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The Letter for the King Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Creator: William Davies
Stars: Amir Wilson, Ruby Ashbourne Serkis, Thaddea Graham
The Gist: Cate Blanchett Lite narrates some exposition about this land and that land and how it borders the other land. The bloodthirsty Prince Viridian (Gijs Blom) lords over a massive army bent on conquering the snot out of the other land, Eviellan. He stands on a hill and the soldiers roar and Cate Blanchett Lite says something about a prophecy in which a hero will defeat “the coming darkness,” probably wrought by this a-hole.
Cut to Dagonaut, 3,000 miles away. Tiuri (Amir Wilson) awakens as if from a bad dream, perhaps by the sheer ominous drama of Cate Blanchett Lite’s voiceover. He looks over to his pet falcon, and it craps on its pedestal. Some things to know about this 16-year-old: He lives not in a castle, but a CAHHSTLE. He sort of wants to be a knight, even though he mostly sucks at swords. He’s set to participate in a tournament to determine who will be the next generation of Dagonaut’s knights. He sees a face in a flock of birds, which swoop down upon him; he sometimes hears whispers that nobody else hears. He doesn’t know who his father is, but his stepfather is Faramir himself (David Wenham), the lesser of the two -mirs, but Borimir ended up on Game of Thrones, so, you know.
Meanwhile, in a poorly lit tent very far away, Viridian, who’s like, way into murder, sends a number of messengers off to gallop into the night. A black-armored knight, hoping to stall the evil prince’s evil imperialist endeavors, intercepts one of the messages. Back in Dagonaut, the trials begin, and somehow, Tiuri went from inept to halfway ept in two scenes. Curious. Viridian stabs an Eviellanian shaman and some magic happens that he might control? I’m not sure. The trials continue to go well for Tiuri, except one of his opponents says Faramir himself paid him to lose. Tiuri and some other finalists for knighthood face one final task: sitting in a haunted chapel overnight and not moving, talking, wiggling, scratching or touching their faces the whole time, no matter what happens, whatever that what might be.
But: KNOCKKNOCKKNOCK goes the chapel door, and Tiuri can’t just sit there. He answers the call, and it’s the black knight, injured, begging him to take (deep breath) the Letter for the King (exhale) to the king, of course. Evil Viridian’s evil Red Riders arrive to kill things and get the letter, but Tiuri takes the black knight’s horse off into the woods — and right over a cliff into the river. The horse emerges, but what happened to Tiuri? Surely he’s dead, and the series will find some other underdog to fulfill the prophecy. Who wants to take that bet?
Our Take: The Letter for the King is one of those stories where everything is named the Thing of the Other Thing, and everyone is not named names like Bill or Sally or Chester, but rather things that sound like obscure elements on the periodic table. There’s always some kind of cretinous baddie and a chump of destiny destined to defy all the odds — all of them! — and become the hero of the land.
One episode in, and the series ain’t half bad, touching all the touchstones of the genre, if not really turning over any new stones. I assume this is because it adheres to the source material, which surely doesn’t feature modern fantasy tropes such as extreme torture or extreme sexiness. So far, there’s no sign of dragons, bogleeches or things with the head of one thing and the body of another thing, but there’s still five episodes to go. Those things might be on the costly end of things, although the series makes pretty good use of its budget via some decent production values. It remains to be seen if Wilson manages to summon some charisma as the series lead, but so far, he’s fine, landing a B-, just like the series itself.
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