‘Beowulf: Return To The Shieldlands’ is a fantasy drama unlike any other – and I’m not sure if that’s good or not.
After leaving Heorot for reasons unknown, Beowulf (Kieran Bew) returns to his home with his friend Breca (Gísli Örn Garðarsson)to find its thane, Hrothgar (William Hurt), dead. Hrothgar’s wife, Rheda (Joanne Whalley) has assumed the position of thane of Heorot and is trying to become the leader that the Shieldlands deserves and become ruler of all the towns and cities. While this is happening, Beowulf has to fight his own quests and battles while helping Rheda and defeating the dark forces that are at work throughout the Shieldlands.
I must say, this series doesn’t get off to a good start. The first episode is really confusing, with six or seven unrelated plot-lines all strung and mixed together to create an episode where the audience has no clue as to what is going on. I found that with the first few episodes of the show, it was best to just focus on one character’s story rather than trying to comprehend all of the cast’s plots.
Speaking of cast – in my opinion, there are far too many characters in this series. in the first few episodes you’re introduced to some characters who you think are going to play a main part, but end up only being in it for a small part of the series. Then some characters appear as minor characters halfway through the series and end up playing important roles in the show towards the end. A great example of this would be the character Kela (played by Holly Earl), who is introduced as a minor character from a place in the Shieldlands seen once and never mentioned again, and then in the next few episodes she ends up as part of the Heorot royal family!
Despite of the confusing story and busy cast, there are some good scenes in ‘Beowulf’. Some of the fight scenes are good, with the final action sequence in the last episode being one of the best. Some of the characters’ stories are quite good and interesting, however I feel this show lacks something to make it really good. There just seems to be something lost in the jumble of stories and characters which doesn’t make this series as good as I hoped it could be. A lot of potentially exciting and interesting characters are either under-used or killed off, and the use of confusing words like ‘thane’ and ‘yurt’ without any explanation make it all the more worse.
I’m still on the fence about how I feel about this show. The story is confusing yet some aspects are good and the fights and battles can be good too. However, its lack of overall excitement makes me doubt how much I really like this series, so for this I’ll have to give ‘Beowulf: Return To The Shieldlands’ six-out-of-ten.
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