King Louis XIV’s bold move for greatness will endanger his relationships when Season 2 of Versailles premieres on Ovation TV in 2017.

The international hit series examines the reign of the Sun King who built Versailles, the most beautiful palace in Europe. He confounded his court, his advisors and his people with the building.

George Blagden and Alexander Vlahos return as King Louis XIV and his brother, Philippe de France, respectively. Anna Brewster stars as Louis’s mistress, Madame de Montespan, and Stuart Bowman plays his valet, Bontemps. Other returning cast members include Tygh Runyan as enforcer Fabien Marchal, and Evan Williams as the Chevalier de Lorraine, Philippe’s lover.

In the first season, Louis seized absolute control over France, creating enemies outside the country and within his own court. His struggle to cement his power continue in the upcoming second season, according to an Ovation release:

“We witness the dark underbelly of power as Louis sees the dream of his grand Versailles palace crumbling before his eyes. With phase one of the palace complete, most of France’s eminent lords and ladies now live under the Sun King’s roof. Drugs, gambling, and alcohol are rampant, as nobles begin to poison each other in order to get closer to the King and climb up the social ladder. Surrounded by darkness and depravity, he loses his sense of purpose and, in a desperate attempt to escape, leaves for war against his arch enemy William of Orange. He must discover the path back to light and redemption to save his vision of Versailles.”

After completing Season 2 production last summer, cast members came to the U.S. to promote Season 1. During an interview at the time, Blagden teased King Louis’ growth in Season 1. King Louis begins as a “son king” who is ruled by his regent-like mother and counselors but transforms himself into the powerful Sun King history tells us Louis was.

In Season 2, the king continues to build himself into an omnipotent ruler, Blagden said.

“What’s been really exciting about Season 2, without going too far ahead, is continuing [Louis’s] journey and seeing how far this man pushed it,” Blagden said. “He was willing to overstep that line of advice and counsel from everyone around him.”

According to Ovation, Louis’s passion for Madame de Montespan will blind him to the treachery overtaking his beloved Versailles. He refuses to listen to the counsel of the church and his closest advisors. Even his closest friend, Bontemps—if the king of France truly considers a subject his friend—feels the sting.

Events will test the valet’s relationship with the king in Season 2, Bowman said last fall. He cited the Season 1 scene when a feverish Louis accused Bontemps of plotting against him while the loyal valet was trying to help the king. That scene, Bowman said, showed how much Bontemps loves his charge and how devastating it is when the king takes away that friendship.

“We do see in Season 2, without giving too much away, the pain of the chances of that [trust] going away,” Bowman said. “The relationship is in danger, I would say.”

Ovation TV, America’s only arts network, broadcast the first season beginning Oct. 1, 2016. The premiere remains the most-watched telecast for the network. 

“The ratings, audience response and social engagement with this series have been off the charts,” said Scott Woodward, EVP of programming and production at Ovation. “We are looking forward to keeping this momentum going with Season 2 this year.”

(I’m sure all that sex had nothing to do with its success. By the way, you can watch it now on Netflix in the U.S.)

Simon Mirren, David Wolstencroft, Claude Chelli, Jean Bureau, Anne Thomopoulos serve as executive producers. Thomas Vincent, Mike Barker and Louis Choquette direct Season 2 episodes. Jalil Lespert directed Season 1.

Ovation TV acquired Season 2 rights from Banijay Rights, the international distribution arm of Banijay Group. Capa Drama, Zodiak Fiction and Incendo co-produce the series, a Canal+ Creation Originale.

Versailles Season 2 trailer from France

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Tygh Runyan: Fabien’s reality check

Blagden, Vlahos build brotherhood

Noemie Schmidt, finally royal

Actors defend sex scenes

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