|You'd Never Guess This Was Shot In Front Of A Green Screen, Right?|
Last week a new channel launched in the UK, Spike (part of the Channel 5 empire). Among the detritus of reality TV programming and Breaking Bad episodes (only a few years after everyone has seen it) in its schedules is a new, weekly fantasy show called Olympus.
I first heard of this SyFy show about a month ago, but then spotted it being trailed during the promos for the launch of Spike and so knew I had to tune in.
If ever there was a show hamstrung by its lack of budget it's Olympus, an action-adventure serial set in a mythical incarnation of Ancient Greece filtered through a Dungeons & Dragons lens.
Apparently it's made by spending about as much money as the BBC used to spend on Classic Doctor Who.
Outrageous mullets aside, Olympus is hampered by amateurish performances and an over-reliance on weak green screen that make its more 'exciting' moments seem more Knightmare than Crystal Maze.
The show is a cocktail of the BBC's cruddy Atlantis and pretty much everything produced by The Asylum, but with far more charm and imagination than the former.
It wins out over Aunty Beeb's efforts at reworking Grecian mythology by taking its subject matter seriously (although not to a po-faced degree) rather than trying to ridicule or subvert it.
Unfortunately, some of Olympus's good intentions are undone by its hilariously poor CGI, hilariously poor dialogue and hilariously poor acting which give the viewer the impression they are watching a village hall am dram production rather than a mainstream television show.
But don't let that put you off. The first episode alone had more creativity and inspirational material in it than the entire first season of the dire Atlantis, and some of the effects are really good, such as the apparition summoned by the sexy priestess to lure the show's hero to his doom...
And some of the scenic backdrops used in Olympus are truly stunning (such as the one below).
It's just a shame that quite often they are also about as interactive as a painted backdrop in a stage play. But they do look impressive!