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Friday Finds: “Knightfall”

Friday Finds shares a piece of content I’ve recently discovered on broadcast, cable, or streaming TV.

Today’s find: Knightfall
Genre: Hour drama
Origin: A+E Studios
Find it on: History Channel, season 1 (10x)

Knightfall poster

Rounding out a gory Wednesday double feature with Vikings, Knightfall recounts a story framed around the latter years of the Knights Templar.

Based on the premiere episode, Knightfall is, in and of itself, moderately interesting and decently produced. It has its proper mix of heroes and villains, along with nice looking sets and costumes.

Unfortunately it pales a bit in comparison with Vikings, which rampaged onto the screen with an original setting (how many viking or Norway-based series can you name?) as well as a grimy and dirty immersion in the period (aside from the apparent availability of eyeliner, mascara, and eye shadow in 9th century Norway). Adding to the mix were some compelling unknown actors, led by the electric Travis Fimmel as Ragnar Lothbrok.

In contrast, Knightfall features some familiar tropes (knights in armor, the Holy Grail, a farmboy seemingly destined to be a squire) and a roster of the typical English actors seen in historical dramas – including no less than three from Downton Abbey. One of these Abbey veterans, Tom Cullen, carries the lead as a Templar named Landry. He’s perfectly capable but doesn’t reach through the screen and grab your attention. Knightfall just seems less special than Vikings.

However, enough is there to keep me around for at least the next few episodes to see how the series develops. Hey, I’m in History’s sweet spot demo (older men), so how can I not? But in this age of peak TV, just being good may not be good enough.

The cross-over I want to see

Unknown as yet is if there will be a cross-over episode with History’s The Curse of Oak Island – among the myths is that the elusive “money pit” on the island is actually the final repository of the Templars’ greatest treasures. Now that would be corporate synergy!

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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