Prince Harry and Meghan Markle created television history with their royal engagement, a feat that they repeated with their controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey. And now, having left the royal family and resettling in America, the couple is back for what is being marketed as a 'Netflix original event'.
Oprah might be heartbroken that the two lovebirds didn't appear in a docu-series under her network this time but she doesn't need to worry as that one interview might be meatier than the first three episodes of Harry & Meghan that have dropped on Netflix right now (three more are supposed to drop next Thursday).
Thankfully, Harry & Meghan doesn't play out like a Keeping Up With The Kardashians-style format and rather tries to be as series as it can as a documentary. The series is set to narrate the story of how they met, how the royal engagement took place, and what actually led to the fallout with the 'Family'.
And in documenting the relationship, the docu-series does a pretty decent job but it is too bland to be stretched out for a six-episode-long narrative. It could've been reduced to just a one-hour-long TV special (instead give us the extended cut of that Oprah interview). We get to know new revelations such as Prince Harry was impressed by Meghan when he first saw her in a Snapchat dog filter (we're not making this up) but then we are also reacquainted with some pretty basic truths like Meghan remarking on how her marriage felt orchestrated (well, every royal wedding is a TV event).
Yes, the viewers might sympathise with the duo and rightfully so. The documentary expands on the racist headlines that British tabloids relied on while describing the relationship, including usages of phrases like "niggling" or just describing Meghan as "straight outta Compton" (spoiler alert, the bi-racial Suits actress isn't from Compton). Harry also touches upon the extreme pressure has has felt from the paparazzi since his childhood. If he would smoke a cannabis joint, the paps would go on to brand him as a cocaine addict, and so on... you get the picture.
The Crown has already shown us how pressurising the royal family's internal politics can be and the trouble between Meghan and her in-laws is public knowledge at this point. So, this is why one would expect Harry & Meghan to be a more detailed behind-the-scenes look at their romance. Alas, judging from the first few episodes, it is generally too bland to get your attention.
While Harry and Meghan come off as a 'human' couple, they too have their self-indulgent and self-celebratory moments. Meghan talking about her "political" op-eds and volunteer work still makes sense given that she's a self-made woman in some way. She also gets frank that her bi-racial identity didn't cause her much trouble before her relationship with Harry, adding that it was her mother who had to bear the brunt of racism.
For a week we’ve been told that Harry and Meghan are trying to destroy the Royal Family with this documentary series, when it’s pretty clear 3 episodes in that they’re really trying to expose the British tabloid press. I’m not surprised to see “royal experts” trying to spin it.— Anne Boleyn (“Royal Expert") (@TudorChick1501) December 8, 2022
But as for Harry, no matter what he does, it is hard to separate him from his royal birth. For instance, the first episode delves into his tours to African nations such as Botswana and Lesotho where he indulged in pursuits like environmental conservation. Harry can do his best justifying that his African detours are more than royal photo-ops. After all, he is not like his infamous grandfather Prince Phillip who visited the continent either to hunt down exotic animals or just crack a racist joke or two. However, when you throw in Lesotho's Prince Seeiso saying that Harry is a 'Mahale' (warrior in the local Sesotho language), a "warrior in character" and a "warrior in spirit", one can't help but chuckle in cringe (for a lack of a better word).
#Harry goes into great detail about how much Lesotho means to him and then takes #Meghan to Botswana #HarryandMeghanNetflix pic.twitter.com/JTmAnoIwDs— HowdyasayNiamh☘ (@HowdyasayNiamh) December 8, 2022
Still, as mentioned earlier, Harry & Meghan isn't all cringe. Right from the black-and-white intro to the lack of formulaic documentary zoom-ins and jump cuts, the makers of the Netflix original do consciously try to craft a serious, no-holds-barred, raw and realistic look at the journey the titular protagonists have gone through. But from a viewer's perspective, it is maybe not gripping enough especially for a streaming service that is offering way more entertaining documentary alternatives like The Tinder Swindler or FIFA Uncovered.