Esquire Network’s ‘Beowulf’ Premiere Reclaims the Legend (Spoiler-Free Review)

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beowulf

Kieran Bew as Beowulf (via Esquire TV)

Created by James Dormer, Esquire Network‘s second original series, Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, premieres January 23rd at 10pm ET/PT and is a must watch. Kieran Bew leads the show as Beowulf himself and sets on a journey in a fantasy-land full of mystery and mythical creatures to avenge a fallen friend.

Right off the bat, Beowulf starts off the show with some man versus monster action with their CGI-generated creatures. The show does a great job of balancing the acting of the characters with the CGI without making it obvious that there’s a green screen in the background. The episode does not over do it with the CGI and makes the interaction with the creatures more realistic than other shows and movies with a bigger budget.

Kieran Bew delivers a great performance as Beowulf and shows off his physical ability in a short fight scene against a couple guards. Beowulf is the mysterious bad-ass you want to love and I can’t wait to see his character develop throughout the series. The episode does a great job of making smooth transitions from Beowulf’s flashbacks to the present story line. Breca, played by Gisli Gardarsson, also provides a nice contrast to Beowulf’s character and is easily one of my favorite characters thus far. While Beowulf is the strong and silent type, Breca is the funny ladies man and is in one of my favorite scenes in the premiere.

Breca: “Where’s the smith?”
Blacksmith: “You’re looking at her.”
Breca: “You’re a girl.”
Blacksmith: “With a big hammer.”
Breca pulls out broken dagger
Breca: “Think you can fix this with that big hammer of yours?”
Blacksmith: “If you pay upfront I can.”
Breca: “You don’t think I’m good for it?”
Blacksmith: “Does being judged in your appearance trouble you?”

Beowulf is breaking the gender stereotypes and challenges the roles men and women play in society.

Growing up, I did not know much about the legend of Beowulf aside from the 2007 film with Ray Winstone and Angelina Jolie. Like many others, I know more about Hercules and Thor from Greek and Norse mythology respectively. What I like about Beowulf compared to other myths is that it tells the story of a normal human instead of an all-powerful god that can just use their powers to solve every problem. I look forward to learning more about the legend and Dormer’s interpretation of it.

My biggest criticism to the show is that there are many elements that resemble Game of Thrones. To name a few, there were the opening credits, the prince and queen that audience will hate, and the giant wall. Beowulf however, proves itself to be its own show and not a copycat. Every fantasy story is bound to have similarities with another and Beowulf stands out with its amazing actors, by breaking stereotypes, and its awesome CGI.

I will definitely add Beowulf to my list of shows to keep up with and I look forward to following Kieran Bew on his adventures as Beowulf.

5

Summary

Superb episode that introduces viewers to the legend of Beowulf. Not to be confused with the movie with Angelina Jolie, Beowulf is a must must watch.

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