The Almighty Johnsons: Review: Series 1 Ep 1

Axl Johnson isn’t expecting much from his 21st birthday – get drunk, maybe get laid. He certainly doesn’t expect to learn that he and his brothers are reincarnations of the Norse gods. Seriously.

Although at times this first episode feels as if the show is going to be aiming at a teen audience, by the time you get to the end, it’s going to appeal much more widely, especially to those who enjoy shows like Lost Girl, with its similar irreverent take on ancient mythologies. Where Lost Girl updates the fairy world with the Fae, The Almighty Johnsons grabs the Norse world of Asgard and rewrites it for a 21st century audience.

And before you think, “oh it’s a Thor rip-off,” the take on the subject matter is completely different. In the Marvel movie, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor never fails to know that he’s a god, and acts as such throughout; here, the Johnsons live ordinary lives, on the whole not over-using their (rather depleted) powers. Mike, the eldest, is a hunter but doesn’t seem to want to use that power that much. Anders, the god of poetry, is the black sheep of the family and finds a more carnal use for his ability to use words. Ty, apparently the god of war, can make things turn cold – which comes across as weak as it sounds!

Emmett Skilton has to play the sceptic turned believer Axl, and his reactions, combined with some razor sharp dialogue which cuts at pretensions a moment before the viewer would lose any interest, sell the concept. There are a few clichés in the set up: Axl has a roommate who’s in love with him, but he doesn’t notice; and there are a band of female hunters after him. Anyone who gets to the end of episode 1 and hasn’t guessed who their leader is can’t have watched any of this sort of programme before!

Verdict: Sharp enough to sell its unlikely premise, The Almighty Johnsons will be worth spending a few hours with…  7/10

Paul Simpson

The Almighty Johnsons starts on Thursday February 2nd on Syfy UK

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