*Light Spoilers get packed in a wooden horse and left on the stoop*
Somehow, Netflix has gone and broke the Troy curse. The greatest love story in ancient history has been properly adapted for the silver screen, and it is pretty damn astounding. We all know that Helen and Paris fall in love, setting in motion the bloody 10 year war. But if I’m keepin’ it 100, I’m just here for this spot on representation of so many legendary heroes on both sides of the god instigated and influenced conflict. Troy: Fall of a City sets itself apart from 90% of Iliad adaptations by going behind those historic walls and giving us a great depiction of the tough (and completely wrong) decisions that were made causing the tragic downfall of a historic empire.
Shot in Cape Town, South Africa, the worlds of Troy, Sparta, Greece and the surrounding landscapes are incredibly vast and absolutely stunning. Cape Town did this show and its creators so many favors with such beautiful and diverse terrain. The plains, hills, and mountainous regions are lush with vegetation. The beach and sea scenes are as glorious as the shimmering Mediterranean.
But setting alone does nothing for a show of this magnitude and ambition. The created sets that compliment each location are equally impressive. The walls of Troy look high and imposing but not farfetched from the barrier that inspired them. Far too often, filmmakers become obsessed with the scale of their production and transforming legendary moments from ancient history into larger than life versions of their true size and nature. The inside of the city is intricate, yet simple.
The cast is on point. All actors are British, Australian, South African and various European ethnicities, giving each character an authentic feel. But what truly makes this tale a proper take on the ancient Greek mythos was the decision to represent Achilles and the gods as the Black, Brown, white and olive skinned faces that they were. Zeus, Athena, and Hera are all very visible POC.
Even the actors that play Hermes and Aphrodite come from Ireland and South Africa. I was thrilled to see the creators of this show bless our Trojan War heroes with so many looks and shades.Then, we got Aeneas out here reppin that bummy chic Keith Stanfield look while straight bodying Greek soldiers at every turn?! *Chris Tucker voice* Do you understand the words that are comin’ out of my mouth?!?
A black Achilles fam! Not a blonde haired, skim milk Brad Pit ass youngin. A properly aged, brolic brother who isn’t afraid to show affection for his right hand man Patroklus, make love to men and women, or go on an grief stricken rampage. A dark skinned demigod who lives for the thrill of being in the middle of it all and having every single eye on him before he kills his opponent. Maaannn listen!
*Heavy Spoilers Be Waiting In The Escape Tunnel*
Troy: Fall of a City separates itself from most modern bloody-period-pieces by dialing down on the murderous gore and raising the writing bar to give viewers an authentic look at the pain and turmoil inside the walls of Troy. This is, after all, a show about the fall of the infamous city. The rising tension is instantaneously palpable. Paris returning from Sparta with a “stolen” Queen was a hell of a way to make an impact on the boujee mofos that just took yo dusty, farmer ass in off the streets. Indecision and uncertainty inside the royal family makes for good drama. King Priam and son Hector differ on many topics, and it feels right when the son finally surpasses the father, taking command of the Trojan Army. Beef between Hector’s wife and Helen is there for all to see but luckily did not venture into over the top or caddy, jealous territory.
My one beef with this series is how they portrayed the passing of time throughout this conflict. Yes, they do an amazing job of showing one issue after the next, but without much visual change in facial hair, aging or seasonal differences. So you never get a good sense of, “Oh it’s been 2 years since Achilles refused to fight” or anything like that. The writing does most of the heavy lifting in that sense, along with the well known timing of different events. Still, it would’ve been nice to get a ‘Year 1, Year 3, etc.”
When that Agamemnon sacrifice finally hits, your whole understanding of this show shifts and the stakes get So. Fuckin. Real.
The Amazons pullin up to put put [fight] the paws on Achilles?! Seeing so many different shapes, sizes and shades of each warrior woman damn near brought a tear to my eye.
Every single damn thing about The gods! These omnipotent beings just sit perched high on their thrones watching the chaos and madness all go down. I was losing my shit when the first big clash of the war was beginning and each god sauntered through the battlefield bestowing blessings upon different warriors. That scene was shot so well that I legit got goosebumps and thought, “This is Thrones level greatness right here.”
The conversations between Zeus and other gods are so powerful that the show is just begging fans to call for a full on Mount Olympus series. The final scenes clearly open things up for an Odyssey inspired sequel. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
At $22 million (USD), this was an ambitious effort on the part of BBC. They certainly hit their mark in terms of a visually appealing show. The faces and places both deliver. Did they manage to create the answer to Westeros and it’s unrivaled inhabitants? In a word, NA. Unfortunately, the combat just doesn’t compare. You get a few moments of God Tier television, like the Hector and Achilles battle to the death, but you’re left wanting more too much. It was enjoyable, don’t get me wrong. The fights are good, just give me some more dammit! The pace picks up in the 2nd episode and really makes you want to get your Troy binge on. Check it out on Netflix, now.