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Barbarians Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Creators: Andreas Heckmann, Arne Nolting, Jan Martin Scharf
Stars: Laurence Rupp, Jeanne Goursaud, David Schütter
Barbarians is a German Netflix series about ancient Germania, where tribes of, um, Germanians weren’t too thrilled to be under the thumb of the Roman empire. Like many shows before it, it has blood and sex and a tenuous grip on history — and probably a built-in audience of people who eat up this kind of stuff like NASCAR tailgaters at a pig roast. Now let’s see if it’ll stick to your ribs.
Opening Shot: A boy runs through the woods, playfully shouting, “The wolf is coming!”
The Gist: Teutoberg Forest, a coupla centuries ago. Thusnelda (Jeanne Goursaud) is instructed by her father to stop being happy and let him sell her to the chief of another Germanic tribe. Daddy will get five horses and an alliance; she’ll get a lifetime of subservience. Such is the state of feminism in 9 A.D. It’s also a time when one of the Caesars — Braydynn Caesar, I think — sent his legions into middle Europe to get all imperialist. It doesn’t go over well, but there’s a tentative peace, until some Roman a-holes show up and demand all the goats and cabbages from Thusnelda’s tribe as tax, and because they think all Germans are primitive [INSERT TITLE OF SHOW HERE]. They try to make the tribal leader kisseth the golden Roman eagle on a stick, but what with one thing and another, a scuffle ensues, and a Roman brute clubs Thusnelda’s little brother Ansgar (Jeremy Miliker), turning his skull into soup. Downside: The kid sits in the thoroughfare all day, drooling. Upside: Everyone’s forgotten about her shitty arranged marriage.
Thusnelda has been secretly commingling with Folkwin Wolfspeer (David Schutter), who really knows how to use his wolfspeer, it seems. They’re angry about Ansgar. So angry, Thusnelda consults the local witch doctor and prays to the Women of the Wood — including, but not limited to the Sister of Rage — to send her Ruin and Death. They come up with an idea: infiltrate the Roman camp and steal the eagle on a stick, because it’s a HIGHLY SYMBOLIC eagle on a stick. She’ll pose as a prostitute, he’ll be the pimp and two pals will help them by swimming through sewage, which seemed to make sense while I was watching it? I dunno.
Anyway, this is a treacherous plan, because we just saw the Romans — led by Varus (Gaetano Aronica), whose cape is attached to the nipple rings on his man-chest armor, hello — behead the snot out of a German guy pretty much just because he was a German guy. RIP German guy. We hardly knew ye, because ye’re scene was so short. Thusnelda and Folkwin pull off the heist, walking slowly away from a Distraction Fire in the Roman camp and arriving in the village the next morn with eagle on a stick held high. That night, the Germanians celebrate with ale and a fire, around which they dance by grunting and thumping their chests. Thusnelda and Folkwin have their own private celebration with a doink and a sexy couples’ bath. But the postcoital sponging is interrupted when the Romans arrive to piss on the party.
Our Take: A bear has been poked. The question is, who’s the poker and who’s the bear? Barbarians is rooted in the true story of a Germanic alliance clobbering a whole lotta Romans, thus preventing further expansion of the empire on their dirtlands. Whether there was a real Thusnelda or Folkwin, and if they made love to the howl of the wolves thrice daily, well, I don’t care. They’re the heroes and we want to see them fight and f—, and fight and f— they do.
The show bullseyes every cliche of series like these: Sex, violence, a kernel or three of history, gloomy lighting, haughty oppressors, righteous oppressees, etc. It’s reasonably well-executed, although after one episode, we have yet to see an inevitable large-scale battle sequence, rendering it difficult to determine its artistic merits. These things live and die by their battle sequences, see. Game of Thrones had a couple great ones. Barbarians isn’t likely to achieve that level of guts and fire, but if the first episode’s beheading scene is evidence, it carries a promise of some good old-fashioned brutal bowel-wrenching graphic-ass violence. If you’ve already burned through all the aforementioned series, you’re probably game for this one.
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