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Gunpowder: Kit Harrington’s Historical Drama Lacks a Certain Spark

Credit: Robert Viglasky/HBO

Gunpowder Plot Summary:

A mini-series based on the real life Gunpowder Plot in 1605. British Catholics are being persecuted by the crown, and after seeing his brother and sister murdered, Robert Catesby (Kit Harrington) knows he has to do something. His idea is to blow up Parliament, kill the king and his relatives, and lead a Catholic revolution.

When the first trailers for the Kit Harrington starring/produced mini-series Gunpowder hit the web, there was a collective squeal of excitement. The trailers looked really good — this looked like a fresh, and thrilling take on a story most American audiences are unfamiliar with. When it was announced HBO was picking it up the week heading into Christmas, this felt like a “run don’t walk” television event.

Sadly, after viewing Gunpowder, “crawl don’t run” would’ve been a better description of the series.

Okay, that might be a little too harsh a criticism. There’s nothing terribly wrong with Gunpowder, it just doesn’t live up to any of its hype. This is your typical British costume drama that’s peppered with a few moments of gory violence. There’s nothing groundbreaking here. There’s nothing cutting edge. Outside of a strong performance by Edward Holcroft (Kingsman), and a couple of tense moments, this is a fairly pedestrian series. There’s nothing that’s compelling you to stay emotionally engaged.

To be blunt, if Kit Harrington had not been involved with the series, there’d been no way this would’ve made HBO. It lacks all the hallmarks of an HBO limited series — award-worthy acting, a rich story, terrific directing, etc. Gunpowder is something that easily (with a little editing) could’ve made a nice three night event on BBC America.

Rating: 5.5 out of 10

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.

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