The Letter for the King

You'll forget The Letter for the King as soon as Netflix pushes the trailer for its next new series

Tv Review by Carmen Paddock | 31 Mar 2020
  • The Letter for the King
Title: The Letter for the King
Series Creator: William Davies
Starring: Amir Wilson, Ruby Ashbourne Serkis, Thaddea Graham, Gijs Blom
Platform: Netflix

Netflix’s latest fantasy original is wholly unremarkable. Some easy charm from the cast – from underseen actors and endearing up-and-coming-talent – wins goodwill in the early portions, but it is not enough to save The Letter for the King from a dismally underwhelming impact.

The show is not served by the fact that the character design, world-building, and thinly-drawn lore underpinning Tiuri’s (Amir Wilson) quest to deliver a life-or-death missive clearly riffs on recent Arthurian adaptations – The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones – without the triumph, urgency, or political astuteness that define the genre at its best. Even considering that this is a sanitised tale for young adult audiences – the bloodless deaths do nothing to raise the stakes – the plot feels so much like a mashup of past successes that nothing comes as a surprise.

After an exposition-heavy opening episode, the narrative picks up only to be shot down by laughably bad dialogue and characterisations that – while well-acted – are nothing more than tropes seen throughout this literary and cinematic tradition. These are the main problems, as the stilted development undercuts the required sincerity. High fantasy thrives on an earnestness that other tales would not get away with, and there is not enough conviction in this story to justify its development – or lack thereof.

Combine that with a laughably CGI-heavy finale, and you'll forget The Letter for the King as soon as Netflix pushes the trailer for its next programme.

Streaming on Netflix