Period dramas are a lot of fun to watch. Not only do they take you to a bygone time but they are a form of escapism from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. With technology and better quality in film making, these films/series have improved in quality over this years.
However, you could have the biggest budget, best actors and well-designed sets, and still produce a substandard production if the writing and direction of the piece isn’t up to par. Sky Atlantic’s Britannia excels in all these fronts and it has been a good pallet cleanser after how sour Game of Thrones’ final season was.
Hurdy Gurdy Man
Britannia is set in 43A.D and revolves around the invasion of Britain by Roman forces led by General Aulus Plautius (David Morrissey) as he faces off with not only the people of Britannia but the fabled Druids as well.
At first glance, Britannia plays out like normal period drama but then some weird things start happening. After the first few episodes, I realised this wasn’t a period drama but rather a low fantasy story with concepts like magic and curses being ever so subtle and invasive in the real world. At first, I didn’t like that but as the story unravelled, I began to understand exactly what this show was and once I understood it I came to love it.
The fantasy elements are not as strong as say Game of Thrones as a lot of it comes in the form of drug-fuelled rituals or some sort of sixth sense which only some characters process. This makes it more exciting with each new episode.
Season of The Witch
You’ll notice the headings in this piece are named after songs by folk-rock icon Donovan, and that’s because Britannia seems to have infused the drug-fuelled ancient world with the drug-fuelled hippie era via music. Donovan’s music plays a huge role in the series, notably with the title credits and his hauntingly beautiful Season of the Witch being used a few times in Season 2.
There are other old rock songs too that feel out of place in a period drama but right at home in Britannia. There’s a scene that involves a bunch of severed heads, amazing cinema photography and Richard Thompson’s cover of Season of The Witch that left the scene feeling otherworldly.
Season 2 did up the ante by a mile and seeing the brilliant Mackenzie Crook play a double role was something to behold. He is unrecognizable in Britannia and he has come a long way since his eyeball misplacing days in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Britannia is a wild show and it’s a lot of fun to watch. If you haven’t seen or heard of it yet ,I can’t stress enough how much you need to look it up. It has blown me away and I’m crossing fingers for a Season 3.