BY DEAN ROBBINS
In 16th century France, the virginal Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane), is swept up in palace intrigue. Her fiancé (Toby Regbo) cares less for her than he does for France, nattering on about the political advantage of their union. An evil queen (Megan Follows) plots against her, while her ladies-in-waiting indulge in Elizabethan-style naughtiness. All the French characters worry about English plots, even though, puzzlingly, they all speak with English accents.
The new drama Reign (8 p.m. Thursday, CW) is basically Gossip Girl in doublets and puffy sleeves — a soap opera about beautiful young people and their transgressive behavior. But it has an advantage over Gossip Girl, in that transgressive behavior was much more dangerous in the 16th century than it is in our own permissive times.
Great Performances 40th Anniversary Celebration 9 p.m. Friday (PBS)