Olympus: Review: Series 1 Episode 1: The Temple of Gaia

OlympusCome with us to a (cut-price) time of myth and legend…

I had moderately high hopes for Olympus. After all, the pedigree of the production was pretty good, with creator Nick Willing behind some of Syfy’s more interesting reworkings of classic stories, including Tin Man. From the way it was announced, it sounded as if it could be a more upmarket version of the BBC’s Atlantis, perhaps learning from where that series went wrong (particularly in its first season).

The first ten minutes of the opening episode dashed those hopes. Our hero, Hero, (not a typo – that’s his name) wakes in a cave where he’s been placed ready to be dealt with by a blade-wielding Cyclops (whose eye is in his mouth). The set is all CG… but not the CG of the 21st Century. Nope, this is clearly designed as a homage to that classic reworking of such myths, Doctor Who’s infamous 1978 story, Underworld, where characters’ feet disappeared, and nothing quite looked the right size in comparison with anything else. Those who have complained about the new Thunderbirds’ problems with depth of field? Well, compared with this, Thunderbirds is Avatar-esque in its complexity.

Post-blood dripping titles, we cut to the siege of Athens and someone berating his courtiers for not coming up with a decent plan. We’re not exactly sure who’s who here (although one of them knows all about the siege of Troy) but the King is married to Medea, who’s bleeding her own son to try to get some sort of prophetic plan.

And then there’s a battle sequence. We live in a world where hundreds of soldiers can be computer generated. But no, we see six or seven fighting with acres of space around them and we’re meant to believe that there’s a whole army fighting. Arrows that look like white tracers are fired, and one of them (magically with a coloured flight on it) hits a key person in the right shoulder. Cue wailing and…

…and if you’ve got any sense, finding something else to watch. You’ll avoid seeing things that make 300: Rise of an Empire look like Shakespeare, and a pair of “mismatched heroes” going through a wood in a scene that was done to death in Shrek, let alone anywhere else.

Maybe it’ll get better. It certainly can’t get much worse.

Verdict: Olympus has fallen. Avoid! 1/10

Paul Simpson



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