Posted by: markfender | December 2, 2015

The Last Kingdom

Hey, remember when I talked about The Last Kingdom and how it was being made into a television series?

last-kingdom-thumbWell, that series finally aired and I watched it.

And it compares fairly favorably to the book. There are a few changes, mostly increasing some of the roles of the not-main character and reframing some battles so the lead gets to be the big(ger) hero. Since David Dawson is pretty excellent as King Alfred, I think most of the changes for the television genre were good.

The plot basically follows the first two books of the series. Since I didn’t read the second book, I got kind of confused somewhere in episode 4 where it started divulging wildly from what I remembered. But that’s not the series fault (and won’t impact you at all if you’re not trying to follow along with your own copy at home). I only have two real complaints.

For one, I’m not that fond of Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred. He’s competent and all, but he just reminds me too much of Luke Evans. Luke Evans has got to the blandest action star currently working, so seeing his television equivalent for eight hours wasn’t great. (I also think the costuming was a bit odd…what it necessary to give Uhtred giant furry pauldrons that mess up his profile in every scene?)

The second thing I didn’t really like was the end. Because it just sort of…ended. There was a big battle, as had been promised since episode one, and then….a voiceover described the events. Was that seriously the best you could do?

Overall, I liked the show. It’s in the same vein of Cornwall’s other stuff – military alt-history, and follows similar beats to the BBC’s Sharpe stuff. But those were entertaining and this has proven to be as well. Just ignore the bland ending, I guess.

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