Your next box set binge watch: Britannia [TV review]
Looking for a brand new box set to devour? Check out what we thought Sky Atlantic’s bloody Britannia…
Britannia is a bargain bin rip-off of Game of Thrones, trying desperately to hover up that seemingly insatiable ‘adult fantasy’ TV audience. But if your part of the legions of Game of Thrones megafans who are facing down another year without their favourite show – do you even care?
Set around the Roman conquest of Britain, Britannia is about the clash between the might of Rome and the murky secrets, magic and mystery of the native Brits and the Druids. It follows the Game of Thrones format in that it tracks several story threads at once (although not quite as many) that cross and interweave as the plot starts to thicken.
It might have a prestige drama budget, but Britannia’s tongue is firmly tongue in its cheek, being positively camp in its moments of drama and goofy in its (surprisingly, multiple) moments of comedy. In fact, its tone is closer to that of the BBC’s family friendly Merlin and Robin Hood than Game of Thrones or Rome.
David Morrissey is clearly having a ball playing the sinister Roman general Aulus Plautius, as is Zoë Wanamaker as profanity spitting Queen Antedia, sporting an 80s glam costume courtesy of Gaul Couture.
Eleanor Worthington-Cox’s Cait starts off as an Arya Stark rip-off when a massacre cuts her off from her family, but she ends the series with, dare I say it, a far more interesting arc than her Game of Thrones counterpart. Kelly Reilly holds up as Kerra, a Celtic princess there to tick the ‘strong female character’ box, and has a mop of huge ginger hair that makes the whole series watching. Actually, hats off to the whole hair and make-up team, because the looks they’ve come up with are wonderfully bonkers and a total joy to see the actors try to pull off.
So, if you like your prestige TV 100% organic, then Britannia isn’t going to mount a creditable invasion in to your telly watching schedule. But if you’re just looking for something to stick on while you do the ironing, Britannia rules the (TV) waves.