So, Troy: Fall of a City started on the BBC last night. The first episode – Black Blood – began with the Judgement of Paris and ended with Paris’ return to Troy from Sparta with Helen hidden aboard his ship.
If I had to describe the episode in one word, it would be ‘ordinary’. Everyone and everything in Black Blood was ordinary. The gods looked like any man or woman one of the humans might meet; the great hero Hector (played by Tom Weston-Jones, seen in the still below, riding Paris, played by Louis Hunter) was simply a fairly well built man rather than glossy, six packed hero; Menelaus could have walked into his palace from the Queen Vic. and while Helen was certainly good looking in a 21st century sort of way – high cheekbones and slender – there was nothing about her that said this is the face that launched a thousand ships or that she was the most beautiful woman in the world.
The dominant colours of the episode were grey and green, there was plenty dust and dirt; Hector’s fight with Paris was as epic as a bar fight and the sex scenes the same as so many others – grunt ‘n’ thrust; likely to appeal to 16 year old boys only. All so cliche’d and ordinary.
Of course, this was just Episode One (of Eight) so there is plenty of time for the series to improve. The aesthetic won’t, so we shall have to get used to the grungy feel of it. I don’t mind that – Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy (2004) told the tale of Troy’s fall in a more glamorous way so it would be boring to see the same done here. I do hope, however, that the characters are allowed to grow into the epic nature of the tale.
Credit Where It’s Due
Hector and Paris: The Independent