TV Review: Blood of Zeus (season 1, 2020)

[The following is a guest review from Dr Xan.]

Set in the well-known world of Greek mythology, Blood of Zeus is a 2020 Netflix animated series. The story deals with the life of Heron (Derek Phillips) who, due to his mysterious lineage, is thrust into the centre of a war between gods, giants and demons for the fate of the ancient world.

+ the art style on display is gorgeous with its details of blood and gore of particular note. Blood of Zeus was produced by Powerhouse Animation Studios who also handled the recent Castlevania Netflix series and this shows both in quality and the details of the animation
+ the character design work, especially on some of the monsters and mythical creatures is incredible; the giants are horrifying and answer in unsettling detail the question: ‘What would a god be afraid of?’
+ while the story deals primarily with the Gods and Heron, we do get introduced to a range of supporting characters. Alexia (Jessica Henwick, Colleen Wing in the recent Marvel Netflix shows) and Evios (Chris Diamantopoulos, who voiced Green Arrow in several DC animated movies) are standouts but perhaps don’t get the time they deserve
+ this show has some gore to it; people are vivisected, ripped limb from limb and vaporised in stunning detail, but this never seems gratuitous given that most of the killing is done by ‘superpowered’ characters
+ the credits of each episode play over a collection of concept art and story boards that show how the character and scene design evolved across development. These may be the only Netflix credits I have ever chosen to watch in full

– in a world populated with intricately designed gods and monsters, Heron feels like the most boring character we could have followed. Not only his character design but his actions and talents all seem boring in comparison to even some of the human characters
–  the show suffers from some pacing issues; episodes are around 35 minutes long and much of that run time could be the intro (see below) and the previously mentioned credits meaning some episodes lack a certain ‘meatiness’ to their main story
– there are only 8 episodes in total, so many big ideas and obstacles are built up and resolved quickly. This show should have been at least 10 episodes if they wanted to do justice to the epic story
– this is a small negative but the opening scenes are often interspersed with long title screens (fading in and out) and opening credits for each episode meaning you cannot use the usual ‘skip’ function without feeling like you have missed something. I did watch the entire season in 2 sittings so perhaps this was on me

> lots of voice actors here have previously voiced superheroes and videogame characters, meaning you will have many moments of wondering why a god sounds like Batman or Green arrow
> whilst its neither a positive nor a negative I would have been interested in seeing the powers and personalities of many of the Gods only shown in passing; their character design makes it easy to tell who they are supposed to be but not what they can do

Should you watch this show: Yes. Just like the recent Castlevania series, Netflix and Powerhouse Animation Studios have produced another stylish, dark, and bloody animated series with enough legs for several seasons. My only real critique is that there wasn’t more to watch and a more interesting main character but the details and the design more than make up for the short time we are given amongst the world of Greek mythology.

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