Esquire Network, the men’s lifestyle channel spin off of their popular magazine, is premiering their new Series Beowolf. The show stars Kieran Bew as Beowulf and features William Hurt, as well as Joanne Whalley, Ed Speleers, Laura Donnelly and David Ajala.
The show is a 13 part adaptation of the epic poem by the same name. Although the original material is based on historical events the show is mainly fantasy.
The show opens with a flashback battle where we see baby Beowolf fight off two huge monsters with a battle ax and learn the circumstance of his birth father’s tragic death and how he comes into the care of the Herot’s.
Flashing forward to the current day of the tale, Beowolf arrives at the the funeral of Hrothgar his adoptive father, played by William Hurt, and despite Beowolf’s reputation as a hero of exceptional skill he is received with a severe dose of shade and mistrust. Especially from his plotting step brother Slean (Ed Speleers of Downton Abbey). Beowolf ends up finding himself being accused of murder and embarking on a quest to take down the true culprit.
Rheda, played by Joanne Whalley, is Hrothgar’s widow and is appointed Herot’s new chosen Thane, she is not fully comfortable with her new role or with trusting Beowolf, but as a strong and shrewd woman she wields her power and alliances ever more deftly.
Beowolf is clearly shooting for the Game of Thrones Lite realm and trying to appeal to that fan base. A fantasy show being produced by a men’s lifestyle channel means viewers are in for a lot of man-buns and undercuts, mixed with smug party banter and running around dressed in fur pelts paired with modified sweaters and oodles of woven leather.
While not as tightly written as other period fantasy action dramas it offers a slice of life look at the exploits of an epic hero. There isn’t as much action as you might expect, it’s mostly skulking with some minor fighting, but there are computer generated monsters peppered throughout and enough swordplay and sweet finishing moves to keep things moving along. It will be interesting to see where the series goes with this timeless tale.
Beowolf premiers begins tonight Saturday, January 23rd at 10pm ET/PT on the Esquire Network.