|L to R: Ben Kingsley, Avan Jogia and Sibylla Deen, stars of Spike TV's Tut|
Like many cable networks, Spike TV is entering the original scripted series mix. This weekend the network premieres Tut, a glossy, three-night, historical drama about the Egyptian boy king that starts its run on Sunday, July 19. Oscar-winning British actor Ben Kingsley leads the cast as King Tut's questionably loyal council with 23-year-old Avan Jogia as King Tutankhamun. Tut was directed by David Von Ancken on location in Morocco; costumes were created under designer Carlo Poggioli who oversaw the making of over 5000 items.
Tut is like an old fashioned "sword-and-sandals" serial, but with the gory glory of Game of Thrones (even Tut's introductory music recalls Thrones') and details the king's rise to fame and work toward freeing Egypt from the self-ordained powers of its control-hungry high priests. Tut deals with warring factions, false prophets, political back-stabbers and their lust for control of Egypt. The list of those who wish unseat King Tut include Kingsley's Ay (Tut's not-so-loyal longtime vizier), Tut’s sister/wife Ankhe (Sibylla Deen), High Priest Amun (Alexander Siddig) and towering General Horemheb (Nonso Anozie).
Throughout the series, scheming, lust for power and martial ambitions are tempered by Tut's wish to be loved by his subjects, his own desires for domination, and a cool-headed approach to negotiating with enemies such as the formidable Mitanni tribe. Luckily, Tut has allies too: the loyal solider Lagus (Iddo Goldberg) and his half-Mitanni lover Suhad (Kylie Bunbury).
The facts of how the 18th dynasty pharaoh lived and died are fuzzy as scientists and historians still debate the case of Tutankhamun beyond the legendary discovery of his tomb and its artifacts. This allows Tut's filmmakers (director David Von Ancken, writers Michael Vickerman, Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg) to take poetic license and produce a colorful epic filled with sex, bare-butt nudity and bloody battles.There's also plenty of hand-wringing and eye-widening in performances from Siddig and Kingsley.
For its few flaws – such as an occasionally campy script – Tut is still wildly entertaining, a good, fun watch that makes you want to read more about the impact of the young Egyptian king, his country and its times.
Tut premieres on the Spike network on Sunday, July 19 with parts two and three following on Monday July 20 and Tuesday, July 21. It will air 9-11 PM, ET/PT on all three nights.
Photo courtesy of Spike TV
Posted on Saturday, July 18, 2015