Pretty things can get away with almost anything. Television, music videos and fashion magazines teach us that every day. But there are limits, as viewers of "Reign" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14) can see for themselves.

Adelaide Kane stars as the fetching, full-lipped young Mary, engaged since childhood to the French king's dashing son, Prince Francis (Toby Regbo). She arrives at the castle of the French royals soon after a near-miss assassin-

ation at the

convent where she had been

secreted away from her estranged family, the Protestant English royals. We see one of her fellow novitiates -- her food taster -- bleed to death before us. You'd think something like that might make young Mary a little cynical. But she's a dewy young thing, filled with notions of true love, much to the surprise of her intended in-laws, who consider her arranged marriage as more strategy than a romance.

Mary's entourage includes a gaggle of giggling young lovelies all out to make royal matches for themselves -- when not breaking into dances fit for a gauzy music video. Despite Mary's background and the pilot's French setting,

everyone speaks in generic British accents, delivering barely credible dialogue with all of the conviction of young people playing dress-up.

"Reign" seems inspired by Sofia Coppola's 2006 music video/historical romp "Marie Antoinette," but it lacks that effort's audacity and punk energy. The score to "Reign" leans toward emo-inflected faux Celtic mood music.

The hit-and-miss teenage acting hardly detracts from the gorgeous production (shot at various castles in Ireland) that puts great emphasis on brooding landscapes, medieval

architecture and interior dec-

oration. There are a couple of staircases that deserve a co-star's billing.

There are ghosts, too. Or at least some shrouded figures who offer Mary good advice ("Don't drink the wine; it's poisoned") just in the nick of time.

And the evil French Queen Catherine (Megan Follows), Mary's prospective mother-in-law, has an adviser named Nostradamus (Rossif Sutherland), who has a thing for making predictions.

Here, even Nostradamus looks like he might moonlight in a Coldplay cover band.

---"Big Bad Wood" (9 p.m., National Geographic, TV-PG) follows a company of Boston tree surgeons, chainsaw-wielding guys who work the urban jungle.

---"Apocalypse Preppers" (9 p.m., Discovery, TV-14) follows folks who sincerely believe the end is nigh and that they can endure the coming Dark Ages.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

---The Boston Red Sox and

Detroit Tigers meet in Game 5 of the American League Champion ship Series (7:30 p.m., Fox).

---Alice has doubts about the Knave of Hearts on "Once Upon A Time in Wonderland" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

---The Arizona Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks in "Thursday Night Football" (8:25 p.m., NFL Network).

---Mother Meredith returns to work on "Grey's Anatomy" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).

---A winner emerges after the

finalists reveal their signature collections on "Project Runway" (9 p.m., Lifetime, TV-PG).

---Sherlock's friend becomes a suspect on "Elementary" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

---Kristina gets under Adam's skin on "Parenthood" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

---Annie goes solo on "Covert Affairs" (10 p.m., USA, TV-14).

---A new assignment is shrouded in secrets on "Scandal" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).

---"True Crime With Aphro dite Jones" (9 p.m., ID, TV-14) examines the "accidental" death of a minister's wife.

CULT CHOICE

Dana Andrews, George Sanders, Vincent Price and Ida Lupino star in the hard-boiled 1956 mystery "While the City Sleeps" (8 p.m., TCM), directed by Fritz Lang.

SERIES NOTES

---Emotional distance on "The Big Bang Theory" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).

---Damage control on "Parks and Recreation" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).

---Katherine and Elena share a dream on "The Vampire Diaries" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).

---Debbie and Nathan swap burdens on "The Millers" (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).

---Bonding in an RV on "Wel come to the Family" (8:30 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).

---Rampant procrastination on "The Crazy Ones" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

---Paternal worries ruin Sean's date on "Sean Saves the World" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

---Walden frolics on "Two and a Half Men" (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

---Eve's internship goes awry on "The Michael J. Fox Show" (9:30 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

LATE NIGHT

---Jared Leto, Kaitlin Olson, and Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).

---Whitney Cummings guest hosts Brendan Schaub, Brad Wollack, Heather McDonald and Bryan Callen on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).

---Death appears on "Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell" (11 p.m., FXX).

---Andrew Dice Clay and Wayne Brady are booked on "The Arsenio Hall Show" (WPMT, WPHL).

---Selena Gomez appears on "Late Show With David Letter man" (11:35 p.m., CBS).

---Jay Leno welcomes Dana Carvey, CeeLo Green and Goodie Mob on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC, r).

---Kerry Washington, "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Sleigh Bells appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC).

---Tina Fey and Goldfrapp visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC, r).

---Craig Ferguson hosts Allison Janney and Ben Schwartz on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).

Kevin McDonough can be reached at kevin.tvguy@gmail.com.