Troy: Fall of a City is available April 6th on Netflix.
By Greg Wheeler
Troy: Fall of a City is the perfect personification of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Based on the classic Greek tale The Iliad, this miniseries is not just bad, it’s arguably the worst show of 2018 so far. Terrible acting, a bland, lackadaisical story littered with anachronisms and a perversion of almost every character from the classic tale await anyone brave enough to tackle this show. When the plot isn’t meandering from one dialogue heavy scene to the next, there’s a considerable amount of time spent building to what should be the big battles that define the tale. Unfortunately what could have saved the show is reduced to rushed, poorly choreographed segments designed to hide the obvious budget restrictions. 2004 blockbuster Troy had a host of problems but in comparison to Fall of a City is untouchable by the standards set here.
The timeless story of Homer’s The Iliad is unchanged for the most part and the 8 episode series depicts the epic war between the Greeks and Trojans over the forbidden love of Paris (Louis Hunter) and Helen (Bella Dayne). What follows is a bitter war fuelled by revenge, love, betrayal and bloodshed as the two armies clash in combat. Only, Fall of a City forgets most of this, reducing the iconic characters on both sides to soap opera caricatures and questionably depicted cardboard cut-outs of their famous counterparts. To make matters worse, the show adopts a terribly slow pace, taking a good 45 minutes in the pilot episode to even begin to show Paris and Helen meeting for the first time. Whilst some of this is done intentionally, given the war went on for 10 years, the pacing only emphasises the lack of enthusiasm and atmosphere adopting many of the scenes here.
Oftentimes a poor script or story can be salvaged through captivating acting but the show is a barren wasteland of despair in that respect too. The audacious decision to make “blonde beauty enviable to the Gods” Achilles (David Gyasi) black and lacking charisma perverts his character traits and is arguably one of the biggest culprits for offsetting the mood and feel of the original story. Paris’ futile attempts at charming women come across as creepy, Hector (Tom Weston-Jones) lacks any sort of definable traits and even King Agamemnon (Johnny Harris) lacks the power to convey a power-hungry King. There really isn’t anything noteworthy here when it comes to the acting and it’s a shame as this format for The Iliad makes sense given the complexity of this tale. Unfortunately, Fall of a City looks bland and emotionless, lacking colour in the dimly lit, clumsily shot scenes that accentuate what a tough watch this is.
It’s really hard to sum up just how bad Troy is. The small bursts of action are poorly shot, the story bland and lacking in any sort of excitement or atmosphere and the whole thing plays out like a bad theatrical remake. Sometimes with TV shows there is some promise or something to praise but when it comes to this, beyond the initial idea to present The Iliad in series format there really isn’t anything worthwhile to cling to. BBC continues its trend with hit or miss drama and with Troy: Fall of a City they’ve not just produced a poor show, they’ve arguably produced one of the worst to come out of 2018 so far.
I give Troy: Fall of a City an F.