Iain De Caestecker plays one of the most iconic figures of British legends (Picture: Simon Ridgway/Bad Wolf/MGM Plus)
At this time of year, there are some who choose to watch films and TV shows of a more light-hearted nature, in keeping with the joyful festive season.
However, others will always be drawn more to gritty, dark and hard-hitting releases, which is why The Winter King could be right up their street.
Coming to ITVX shortly before Christmas Day, the show is centred on the legendary stories of King Arthur, starring Iain De Caestecker as the exiled warlord Arthur Pendragon, the illegitimate son of King Uther (Eddie Marsan).
Familiar Arthurian characters appear, including Merlin (Nathaniel Martello-White), Morgan (Valene Kane), Guinevere (Jordan Alexandra) in the tale based on The Warlord Chronicles novel trilogy by Bernard Cornwell.
As can be expected with a TV show of a grand scale that’s based on a beloved book series, there have been some mixed reactions to it since its release in the US.
Familiar Arthurian characters appear, including Guinevere (Picture: Simon Ridgway/Bad Wolf/MGM Plus)
Nonetheless, among those who enjoyed the ‘meaty’ adaptation, several critics promised that new viewers will be ‘hooked’ as soon as they lose themselves in this new telling of Arthur’s story.
‘The Winter King is a bold and bloody retelling of the Arthurian legends. You’re hooked from the start as the protagonist’s journey begins on a truly harsh note,’ wrote Julian Roman of MovieWeb.
Looper.com’s Audrey Fox praised The Winter King’s balance of ‘its intellectual side’ and its ‘thrilling action scenes’, while David Cote of AV Club penned: ‘Carved as it is from three popular novels, the storytelling is meaty and well paced, with enough subplots and locations to hold your attention.’
Meanwhile, Collider’s Maggie Lovitt described it as a ‘must-watch’.
Iain De Caestecker has previously appeared in Coronation Street and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Picture: Simon Ridgway/Bad Wolf/MGM Plus)
On the other side of the spectrum, there were some critics who would decidedly not recommend The Winter King, if their reviews are anything to go by.
Referring to the author of the books on which the show is based, Erik Kain of Forbes wrote: ‘Cornwell is a master wordsmith, and all they had to do was use his material. Instead, we get this. The arrogance of it! The sheer arrogance!’
Variety’s Alison Herman also added: ‘For all its intriguing ideas about the decline of paganism or the birth of a national identity, the series fails to make its protagonists as realistic as its setting.’
However, some fans of the show were far more glowing in their reviews, with one called Loren saying it’s ‘one of the best TV series I have seen in a very long time!’
Another viewer named Olive found that in her opinion, The Winter King was ‘one of the most believable versions of Arthur’, while a woman named Kirsty commended its ‘unique storytelling and take on the Camelot tales’.
Considering how beloved tales of the legend of King Arthur can be, it’s no surprise The Winter King would spit opinion – but if anything, it makes us even more intrigued!
The Winter King is set to premiere on Thursday December on ITVX in the UK.
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‘The storytelling is meaty,’ one glowing review read.