Amazon is set to launch a new British historical drama on their streaming service this month – one which looks like it has more than a touch of fantasy to it. Entitled Britannia, the series follows the Roman invasion of the island that would one day become Great Britain in 43 AD.
It seems worth saying, but based on every bit of promotional material associated with this show, you should probably not expect the pinnacle of historical accuracy when it comes to its presentation of Britain during the time of the Roman conquest. That said, Britannia looks like it’ll be fun as anything, even if it gets some facts wrong here and there.
The series’ ensemble cast includes some fairly intriguing choices, including David Morrissey (The Walking Dead, The Missing) as Roman general Aulus Plautius, Kelly Reilly (True Detective, Sherlock) as Celtic warrior Kerra, Zoe Wannamaker (Mr. Selfridge, Agatha Christie’s Poirot) as Queen Antedia, Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean), Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars, Utopia) and many more.
The official synopsis goes into a bit more detail about the series’ premise, including the fact that two rival Celtic women must join forces to face off against the Romans. (I am always ready for more stories about warrior ladies, to be honest.)
Britannia begins in 43AD as the Roman Army, determined and terrified in equal measure, returns to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia, a mysterious land ruled by warrior women and powerful druids who can channel the mysterious forces of the Underworld. Arch Celtic rivals Kerra and Antedia must face the Roman invasion led by Aulus Plautius as it cuts a swathe through the Celtic Resistance.
Comparison’s to HBO’s big budget medieval-esque drama Game of Thrones seem inevitable, particularly because George R.R. Martin has confirmed that his fantasy series is largely based on the inter-family British strife that was the War of the Roses several centuries later.
However, if the trailer for Britannia is anything to go by, this series is probably going to include a bit more in the way of overt magic, spirituality and what may or may not be hallucinogenic drugs. (It's hard to tell from the clip. There's a lot going on.)
Watch for yourselves below:
All nine episodes of Britannia will be available in full for your binge watching pleasure via Amazon Prime on Friday, January 26.
The series drops in the UK on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW TV beginning January 18, which means that us Yanks will only be a week late in seeing this series. (Always an exciting development in our fractured British media viewing world.) Some of you already know that I was a medievalist in graduate school, so you can all be 1000% sure that I will be watching this entire series immediately, no matter how ridiculous it gets.
What about you? Does this look like the kind of fantasy series you’d like? Or does it appear to stray a little too far from the real story? Let’s discuss.