Another installment features Corey Stall and Kerry Bishe as an unhappily married couple, whose marriage is tested when he gets jury duty — and becomes obsessed with a fellow juror — forcing her to attend a Romanov-themed cruise alone.
The third (and weakest) entry has a bit of “The Twilight Zone” baked into it, with “Mad Men’s” Christina Hendricks as a movie star who has somewhat reluctantly taken a role in a European miniseries about — what else? — the Romanovs.
Each previewed film has its merits, to varying degrees, but it’s hard to escape asking, “What’s the point?” As stand-alone movies, there’s not much of a market for such character-driven, understated titles, but unlike past anthologies a la “The Twilight Zone”), it’s hard to make a case for watching them when the foundation is so tenuous. (In a programming switch, Amazon will roll out chapters weekly after launching with the first two.)
The casting and international locales are surely impressive. But the real star here is Weiner, bringing an auteur’s touch to these meticulously crafted tales even by the standard of streaming services, which tend to be more permissive in championing artists’ peculiar visions (in exchange for the cachet they bring) than almost any other medium, without regard to ratings.
In show-business terms, “The Romanoffs” certainly conveys its pedigree. But like so many who have claimed that royal lineage, the result turns out to be pretty pedestrian.
“The Romanoffs” premieres Oct. 12 on Amazon.