Esquire's "Beowulf" Pilot Review
Beowulf is an old English epic poem that has been told from generation to generation. There have been many retellings and movies made based on the story of Beowulf. The Esquire Network is bringing the legend to life for their second original scripted series. This 13-episode series chronicles the hero’s return home. Minor spoilers for the pilot episode of the series throughout this review. Beowulf, played by Kieran Bow is an orphaned child who is raised by Hrothgar (William Hurt) who is the Thane (Leader) of Herot and the Shieldlands Alliance. Hrothgar takes in Beowulf after his father is killed by mud born. The mud born are monsters like trolls, werewolves, giants, and more. As a man Beowulf is an adventurer with his sidekick coming home to his tribe after 20 years of travelling. He also goes back to Herot to pay his respects to Hrothgar after his recent passing. Beowulf did not leave his village on good terms, so his return is less than welcomed. Rheda (Joanne Whalley), Hrothgar’s wife and the new Thane of Herot allows Beowulf to stay for her husband’s feast/wake, but her son Slean (Ed Speelers) is ticked that his old training partner is welcomed into his house. Slean also has a chip on his shoulder since his father did not name him as his heir. After the feast is concluded there is a murder and Beowulf is a suspect. He is arrested and sent to be executed while Elvina (Laura Donnelly) is taken by a mysterious creature. Beowulf escapes and goes after the monster. He is searching for something, someone, and a reason to fight for. The pilot was good the CGI could be better. Knowing the story of Beowulf and seeing it in this form gives you a different perspective on the conflicted hero. In most stories you are thrown into the mix with him being a total badass who slays monsters and beds the maidens. This story has a lot going for it and in ways is an origin story to a tale we all may know.
The way that the show is presented is like Game of Thrones meets Vikings. It has shortcomings when it comes to CGI and the story has some holes that I would like to see fixed in later episodes. It is a brave project that writer James Dormer of the Strike Back series and executive producers Tim Haines, and Katie Newman have set on. I recommend that you catch this new series when it launches on the Esquire Network on January 23rd at 10pm.