A ‘big and gory’ historical drama is set to be released in the UK shortly before Christmas, and it may be just what we need until House of the Dragon returns.
Some people choose to watch lighthearted films and TV series over the holiday season, in keeping with the festive spirit.
Others, on the other hand, will always go towards gritty, gloomy, and hard-hitting releases, which is why The Winter King may be perfectly up their alley.
The programme, which will premiere on ITVX soon before Christmas, is based on the fabled legends of King Arthur and stars Iain De Caestecker as the banished warlord Arthur Pendragon, the illegitimate son of King Uther (Eddie Marsan).
In the story based on Bernard Cornwell’s novel trilogy The Warlord Chronicles, familiar Arthurian figures such as Merlin (Nathaniel Martello-White), Morgan (Valene Kane), and Guinevere (Jordan Alexandra) appear.
As one might expect from a large-scale TV programme based on a beloved book series, there have been conflicting reviews to it since its debut in the United States.
Nonetheless, among those who praised the ‘meaty’ adaption, numerous commentators predicted that new viewers would be ‘hooked’ as soon as they immersed themselves in this fresh recounting of Arthur’s narrative.
‘The Winter King is a bold and bloody retelling of the Arthurian legends. You’re hooked from the start as the protagonist’s journey begins on a truly harsh note,’ wrote Julian Roman of MovieWeb.
Looper.com’s Audrey Fox praised The Winter King’s balance of ‘its intellectual side’ and its ‘thrilling action scenes’, while David Cote of AV Club penned: ‘Carved as it is from three popular novels, the storytelling is meaty and well paced, with enough subplots and locations to hold your attention.’
Meanwhile, Collider’s Maggie Lovitt described it as a ‘must-watch’.
On the opposite end of the scale, based on their assessments, some critics would strongly advise against seeing The Winter King.
Referring to the author of the books on which the show is based, Erik Kain of Forbes wrote: ‘Cornwell is a master wordsmith, and all they had to do was use his material. Instead, we get this. The arrogance of it! The sheer arrogance!’
Variety’s Alison Herman also added: ‘For all its intriguing ideas about the decline of paganism or the birth of a national identity, the series fails to make its protagonists as realistic as its setting.’
However, some fans of the show were far more glowing in their reviews, with one called Loren saying it’s ‘one of the best TV series I have seen in a very long time!’
Another viewer named Olive found that in her opinion, The Winter King was ‘one of the most believable versions of Arthur’, while a woman named Kirsty commended its ‘unique storytelling and take on the Camelot tales’.
Given how popular King Arthur legends are, it’s little wonder The Winter King would have an opinion – but if anything, that makes us even more fascinated!
The Winter King is set to premiere on Thursday 21st December on ITVX in the UK.