Emily Bader and Edward Bluemel in My Lady Jane.
(Prime Video)

‘My Lady Jane’ Spins History Into a Steamy and Hilarious Romantasy Adventure 

If reading steamy historical fiction is your escape. If all the war-mongering in House of The Dragon is making you long for some love. If you’re not over your Bridgerton hangover just yet. Then Prime Video’s new series, My Lady Jane, is the perfect pick-me-up.

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Starring Emily Bader (Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin) and Edward Bluemel (A Discovery of Witches, Killing Eve) in the lead, My Lady Jane is a hilarious reimagining of a slice of British royal history that doesn’t give two hoots about accuracy—oh, intentionally. You see, according to British history, in 1553 England, Lady Jane Grey was known as the “Nine Day Queen,” and had a rather tumultuous reign that ended badly for her. 

But My Lady Jane, based on a book from a series written by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows, has a funny, modernised, romantasy (romance + fantasy) take on Lady Jane’s story. The series is created by Gemma Burgess and directed by Stefan Schwartz and Jamie Babbit (Gilmore Girls, Russian Doll, Gilmore Girls, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Only Murders In The Building). The cast, alongside Bader and Bluemel, includes Jordan Peters, Anna Chancellor, Dominic Cooper, Kate O’Flynn, Rob Brydon, Abbie Hern, Isabella Brownson, Henry Ashton, and Robyn Betteridge among others.

In My Lady Jane, we get a 1553 Britain à la Bridgerton, where the king, Edward VI (Peters), is a man of color. The country is split into two factions—Verities, as in pure humans, and Ethians (or Beasts), as in humans who are able to transform into animals at will, but cannot control which animal they transform into. And Lady Jane (Bader) isn’t some prim and proper noblewoman, but a healer who’s smart, writing a book about medicinal herbs, and quite the swashbuckler when need be. 

In the background of Lady Jane’s ascension to the throne of Britain and Ireland, then, is political turmoil of the Verities’ efforts to subdue the Ethians and keep them banished into the forest, where they must fend for themselves. This could very well have subtext of the Protestant and Catholic clashes of that era, but this story isn’t just a game of thrones amongst British royalty. This is a romance, and one that burns hot!

When I saw the teaser for My Lady Jane—a meet-cute between Jane (Bader) and a handsome stranger (Bluemel) with a British voiceover narration that sounded straight out of an Honest Trailers video—I was sold on the lead pair’s chemistry and the tone and treatment of the series. It didn’t speak of love at first sight but lust at first sight. It reminded me of Blood, Sex & Royalty, a drama series on Netflix that is a modernized retelling of Anne Boleyn’s story, which I absolutely enjoyed for how steamy, contemporary, and engaging it was.

My Lady Jane brings the same vibe to the table and is deliciously entertaining because it rarely takes its subject matter seriously. The language is quite contemporary, with words like “wanker” and “bollocks” used quite profusely, newlyweds going for their honeymoon, and political rivalries sorted out over a game of bowling. It channels the spirit and tonality of works like Blood, Sex & Royalty, as well as The Princess Bride and Ella Enchanted. It’s lighthearted on the surface, flirts with elements of fantasy, takes massive creative liberties with its time period, and yet has some socio-political subtext to unpack.

All this set to pop music—not classical instrumental covers but the actual songs as-is—like Wet Leg’s “Wet Dreams,” actually adds an extra pep in its step.

Emily Bader is charming as Jane, a noblewoman about to go down the predictable marriage route until her life changes. She gives us a heroine we can root for, even when her ethics land her in life-threatening trouble. She’s beautiful, she’s got gumption, and she looks good in a crown. I enjoyed watching Edward Bluemel in A Discovery of Witches, and it’s great to see him play Guildford, the dashing leading man with rizz. Bader’s chemistry with Bluemel is a crucial component, since this is a romantasy, and I’m happy to report that it sparks all the hot and heavy feels! It’s not exactly a slow-burn, but the flirting and banter, the whole “resisting temptation” and almost kissing, leaves you wanting more of them with every scene. The book girlies will be eating!

I thoroughly enjoyed the supporting cast; they made me chuckle throughout the season and actually care for the fate of their characters. Kate O’Flynn’s over-the-top drama queen Princess Mary is one of my favorite performances, followed by Dominic Cooper as the conniving yet totally whipped Chancellor Seymour! You’ll love to hate Anna Chancellor as Jane’s mother, Lady Frances—think of her as a slightly darker Portia Featherington with some smarting lines! Henry Ashton as Stan and Robyn Betteridge as Lady Margaret, too, make an impression.

The royal court, including Princess Mary, Lady Frances, Duke of Norfolk and more assemled in an episode of My Lady Jane

My Lady Jane is not without a few misgivings and potholes, mostly arising out of the fantasy elements that it has added to the story. But when you’re having a good time, it’s easy to let those slide. I was completely immersed into Lady Jane’s story, wishing that this indeed was the true life story, not the one I read on her Wikipedia page.

My Lady Jane premieres on Prime Video on June 26, 2024, with all eight episodes that are a hoot and worth a binge!

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Jinal Bhatt
Jinal Bhatt (She/Her) is a staff writer for The Mary Sue. An editor, writer, film and culture critic with 7+ years of experience, she writes primarily about entertainment, pop culture trends, and women in film, but she’s got range. Jinal is the former Associate Editor for Hauterrfly, and Senior Features Writer for Mashable India. When not working, she’s fangirling over her favourite films and shows, gushing over fictional men, cruising through her neverending watchlist, trying to finish that book on her bedside, and fighting relentless urges to rewatch Supernatural.