Gunpowder – Not Quite As Explosive As It Sounds

Reader Rating0 Votes
Great cast and sets
Smart and quick pacing saves the story
The Bad
Not quite entertainment unless you're into this stuff

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November.”

Long before the pages of V for Vendetta, the lines of this poem held a very different type of significance—slightly less geeky and a little bit more historical.

And it involves Jon Snow.

Kit Harrington stars in Gunpowder, a thriller surrounding the historic Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Co-starring Peter Mullan, Mark Gatiss and Liv Tyler, the series was partially developed by Kit Harringotn himself.

While BBC’s shows often tend to be slow-paced, the three episode, the hour-long format of Gunpowder keeps the plot engaging with a surprising amount of action for a pretty dialogue heavy drama.

While the story is kept simple, a functional re-telling of the events leading up to what we now know as Guy Fawkes Day (November 5th), the care in portraying the characters is obvious. Harrington, himself a direct descendant of Robert Catesby the true mastermind of the Gunpowder Plot, and whom he plays in the series, makes his passion for this tale clear.

While the influence of this age of HBO is apparent, with graphic violence, realistic torture, and seemingly mandatory nudity, Gunpowder successfully intrigues with its plot and smart pacing without lingering too long on the otherwise two-dimensional characters.

Unfortunately, the dry tone and attempt at intense drama also serve to stiffen the atmosphere of the series, making an hour-long episode feel draggy at times.

Watch Gunpowder on demand exclusively on BBC First (StarHub Channel 522) and on the BBC Player.

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