Netflix series The Letter for the King may be based on an adaptation, but it’s lazily written and performed, making it a big fat dud for the platform.
This review of Netflix Series The Letter for the King season 1 contains no spoilers. The series will be released on the platform on March 20, 2020.
Family adventure series’ during difficult times is a must during a pandemic. Banding a self-isolated family together to avoid covid-19 and watch a medieval fantasy series that involves young knights trying to save their kingdoms will surely boost morale.
Unfortunately, Netflix’s The Letter for the King sells itself as a family drama but clogs itself in many fantasy themes and toys closely with extreme peril. The story does not know what to be. It keeps the villain at arm’s length but expects the audiences to be invested in the impending danger, which never actually feels like danger.
The writers could not decide if The Letter for the King season 1 is an epic, dangerous adventure, or slight family fun, and it shows.
The story follows a young prospective Knight named Tiuri, who is pressured to become a Knight by his parents despite his obvious lack of skills in the fighting department. Looming over the kingdom is a Prince named Viridian who is scolded by war efforts and seeks revenge by inflicting death to succeed freedom. There’s also plenty of politics thrown in, plus Tiuri has to contend with the other prospective Knights, called Novices.
It’s all very clunky, but the main objective for Tiuri is for him to deliver a letter to King Favian, created by Prince Viridian himself that serves as a warning sign that there is a takeover coming.
I don’t really understand the purpose of the letter or why it became crucial to the story by the time I reached Episode 3, but it’s clear that the production team had a nightmare compiling this series together. The performances by the young cast are deliberately casual, to try and modernize “old times”, but it just comes across as lazy and immature. The characters are extremely on-the-surface, forcing zero emotional attachment from the audience, creating a void, giving zero reasons to press “next episode”.
And it’s a shame because the title The Letter for the King sounds uniquely promising and the trailer offered some exciting insight that unfortunately did not display well in the six episodes offered.
And talking of the six episodes; for a genre like this, it’s unusual for Netflix to opt for a “mini-series” and I wonder if the streaming platform had doubts in how much budget they wanted to provide. But weirdly enough, in the six chapters, there is a “filler” episode which is ridiculously unacceptable for a small series.
What were they playing at?
With covid-19 not slowing down but rather speeding up, let’s hope there are only a few duds Netflix serve. Streaming platforms have a role to play here to keep us entertained and not to serve half-baked “family” genres rolled into a soft peril pancake for the masses. The Letter for the King season 1 is a big fat dud.
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Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.