REVIEW: Britannia is Amazon's Attempt at GOT

Yes that is the governor and some other people. Who cares. I didn't. You won't.

Amazon decided to take a pretty fucked up approach to challenging GOT for the medieval drama crown. For those of you who don't know Britannia follows the Roman Army led General Aulus Plautis (David Morrissey) by to return to England (you know before it was England) to destroy the Celts and their druid friends. Naturally, they aren't going to just sit there and take it. Instead, they will ramp up the violence and take some drugs.

Like a serious amount of drugs.

For the record this isn't a GOT ripoff, but a pegged legged attempt at making real historical attempts seem fantastical. Pre-Christian British Isles is a fantastic setting. Druids, Celts, Roman Soldiers and mysticism are all wonderfully and perfect backdrops, but the execution needs redone.

When I reviewed Altered Carbon I noted how awesome the violence was in the show and the impact it had on the story for a nation starved for TV violence (that might be an exaggeration). I also looked up the word "gratuitous." Yup, that's how I would describe Britannia's violence. The plot wasn't advanced through the wanton killings. Granted, it didn't bother me, but if you were hoping that it would lead to something with some substance along the lines of Walking Dead or Game of Thrones you were sure to be disappointed.

This guy bangs Andrea AND wears a purple tunic? Gross.

The one major redeeming quality (for me) is the inclusion of druids as a centerpiece in the program, but for some reason the writers chose to bore viewers to death. The story line is linked together that provides a beginning, middle and conclusion, but the road there is dark and full of terrors...damn it...I mean slow and terribly drawn out. The violence felt like it was there to distract us from the fact that the dialogue stunk.

Another thing that sticks out is the strange need to be PC in the show. Now, it is not lost to me that we live in an age where this is critical to the fabric of society, but it seems out of place in the show. Just seems that at a time when the world was hardly considered socially conscious that it was so prevalent it became a distraction.

We are Romans. Not Degos. Remember kids we are conscripted from all over Europe. Pizza is the bomb though.

Perhaps the biggest plus from the show are the strong female leads. Now, I know I just got down saying that the show is oddly PC at times, but that doesn't mean the female leads can't steal the show. Queen Antedia (Zoe Wanamaker) and Kerra (Kelly Reilly) maintain a powerful presence throughout season 1 and show the impact women had on Celtic society. If there was any real reason to stay with this show they are it. They put the people first even at the expense of their personal loyalties. It's a cliche trope, but woman in this show have a knack for defying their fathers to advance their goals. It works, but just be ready to expect it.

Season 1 ends with quite the cliffhanger surrounding Kerra (I won't spoil it), but suffice to say fans of the show are begging Amazon didn't make a stupid decision with the writing.

There's also Cait (Eleanor Worthington-Cox). Cait is a young girl entering womanhood who undergoes the trials of her peoples. A bent, but not broken story line follows her. In the realm of Aria Stark, but it holds up well. You'll see some familiar plot points, but she's on her own path in Britannia. Hopefully, the writer's flesh it out more in season 2.

Here is one of the two reasons to watch this show (Kelly Reilly). An Irish redhead. Who likes to kick ass.

The show isn't awful, but it isn't a substitute for those of us waiting with our thumbs in our asses for GOT. If you are looking for some historically based television action (sorta like Rome from HBO, but with better CGI. Less sex though.) then it'll get you through the tough times. Just be prepared for a few bumps along the way.

All photos are from Amazon Prime Video.

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