Critical Condition: Britannia

Britannia | SoHo, 8.30 Wednesday

➢ “Violence it has. Also, domestic drama. Dynastic intrigue. A soupçon of the supernatural. Set in A.D. 43, during the second Roman invasion of the British Isles-to-be, the nine-part Britannia also displays what might be an unfortunate side effect of the rise of bingeable drama–the seeming nonchalance with which writers are approaching a storyline.” — Wall Street Journal.

➢ “Britannia, which is weird and druggy and at times howling mad, is rather funny. It definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a bit of a riot. You might not expect that of something that has extreme violence as its meat and drink, but Jez and Tom Butterworth have created a historical drama full of serious actors that manages not to take itself too seriously, which sort of dilutes the gore. The dialogue feels contemporary and is often laced with sarcasm.” — The Times.

➢ “At least Britannia gets the year it’s supposed to take place right. After that, nothing much really matters in this slightly salacious, but often enjoyable spectacle … The production values are fairly good – there are some gorgeous landscapes – and Butterworth drops in a number of juicy scenes with fun dialogue to spice things up along the way, especially once you accept that there is little historical about Britannia.” — Los Angeles Daily News.

➢ “So far, Britannia has gone lighter on the sex and heavier on the gore and drugs than GoT – you simply cannot move for people ingesting berries, smoking literal weed (moss, mostly) and inhaling hallucinogenic twig fumes and coming too in a ditch reckoning they’ve been to the underworld and back. We only see one naked couple in the first episode and they’re not even blood relations. More spliffs, less incest seems to be Britannia’s motto.” — The Guardian.

➢ “It behoves me to say quite firmly that Britannia is the barmiest thing I’ve seen on TV since just about forever. The obvious influences are Tolkien and George RR Martin, though I also detect a dash of Rosemary Sutcliff – Jez would be of an age for The Eagle of the Ninth – and perhaps a pinch, too, of Carry On Cleo.” — New Statesman.

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