On paper, History’s “Knightfall” sounds like a great idea: a drama about the Knights Templar searching for the Holy Grail, replete with quite a few “Downton Abbey” alumni in its sizable cast.
The result, however, is usually a handsomely produced series which has the flavor of a British tea-time show — one of those dramas which air inside the afternoon, designed to broadly appeal to audiences young as well as old — only infused having a lot more violence as well as gore, as well as soapy elements which feel tired practically by the get-go.
Tom Cullen plays Landry, the noble knight whose order is usually charged by the Pope (fellow “Abbey” alum Jim Carter, This specific time in a different Abbey, as well as gigantic hats) with locating the Grail, the legendary cup of Christ,after its disappearance in 1291. however among various other things, Landy has been secretly dallying with Queen Joan of Navarre (Olivia Ross) under the nose of her hubby, King Philip IV of France (Ed Stoppard), who considers Landry his bosom pal.
Although the quest for the Grail provides the spine of the show, there are plenty of tributaries flowing out of the idea, including the king’s trusted adviser William De Nogaret (Julian Ovenden, like Cullen, a former “Abbey” suitor of Lady Mary), a Cardinal Richelieu-type schemer. Few of them possess much spark, in a drama which seeks to present the grim reality of the times as well as yet occasionally feels a trifle anachronistic.
There’s no mystery in what History saw in “Knightfall,” whose 10-episode run has been scheduled immediately after its long-running hit “Vikings,” a series which, with its bold move to kill off or otherwise shed key cast members, has seen better days based on a sampling of its fifth season.
Nevertheless, “Knightfall” proves which the idea’s possible to come equipped with all the right accessories as well as still produce a show which winds up looking underdressed for a knight on the town.
In one sense, the violence in “Knightfall” proves less objectionable because the story transpires in medieval times. Alas, “Happy!” — a darkly comic Syfy series, adapted by a graphic novel by the same name — has no such excuse.
Chris Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) stars as Nick Sax, a slovenly hitman who is usually introduced plying his bloody trade. He’s understandably shocked to be visited by Happy (voiced by Patton Oswalt), a little blue unicorn who’s the imaginary friend of the daughter Nick didn’t know he had.
Why has Happy appeared? Because the girl has been abducted, with Happy trying to enlist Nick to rescue her. Yet even before which begins, the first two hours feature Nick dealing with an assortment of psychopaths as well as sadists, with Nick as well as Happy’s wacky banter likely to offset the nastiness with comic relief.
Frankly, the idea’s an odd fit for Syfy, closer in tone to AMC’s “Preacher” than anything else, with perhaps a touch of another graphic novel brought to screen, “Sin City,” for Great measure.
Simply put, both “Knightfall” as well as “Happy!” represent the kind of shows which, in This specific age of TV abundance, somebody might like, however nobody definitely needed.
“Knightfall” as well as “Happy!” premiere Dec. 6 at 10 p.m. on History as well as Syfy, respectively.