If you’re a fan of History’s Vikings, you may have anxiously awaited the arrival of Knightfall, another History series (on A&E TV in the United States) that looks to carve its own notch into the ledger of historical drama.
This review does not contain plot-specific spoilers.
The first episode begins with a high-octane battle, with knights and forts, and flashing steel; opening at the height of action is a risk, as it could make the rest of the episode seem dull by comparison. It doesn’t necessarily happen in this case, as the intrigue reveals itself gradually, and the story flows naturally out of the action.
Overall though, pilot episodes are difficult to review because they require a juggling act of enough story to keep the interest of the audience, an appropriate setting of the tone for the rest of the series, and an introduction to many of the concepts that will anchor the series as it progresses. Some leeway needs to be offered to the creators who are, ultimately, trying to do enough to get executives to buy their show.
Knightfall hits the marks that it needs to: it offers a glimpse into the future and an introduction to the narrative arc that will drive the characters going forward, and even offers a few twists that even the cleverest of viewers may not see coming (this writer didn’t.)
The show does not hide what it’s major story arc is going to be in the first season, with an ample amount of foreshadowing preceding the big reveal, and that’s okay. Not every show needs a spreadsheet to figure out the plot threads.
The action scenes were good, though they felt a little few and far between; the second major action set-piece was far more interesting than the first, and the context was far more engaging as well. The Knights will be the heroes, with the main villain as yet to be determined.
The show’s potential (within the context of history) is almost limitless, given the fame the Knights Templar achieved over the length of their order’s existence, which should excite fans somewhat familiar with history.
Overall, Knightfall offered a fine start.
It set the tone for comes next and it likely merits watching the second episode to see if it fulfills some of the promise of the first.
And, call me old fashioned, but I’m a sucker for seeing dudes in armor smacking each other with swords.
Knightfall airs Wednesdays at 10 on History
Feature image is courtesy of History TV