Now that much of the necessary exposition is out of the way, it’s time to see what this series can do, and it’s looking pretty impressive. We get to see what is clearly going to be one of the key sets for the show (Narnia as imagined by Tim Burton, as one of the characters quite rightly describes it, and you have to suspect that there might be a script description line to that effect as well), and get to know a bit more about the background to the magical world.
Both young lead actors are visibly more relaxed this episode with their characters, and there’s a good chemistry between the two boys which bodes well for the future. Ford and Davies proved with the previous show that they can create interesting roles for the adults surrounding the central teenagers, and it’s good to see them involved right from the start, rather than having to find out what’s going on.
The decision to follow in the SJA lead by having physical monsters on set, rather than creating them in CGI, may well assist the actors’ performances, but at the moment the king is looking a bit too rubbery – leaving him wreathed in smoke might have been a smarter move. However, this is a quibble: there’s plenty in this story to keep audiences coming back to see the next round of the battle.
Verdict: A solid beginning. 7/10