I have been following with half-hearted enthusiasm the ITV series of Tutankhamun on Sunday evenings. In a way it is a perfect Sunday night costume drama with Edwardian and early 1920s costumes, the Valley of the Kings as a backdrop, and the unimaginable treasures to be found. However, the last item is the real problem, since you know from the start what is going to happen. They are going to find a royal Egyptian tomb. An intact royal Egyptian tomb. So no nail-biting suspense there then.
It took Carter and his financer Lord Carnarvon a long time to find a tomb and the First World War ended their original exploration. However, the frustration has been very politely presented to say it the least. Maybe it is the lead actor for me, since the son of Jeremy Irons does nothing to me. I find his face lacking the expression of emotional depth. This I found again quite amusing yesterday when he tried to express his mind-numbing emotion and surprise after he had found the tomb intact and good mutter that he sees ‘wonderful things’. But maybe it is just me and Max Irons is not my cup of tea.
The emotional moments where over quite quickly, whereas I as a long-term Tutankhamun admirer would probably like to have the glimpses of finds in slow motion and the actual moments of findings to last as long as possible. After all, finding the riches had taken them two and half episodes and it was all done in the space of probably five minutes. Then they were carrying the finds out of the tomb and started to record and discuss the finds with the local antiquities authorities. So the climax of the series was over very quickly considering the time before the after.
This being a Sunday night costume drama it cannot do without romance and other intrigue. We get a good idea of Carter’s love interests over many episodes and the other matters than the tomb naturally are in focus when there is four episodes to be made in flesh. Naturally, this side of affairs is less familiar with the archaeologists who have been reading different treatises of the find and are more familiar with the photographs of the find than any liaisons of the heart. I am not so familiar with the background stories that I cannot assess how much of the drama is true and how much have been hyped up.
So, the series so far is mildly interesting, pleasing to watch, filled with talented actors and actresses including the staple feature of international productions, Sam Neill as Lord Carnarvon. It has been worth watching, but I have been dipping in and out without any guilt. The result of knowing how it all ends.