A scene from the concepts for Olympus, a 2015 mythological series created by Nick Willing.

Knightmare in Sunday Times Culture

By David Goldstein

A mention for Knightmare in today's Sunday Times' Culture supplement.


Among Victoria Segal and Julia Raeside's reviews of Wednesday 22 April's television is one of new Greek mythology drama Olympus. It contains the following comment:

'Nearly all of the backdrops are CGI, which gives things the look of the 1980s children's gameshow Knightmare.'

A scene from the concepts for Olympus, a 2015 mythological series created by Nick Willing.
Concept image from Olympus

Having watched the first episode of Olympus last week on Spike, I'd say there's some truth in that. But whereas Knightmare rarely claimed to be anything but illusion, Olympus purports to be set in some kind of semi-mythical, semi-historical past (2015 BC according to one caption), which makes the glossy, unreal locations harder to swallow in context. (Here's the official line on the visuals.)

It is arguably attempting to hitch a ride on a Hobbit and surf the crest of a Wave of Thrones, and the Culture review notes too that 'it is a bit like its Westeros-set inspiration but with ... honkingly dire dialogue ... it has replaced storytelling with blood.'

Given that Olympus' timeslot of 10pm on Wednesday may find you in a midweek malaise of lowered standards, you might judge the series to be entertaining enough if you give it a try. In my view, it's no sillier than BBC's Atlantis.

That said, the better alternative to watching something with the look of Knightmare is to watch Knightmare - and with Challenge showing three episodes of Series 2 every weekend (10am on Saturday, 10am and 10:30am on Sunday), this is a quest that's easily won.

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This narrow causeway appeared only once but claimed one of the few teams to reach the third level in Series 3 of Knightmare.

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The level one dungeon shield room.

Download a Knightmare screensaver, courtesy of the good folks at YouTube who produced Geek Week.