New Show, “Beowulf”, to Premiere on Esquire Network This Saturday Night
Esquire Network launches its second original scripted series this weekend. Premiering Saturday, January 23rd at 10pm ET/PT, “Beowulf” is based on the legendary English poem over a thousand years old, which tells the story of a disillusioned and damaged hero. In this 13-episode one-hour drama, produced by ITV Studios, the series will chronicle Beowulf’s return to his home Herot, to make peace with his past.
Having watched the first episode with my wife, it seems that the show has promise and I am interested in watching the following dozen episodes. The pre-credit sequence kicks off with the death of Beowulf’s presumed father, while Beowulf is still a young adolescent, pushing him to have to fend off beasts. We see that, as he gets older, he still continues to battle beasts successfully in this first episode.
For the main part of the episode, Beowulf returns to the village, which is set in a lovely green area in northern England, where he grew up, but from which he had been banished as a teenager. Now, years later, he returns to the village amidst a political maelstrom. It is a time of turmoil within this village, as there is a change in leadership. Instead of selecting his son to take his place, William Hurt’s character, Hrothgar, having died, selected his wife (now widow) to take his place following his death. Having been trained by Hrothgar, Beowulf greatly wants to pay his respects to Hrothgar, although Beowulf is looked upon with great distrust as a persona non grata, yet some people are willing to extend him some begrudging welcome.
With Hrothgar’s widow taking the head leadership position in the village, there is great concern amongst certain villager causes concern, as they would have hoped a man take the head position. This is not the only position that certain characters are surprised that are filled by women. It made me wonder how much this would “truly” reflect gender expectations in that time. However, it seems that the creators of the show wanted to see what it would be like if women were able to fill roles in such a society that were typically filled by mine.
While the story seems interesting, there is a lot of information about who is who in the episode and what is going on that is simply not explained. While there are some pieces of information that are shared later on in the episode or that viewers can surmise, there is still a lot that is, unfortunately, not explained, leaving viewers somewhat in the dark. Nevertheless, the story is otherwise good.
There are two further aspects of the show that stand out: one great and one poor. Let’s start with the surprisingly great aspect of the show: the CGI beasts. There are several beasts that appear in the show and they are stunningly well done, with no indication that they are CGI – it seems movie quality; it’s really fantastic! On the other hand, the fight scenes are horrendously shot. My wife pointed out that they are not particularly well-done and, on top of that, they are atrociously shot and poorly edited. The one saving grace of the fight scenes is that, fortunately, one comes out of the fight scenes understanding what is going on in the story despite their poor quality.
Having seen the episode, I am interested in watching the coming dozen episodes of this epic drama, as it has a nice setting in a green northern England countryside and a compelling lead character. Beowulf is clearly a talented and skilled fighter who, despite being looked upon with a jaundiced eye by the villagers, is capable of saving them [from themselves, it would seem]. I am looking forward to continuing watching this show and I think it’s worth tuning in on Saturday night to check it out.