for appearing on comedy panel shows and performing live; and so I have never really thought of her as an actress but actually I was very surprised by how well she performed here.

The Duchess is clearly a passion project from Katherine, as she not only wrote the entire series herself but also she stars in the series while playing herself. This is a show that uniquely captures Katherine Ryan as a person and the type of issues she is passionate about. Within the story, she plays a ‘common’ single mother with a child who has a passion for the finer things in life and it’s this conflict that sets up many of the comedic moments in the show. I seem to remember Katherine talking about how her daughter is almost a polar opposite to her personality-wise and so this inclusion in the show is another reason this seems so relatable to her as a performer.

The show follows Katherine’s quest (within the story) in her pursuit of having another child after realising the success of her first and only child. This includes her exploring of sperm banks, discussions on casual sex and the dynamics of broken families. Additionally, The Duchess discusses very political and important issues about consent, feminism and child romanticisation. True to the Katherine Ryan brand, the show is also crammed full of sexual activity and very very strong language. This means that The Duchess is absolutely a show for a very mature audience and would suggest that no one below the age of about sixteen watch due to not understanding the more serious issues involved.

The first few episodes contain a lot of strong language and sexual activities/references (too much if you personally ask me) but after these few episodes it does mellow out. The character of Katherine starts the series but forcefully arguing with a fellow mother and posting explicit photos of herself but after a while, the character definitely does calm down so if you can get through the initial overload of the show then you will enjoy the realistic, relatable, real-life nature of the show and the topics it discusses.

Overall, The Duchess is a very mature show that has changed my views on Katherine Ryan. I believe she is a very talented actress but I’m not sure how suited she would be other shows as it is clearly such a passion project for her. Each episode is only 25 minutes long and the actual action in the show moves very, very quickly which makes the show a very easy watch. It deals with very important issues such as feminism, alternative families and sexuality. I can imagine that there will be another series and look forward to seeing if they can maintain the level of relatability and passion from Katherine in future episodes!

***½  3.5/5

The Duchess: Season One is available on Netflix now.


Comments are closed.