Troy: Fall of a City

In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged for ten years in the 12th century BC. The Achaians (ancient name for the Greeks) under Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, fought this war against the City of Troy to rescue Helen, wife of Menelaus (king of Sparta) and sister-in-law to Agamemnon. Helen had been kidnapped by Paris, son of the king of Troy.

The war has been narrated through many works of Greek literature; most notably, by Homer’s Iliad, the epic poem that relates four days in the tenth year of the decade-long siege. Homer is also credited with writing The Odyssey, a sequel to the Iliad that focuses mainly on the journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy. Episodes from the war have also provided material for other Greek and Roman literary works.

Understandably, the story is a timeless classic that has attracted the moguls of Hollywood and television, and it has been translated into modern movies and television series, including the 2004 film Troy starring Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt, and a1996 TV miniseries featuring Armand Asante as Odysseus.

Troy: Fall of a City is very loosely based on Homer’s Iliad. It takes this epic Greek tale in a slightly different direction. While other cinematic interpretations have presented the conflict between the Greeks and Trojans in a rather hygienic fashion, this new series aims to show how dark and gritty life could be in the 12th century BC. In fact, I would argue that it is often so dark that certain costuming and lighting choices sometimes make it impossible to distinguish between the characters on the screen.

This new series is a British-American mini-series that gives the overall impression that it has been made on the cheap. There are few big-name actors, but that is not to say that the performers involved do not do a good job of portraying the characters that they have been given. The acting is generally satisfactory, if not outstanding. It should also be noted that the costumes are quite drab, even those worn by the gods, and the locations used are parched and uninteresting.

Louis Hunter, who has performed in such television shows as The Secret Circle and The Fosters, portrays Paris of Troy, the show’s flawed hero. Bella Dayne, a beautiful German actress with only a few screen credits to her name gives a sympathetic portrayal of Helen of Troy. The most sympathetic portrayal, however, is that of Priam of Troy, the father of Paris, played excellently in this instance by David Thelfall, a veteran British actor, who has acted in many fine shows such as Shameless, Conspiracy, Code of a Killer, and Ripper Street.

What makes this show different is that it looks at the war from a Trojan point of view, making the Greeks look juvenile, violent and petty, while the Trojans seem to be thoughtful, peaceful and kind. This superficial, simplistic view is almost certainly not historically accurate, and it gives a certain banality to the characters, but it does make the movie entertaining, if not thought-provoking.

One and a half thumbs up. Not the best show that Netflix has produced but certainly not the worst either. Luckily for Netflix subscribers, it can be watched for free.