TV REVIEW: The Almighty Johnsons – Season 1 Episode 1: It’s a Kind of Birthday Present

I must admit that with a tagline of ‘Meet the Gods Next Door’ I wasn’t expecting much from The Almighty Johnsons but after checking out the first episode I must confess to being  pleasantly surprised by the latest addition to the UK Syfy channel.

The show is based in New Zealand and is centres around four brothers who all appear completely normal apart from the fact they happen to be the living incarnations of Norse Gods.

This first episode focuses on Axl (Emmett Skilton), the youngest of the brothers, who is finally let in on the big secret on his 21st birthday and is more than a little shocked  to discover his families true heritage. There are also a few shocks waiting for his brothers Mike (Tim Balme), Anders (Dean O’Gorman), Ty (Jared Turner) and cousin Olaf (Ben Barrington), who doubles as the family oracle, when they learn who Axl is reincarnated as. There is also the small matter of the four norse goddesses Agnetha (Alison Bruce), Ingrid (Rachel Nash), Michele (Michelle Langstone) and Stacey (Eve Gordon) who are intent on stopping Axl from fulfilling an accent prophecy that will restore him and his brothers to full godhood.

By now you’ve probably read that previous paragraph and thought ‘This sounds like fantasy 101 and I’ve seen it all before” and in some ways you would be right. However there’s a lot of off beat humour in the episode and some great one liners from cast, mostly delivered by Anders, who is the incarnation of Brag, the god of poetry. Axl’s reaction to the news that his brothers are gods is both realistic and hilarious as is the way his brothers finally convince him (who knew Rock, Paper, Scissors could be so epic).

The Almighty Johnsons is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously but I think has the potential to have a few dark moments as the series draws on and in that regard it had faint echoes of Being Human. There is one scene in patricular between Anders and Mike which explains why they don’t get along and casts Anders in a much more sinister light.

The brothers, even from this first episode, have a lot of chemistry between them and as someone with older brothers, I really bought into the  sibling rivalries being playing out on screen. Mike, who is the oldest and as such must hold the others together,is the sensible one and even before they meet up you know that’s going to put him at odds with Anders. Even the way the brothers rib each other throughout the episode about their, somewhat diminished, godlike powers felt real, so the show runners must be doing something right.

The fact that this is a show from New Zealand gave it a different and quirky vibe that really drew me in. Yes anyone who’s watched a lot of genre shows will have seen a lot of what goes on ‘it’s your destiny…blah, blah’ many times before but it doesn’t really matter as the cast seem to be having a ball with it and you can’t help but get carried swept along with it.

My only real downside to this first episode was the whole battle of the sexes thing which is being set up with the norse Goddesses but as it’s the first episode I’m willing to wait and see how it pans out. There also wasn’t much action given the premise of the show but honestly I was having so much fun with the show that it didn’t really bother me. There also plenty of time to show in some more action as the series goes on.

In a time of genre shows like Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead both of which really ramp up the heavy emotion drama I’m always on the look out for something fun to watch to balance that out.  If you’re like me and want something light and fun  but entertaining then you should give The Almighty Johnsons a try.

The Almighty Johnsons  starts it’s UK run on Syfy at 10pm from 2nd February

GS Reporter: Nuge

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  1. “My only real downside to this first episode was the whole battle of the sexes thing which is being set up with the norse Goddesses ”

    Mine too, but it seems to be a bit more nuanced/complicated in the second season. I love this show so damn much, and I adore its laugh-out-loud hilarity.

    • That’s great as I really enjoyed the first season and I have to admit I was less bothered by the ‘battle of the sexes’ by the end of the season. I’m really looking forward to when season 2 come to the UK.

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