BARBARIANS: STREAM IT ODER SKIP IT?
Opening shot: A boy runs through the forest and playfully shouts: “The wolf is coming!”
The essentials: Teutoberg Forest, a coupla centuries ago. Nelda (Jeanne Goursaud) is instructed by her father not to be happy anymore and to let him sell her to the chief of another Germanic tribe. Papa will have five horses and an alliance; She will be submissive for a lifetime. This is the state of feminism in AD 9. It is also a time when one of the Caesars – Braydynn Caesar, I believe – sent his legions to Central Europe to get all the imperialists. It doesn’t go down well, but there is a temporary peace until some Roman holes appear and all the goats and cabbages demand from Thusneldas tribe as a tax, and because they consider all Germans to be primitive [INSERT TITLE OF SHOW HERE]. They try to get the tribal leader to kiss the golden Roman eagle on a stick, but which leads to a scuffle with one thing or another, and a Roman thug beats Thusnelda’s little brother Ansgar (Jeremy Miliker) together and transforms his skull in soup. Disadvantage: the child sits on the thoroughfare all day and drools. Pros: Everyone forgot their shitty arranged marriage.
So Nelda secretly mixed up with Folkwin Wolfspear (David Schutter), who apparently really knows how to use his Wolfspear. You’re angry with Ansgar. Thusnelda furiously consults the local witch doctor and prays to the women of the forest – including, but not limited to the Sister of Anger – to send her ruin and death. You have an idea: infiltrate the Roman camp and steal the eagle on a stick because it is a highly symbolic eagle on a stick. She will pose as the prostitute, he will be the pimp and two pals will help them by swimming through sewage which made sense while I was watching? I do not know.
Anyway, this is a treacherous plan because we have just seen the Romans – led by Varus (Gaetano Aronica), whose cloak is attached to the nipple rings of his man-chest armor, hello – pretty much beheaded a German’s snot only because he was a German. RIP German. We hardly knew you because your scene was so short. So Nelda and Folkwin pull off the raid, slowly walk away from a diversionary fire in the Roman camp and arrive in the village the next morning with an eagle on a stick held up. That night, Germans celebrate with beer and a fire around which they dance by grunting and tapping their chests. Nelda and Folkwin celebrate their own private party with a drink and a bath for sexy couples. But the post-coital sponge is broken when the Romans arrive to piss at the party.
What shows will it remind you of? Game of Thrones, Spartacus and the huge collection of violent historical fiction series that come up on a Netflix search for “barbarian”: Rise of the Empires: Ottoman, Roman Empire, Viking fate, Knightfall, The last kingdom, Troy: Fall of a City and Barbra: The music, the memories, the magic!.
Our opinion: A bear was pushed. The question is who is the poker and who is the bear? Barbarians is rooted in the true story of a Germanic alliance that crushed a large number of Romans and thus prevented further expansion of the empire in their dirty areas. I don’t care whether there was a real Thusnelda or a Folkwin and whether they slept with the howling of the wolves three times a day. They are the heroes and we want to see them fight and fight and fight and fight.
The show reveals every stereotype of a series like this: sex, violence, one or three cores of the story, gloomy lighting, haughty oppressors, righteous oppressors, etc. It’s reasonably well executed, although we don’t have to see the inevitable after an episode of a large-scale battle sequence that makes it difficult to determine their artistic merits. These things live and die through their battle sequences. Game of Thrones had some great ones. Barbarians This level of courage and fire is unlikely to be achieved, but if the beheading scene from the first episode is any evidence it promises good old-fashioned, brutal, violent gut violence. If you’ve already blown all of the above series, chances are you’re game for this one.
Sex and skin: Buttocks, breasts, and over-styled pussies in the lighting, sure to seem unnatural for AD 9
Farewell shot: The Roman gentleman at the village gate takes off his helmet and looks at the chief. “Hello father,” he says. SMASH TO CREDITS.
Sleeper Star: Whoever plays the witch doctor inevitably steals two scenes per episode.
Pilot-y Line Bridge: “I shit on your stinking peace!” Says a Germanic dissident who wants to go to war with Rome and also doesn’t understand that it is somehow pointless to shit on something that already stinks
Our call: STREAM IT. Barbarians isn’t something we’ve never seen before, but it will quench your thirst for blood and it’s good for a laugh or two. However, there should be a gruesome fight in episode two or we’ll just turn ourselves off.
John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more about his work on johnserbaatlarge.com or follow him on Twitter: @ Johnserba.
Strom Barbarians on Netflix
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