Roar - Irish Medieval TV Series
Episode 1 - Setting the Stage

Conor, played by Heath Ledger, attends the wedding of his older brother - the King's firstborn for their particular tribe. He is more interested in running off to see his girlfriend Claire, the "Juliet" of this intro story. Unfortunately for Conor, while he is gone, the entire family is slain by Claire's father, Gar. Conor wants revenge, but the local Merlin - Galen - convinces him otherwise. There's an entire group of people in Galen's cave who need protection and a leader. Conor of course refuses.

Conor goes off to see Claire again, and Gar catches them. He prepares to slay Conor, but in a completely unrealistic move, somehow Claire manages to insert herself between Gar's sword and Conor's tightly held body, and she is killed instead. Then Conor's loyal bodyguard appears (Fergus) to rescue Conor. Now Conor has truly lost everybody in his life.

Gar's wife, Diana, is busy consorting with the Romans - one in particular. This "freak" Longinus is apparently the Centurion who poked Jesus in the side with a spear. They make a GREAT deal about how this killed Jesus and how this Roman is cursed with eternal life and eternal handsomeness. With all the vampire tales about eternal life and vampires enjoying it, they really don't go into this curse enough, to explain why after "only" 400 years this centurion is so dismayed with his plight. Also, while poking Jesus in the side is of course "not good" - it hardly killed Jesus. It was only a test to see if he WAS dead - and he in fact was.

But historical accuracy is not a key point with this series. The costumes are clear enough on that score. Claire is running around in a skimpy see-through nightgown that was NOT worn by anyone in medieval times. Everybody has "celtic tattoos" which while pretty are not quite authentic. Their attempt at blue pict warpaint looks more like fingerpaints. The girls universally are in tight thin leather outfits which show a lot of skin. In medieval times, they should have long, covering outfits both for coldness reasons and for modesty. If you want to go the Pict route, they should not have clothes on. They would not be wearing (I kid you not) dog collars with spikes.

Anyway, back to the story. This multi-ethnic group that Conor takes over somehow has an African American, a fighting girl, and several other diverse members. Again, I understand what they want to do here but it requires a huge suspension of disbelief. You get dialogue like this -

Celt: "They lack one leader"
Roman: "What they lack is one God"

Now in 363AD Rome had a Pagan Emperor - Julian. So let's assume that when Longinus says he has lived with his curse for 400 years he actually does mean 400 full years have passed. So yes Rome was in the hands of a Christian Emperor by then, but I find the absolute "one God is it" line to be a bit too sharp.

OK, Conor and his band of merry men are taking on the bad Gar family. They run in and steal some furry cows, and the Gar guards chase them into a convenient mist whipped up by Merlin, I mean Galen. The merry men grab the uniforms and get into the main village. Conor has his "becoming a man" scene where he faces Gar and chooses to let him go - but then Gar's wife kills Gar off. She wanted him gone anyway.

The good guys all cheer, and Galen fades into the mists. Then we see more Roman ships sailing in past the hexagons of the Giant's Causeway - which is in the top (northern) part of Ireland. Why would Romans be sailing in against the north of Ireland? Were they coming across the top of the globe, because it's easier to go that way from Italy? Hmmmmmmmmm.

Conor roars his power, and we fade to black.

Lisa's comments:

I can't get past these costumes. They are AWFUL. The women are treated as trollops or as sex-warriors. It bugs me that they can't just have a woman be respected for herself. I am all for female warriors!! I *love* stories with female warriors in them. But they would actually wear useful armor! Not a strip of leather across their breast!! Also, the dialogue is SO wooden in several scenes. It is almost painful to watch. Maybe things will improve as the cast "settles into their roles". After all, the first Star Trek TNG was rather stilted.

Roar - Irish Medieval TV Series

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