Benedict Cumberbatch is appropriately menacing and Chris Pine is appropriately brash along with support by the Star Trek cast. Will be interesting to see how the movie really is when it comes out.
History Channel has taken an uncharacteristic turn away from aliens and Hitler with its new series, Vikings.
Despite some historical inaccuracies (unlike in the series, Vikings were well-aware that England lay to the west and Scandinavian society was remarkably egalitarian whereas, in the series, the Viking chieftain is an autocratic ruler), the show is well-produced and has excellent actors, including Gabriel Byrne and Gustaf Skarsgard.
In the show, Viking attacks are merely reasons for plunder while recent scholarship has shown the possibility that Viking raids were retaliation for mass executions and forced conversions by Christian kings, specifically those of Charlemagne against the Danes.
History aside, the show is great. Produced by the same people who did The Tudors, it is rich and violent, perfectly reflecting the spirit of Dark Age Europe and the rise of the powerful Scandinavian force that we call the Vikings. A force that ranged across Northern Europe, Russia, and even to the walls of Constantinople.
Any time that a show uses content from the classics I get excited because it implies that the writers care enough to add depth to their efforts. For a show that is about redemption, growth, and revenge, it just makes a richer meal.
The CW’s Arrow continues to demonstrate that and the February 13 episode was great. I’ll avoid spoilers but the episode was about Oliver’s time on the island, his relationship with Slade Wilson and more of the back story of Yao Fei.
We also get introduced to a future character from the DC lexicon, Shado and, as everyone can see from the promo pics on the internet, Felicity joins the team.
So that classical reference? It was a call phrase and an awesome one.
“Of all creatures that breathe and move upon the earth, nothing is bred that is weaker than man.” It is from Homer’s Odyssey, a story of a man who returns home against all odds. And a perfect phrase for this show.
The question is, can one really return home the same person?
And back with a vengeance!
The 3rd and final season of the epic show based on the historical slave revolt lead by a former gladiator named Spartacus (who also had a Gaulish gladiator as co-leader named Crixus), can be seen on Starz and they are offering the first episode for free online here.
With the introduction of the character of Crassus we finally get a Roman opponent who is both cunning and yet also with honor and some principles.
I really enjoyed how the episode presented Crassus, making him a more complex character than any of the previous Romans. Especially great was his relationship with his gladiator slave whom he trained with in the art of combat.
The actor playing Crassus is Simon Merrells and here’s a red-carpet interview with him. As with the previous seasons, all of the actors went through a grueling training program to get them to look and act as warriors trained for battle.
Looking forward to a great season and a dramatic send-off to Spartacus and his brave band!