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‘Blood of Zeus’ Combines Myth With Saturday Morning Cartoons

‘Blood of Zeus’ Combines Myth With Saturday Morning Cartoons

The new Netflix series Blood of Zeus presents a fresh spin on Greek mythology, featuring familiar characters such as Poseidon, Ares, and Cerberus. Science fiction author Zach Chapman enjoyed the show’s epic battle sequences.

“It’s the same studio that did the animation work on Castlevania, so it’s the same kind of blood-and-guts and level of awesome fighting,” Chapman says in Episode 455 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “If you liked Castlevania, definitely check this out.”

Fantasy author Douglas Cohen appreciated that Blood of Zeus doesn’t just lift character names from Greek mythology, but shows a real familiarity with the source material.

“I was reminded a lot of the Illiad,” he says. “Where the gods seem to take this attitude of, ‘The mortals are going to fight and we’re going to stay out of it—but I’ll interfere right here and do this, and I’ll interfere right here and do that.’ That felt very Greek mythology to me, the way they acted above it but really weren’t above it. They couldn’t help themselves but get involved.”

But Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley felt that one subplot, involving a character named Seraphim leading a demon army, never quite meshed with the rest of the story. “It always kind of felt like some weird crossover event where characters from different shows had gotten together,” he says. “Also ‘Seraphim’ is not a Greek word, it’s a Hebrew word, and the demons feel more like Judeo-Christian demons than anything in Greek mythology that I remember.”

Blood of Zeus bills itself as “anime,” but fantasy author Erin Lindsey thinks the show is more enjoyable if you view it as a grown-up version of a Saturday morning cartoon. “I think it’s not supposed to be doing some things we’re expecting from it, and if you kind of take it on its own terms as a deliberately simple animation style, then you kind of get over that hang up,” she says. “I don’t know that they did themselves any favors by calling it ‘anime’ or triggering that set of expectations.”

Listen to the complete interview with Zach Chapman, Douglas Cohen, and Erin Lindsey in Episode 455 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Zach Chapman on Immortals:

“If you take a frame from it, it looks really cool, and there are a couple of really cool fight scenes, but there’s an extreme overuse of slow-mo. It feels like he’s just trying to do 300. I read a quote from [the director] saying he wanted to do a Greek epic as a Renaissance painting—and definitely if you take a still from this movie, there’s a lot of Renaissance painting-like imagery—but it’s very forgettable. … Immortals is sometimes visually awesome, and then at other times it’s just very Zack Snyder-y. Around 2005 Sin City came out and 300 came out, and there were all these movies that were aping that dark, gritty color scheme with slow-mo, and that’s really what this is.”

Douglas Cohen on Clash of the Titans:

“I personally have never seen the movie, but my wife’s mom loved it so much that she named my wife after one of the characters from the movie, and that’s why my wife’s name is Andromeda. … [My wife] watched it a bunch of times as a kid, and I think we were actually watching it once not that long ago, during the pandemic, and we both kind of fell asleep, and we never came back to it. But a lot of fantasy and science fiction fans, when they find out my wife’s name is Andromeda, they’re like, ‘Really? Your wife’s name is Andromeda? You? Douglas? The science fiction fan?’ Well, this is why my wife’s name is Andromeda.”

Erin Lindsey on Hera:

“Hera as the antagonist is the archetypal ‘woman scorned,’ and she’s all the things that we’ve come to expect from women in this position—she’s deceitful and manipulative and petty, and it would just be a giant eye roll were it not for the fact that that is indeed how Hera is portrayed in a lot of Greek mythology. … I wish what they would have done was relegated that more to the background—and maybe an old source of bitterness—but focused more on her contemporary jealousies, made more of the fact that she used to be the queen of the gods and Zeus usurped her. I wish they had made more of that and focused less on the woman scorned angle.”

David Barr Kirtley on Blood of Zeus vs. The Empire Strikes Back:

“Alexia goes to meet with Chiron, the centaur, and he says, ‘I’m sorry, I had no choice, they arrived just before you did.’ So he’s exactly like Lando, and he even says, ‘No, we had a deal. She was going to stay here with me.’ They’re literally just quoting lines from Star Wars. Then Heron goes to train with Zeus, and his big problem is that he can’t control his anger, and then he gets this prophecy that his friends are in danger, and he has a choice to either complete his training or save his friends. Then he runs into Seraphim—who’s not his dad but his brother—who’s like, ‘Join me,’ and reaches out his hand. … It was just one thing after another after another, where I was like, ‘I feel like I’ve seen this movie before.’”


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