The Spike network is pulling out all the stops to get people excited about its first foray into the world of event television with the three-night epic “Tut.” The series focuses on the dramatized trials and tribulations of the real-life Egyptian Pharaoh, King Tutankhaumun (Avan Jogia) and the people around him trying to steal his throne.
“Tut” aired the first of three two-hour episodes on Sunday night and with it, the audience was introduced to the major players that are all vying to take down the boy king and maneuver themselves into power. The cast boasts diverse talent from across the board including Ben Kingsley, Nonso Anozie, Sibylla Deen, Alexander Siddig and Peter Gadiot. With two more nights left to go before Spike is finished telling the story of “Tut,” below is a rundown to help make sure no one misses a moment ahead of night two.
Right out of the box, “Tut” makes sure that the audience knows the kind of story it’s in for by showing some violent brutality. The series opens with Tut’s father, King Akhenaten (Silas Carson) having captured not only the man responsible for poisoning him, but his wife and son as well. It turns out ancient Egypt was a pretty unforgiving place for those who would assassinate a ruler.
With a 9-year-old Tut about to inherit his father’s throne, the elders insist that he watch the brutal punishment ritual as the assassin is tied to a post in front of a crowd and made to watch as his wife is dragged in a circle tied to a chariot. The opening credits aren’t even finished rolling and the viewer is subject to the screams of a woman being tortured. Following her punishment, the man is killed quickly. However, the real moment was when Akhenaten insists that Tut, in private, kill the assassin’s son. When the boy king refuses, he’s told that he’s unfit to rule – a statement that sets off the events of the rest of the series.
Sex, Love And Everything In Between
The viewer learns pretty quickly that Tut’s father had some pretty whacky ideas about how to keep the throne-line of succession pure. It is made apparent that the boy king was forced to marry his sister, Ankhesenamun (Deen), an arrangement that neither of them are particularly thrilled with. Although they love each other as siblings, both are eager to seek comfort in the arms of their respective love interests. For Ankhe, that happens to be her brother’s best friend Ka (Gadiot). Meanwhile, Tut becomes infatuated with a commoner he meets named Suhad (Kylie Bunbury). He rescues her in the market at one point in the episode and then she rescues him after he’s wounded in battle. While Spike may not be able to show the same graphic nudity as, say, “Game of Thrones,” it more than makes up for it with a collection of steamy love scenes between the four characters.
“Tut” has a lot of political intrigue and complicated relationships to pack into one six-hour event. To help make sure the audience doesn’t get bored, the show doesn’t allow itself to go too long before showing some pretty cool action sequences. After all, who doesn’t love a bit of sword play? The ultimate action sequence in night one took place when Tut decided to lead his army personally against the Mitanni invaders. Not only is the action well-choreographed, but the show utilizes a first-person perspective to give the viewer a sense of the chaos in battle and the skill the ruler demonstrates in the field.
Opportunity, Opportunity, Opportunity
For a show that is billed mostly around its biggest star’s name, Ben Kingsley’s Vizier Ay is largely left out of “Tut” night one. However, his presence looms large over the show as his character fights to put either himself of his young son on the throne instead of Tut. The trusted advisor to the pharaoh makes his intentions clear when he tells his young cohort that their next move is merely to create an opportunity for another shift in power. The speech is intense, somewhat bloody and really showcases the talent of Kingsley and why he makes such a wonderful addition to this miniseries. In addition, it sets up the danger that Tut will be in when he returns to his home city of Thebes in night two.
“Tut” night two continues on Monday night at 9 p.m. EDT.