Matthew Weiner’s return to television is right around the corner, and as as evidenced by the newest trailer for The Romanoffs, he’ll be bringing an impressive cast along with him. The series is one of the more offbeat and ambitious offerings from Amazon this year, as not only is it a weekly anthology series (sorry binge-watchers), but each episode revolves around a different cast of characters, at least one of whom is convinced they are related to the Romanov royal family.
The series’ conceit is a difficult one to explain within the confines of a teaser trailer. It’s understandable, then, that the two teasers released so far have focused not on the story (or stories) the series is aiming to tell, but on the pedigree of talent assembled to tell them. First and foremost is Weiner, who is launching his first series since Mad Men ended its critically acclaimed run in 2015. Beyond Weiner, however, is an enormous cast made up not only of Mad Men alums, like John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, Jay R. Ferguson, and Cara Buono, but also the likes of Diane Lane, Aaron Eckhart, Griffin Dunne, Kathryn Hahn, Noah Wyle, Kerry Bishé, Corey Stoll, Amanda Pete, Paul Reiser, Isabelle Huppert, and more.
Again, there’s not a whole lot to go on with regard to what kinds of stories Weiner is planning to tell, but this being the first footage from the series, at least there’s a better idea of what the tone will be. As was the case with Mad Men, The Romanoffs looks like it will mix moments of drama with plenty of humor. In fact, from the way the teaser is cut, it seems as though the new series is leaning more toward comedy than drama. Perhaps that’s just a marketing angle, and perhaps it’s the result of how the show’s premise lends itself to some outlandish and funny scenarios.
Case in point: Aaron Eckhart’s character explains he’s “half Russian, half German, half French,” to which a woman replies, “You’re three halves?” The lighter tone carries through the entire teaser as the character’s belief they’re related to the Romanovs becomes an increasingly eccentric claim that affords the series a tone as appealing as its cast.
Weiner serves as showrunner, director, and producer on all eight episodes, with Mad Men writers Semi Chellas and Andre and Maria Jacquemetton as part of the series’ writers’ room. From what this teaser shows, it looks as though The Romanoffs will be dramatically different from Mad Men in certain ways, but similar enough that it will easily attract fans of Emmy-winning drama.
The Romanoffs premieres Friday, October 12 on Amazon Prime Video.