Ye Gods! Streaming TV Brings Back the Greco-Roman Pantheon

Whether it’s dissatisfaction/boredom with the traditonal Judeo-Christian religions or just a search for novelty, it looks like the Greco-Roman pantheons are making a comeback, at least in terms of streaming shows.

 

After last years admittedly drab Troy: Fall of a City (HBO/BBC1) we have on the horizon for 2020 HBO Max’s Circe, and KAOS and Gods & Heroes on Netflix. It should be noted that Neil Gaiman’s American Gods doesn’t feature the Greek or Roman Pantheons in the novel

 

“I didn’t get any Greek and Roman gods in, because at the  time I couldn’t convince myself there was any particular reason to bring Greek and Roman gods in.  “

 

But…in the series Corbin Bernsen (LA Law) does put in a short appearance as Vulcan (God of the forge, cuckholded husband of Venus) in season I.

 

Firepower | American Gods Episode 6 Clip

 

From the 100ft tall beings in Clash of The Titans and Percy Jackson, to the campy oiled-up deities of The Immortals and the rather more prosaic Gods of Troy: Fall of a City, one thing tends to characterize the deities – pettiness, arrogance and a general disdain for their human pawns.

 

Incidentally, actor Luke Evans appeared in Clash of the Titans as Apollo, then was promoted to top deity Zeus in The Immortals.

 

Looking back, there’s been BBC1’s Atlantis, the bargain basement Syfy show Olympus and ABC’s Cupid (twice).

 

Cupid - INTRO (Serie Tv) (1999)

 

Cupid Trailer (ABC)

 

Re: Circe, way, way back in the 70s, the BBC’s Aphrodite Inheritance featured the Greek Gods in a contemporary setting, sunning themselves in Cyprus -- Brian Blessed (Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon) giving a typically restrained performance as God of Wine Dionysus.

 

The Aphrodite Inheritance

 

Fun facts: famously tetchy actor Rex Harrison refused to play Poseidon in 1981’s Clash of The Titans, as he didn’t want to be a ‘subordinate god’ to Laurence Olivier’s Zeus.

 

Fair enough.

 

Clash of the Titans (1981) Official Trailer - Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin Movie HD

 

In the 80s, UK comedians Mel Smith & Griff Rhys-Jones spoofed the Gods in their regular sketch segment ‘Olympus’, a Dynasty-ish take on the Greco-Roman Pantheon, who ate only the famed food of the Gods -- Ambrosia

What – creamed rice?” a character asks. In the UK Ambrosia is a brand of tinned rice pudding.

 

 

 

Marvel’s upcoming Eternals (2020) are of course stand-ins for the Greek Gods after they decided to limit their involvement in human affairs (in the comics). Let’s see where all this is headed…

 

Arnell Esq

Arnell Esq

Broadcast consultant - former Director/Creator of ITV3, ITV4 in the UK, producer/writer (most recently Bob Fosse for Sky Arts in May 2019), commentator/rent-a-gob for trades, broadsheets and magazines. Also occasional lecturer (University of Westminster, London). Content provider. Accept no substitute (terms & conditions apply) 'Nullum bonum amico, nullum peius hostes'

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