The CW is going back in time for the four-hour miniseries “Labyrinth.” Spanning two nights beginning on Thursday (May 22) and concluding Friday (May 23), the miniseries connects two very different time periods — the present and 1209 — in a small French town, with present-day and past characters united in unlocking the secret of the Holy Grail, fending off cults and conquering forces.
With a large ensemble cast including Jessica Brown-Findlay (“Downton Abbey”), John Hurt, Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) and Tom Felton (“Harry Potter”), the miniseries is very un-CW, as it dirties up even the most attractive actors to make the medieval scenes more authentic. It also ditches the usual formula of casting young, pretty actors for every role. The average age is decades older than the usual CW shows, which is an interesting change of pace for the network.
Between the lavish sets and breath-taking backdrops, the series achieves a picturesque, grand feeling, but unfortunately, that’s where the compliments stop.
“Labyrinth” takes itself way too seriously to the point where scenes played for drama tend to become laughable. The villains spend way too much time twirling their mustaches, and yet it’s not in campy, fun way that would make it more enjoyable. Despite the fact that the body count piles up early on, the stakes don’t feel quite so high, as both main characters are so naive that you want to yell at them as one yells at someone about to die in a horror film. They could have easily avoided the predicaments they find themselves in had they used just a tiny bit of common sense. Alas, that seems to be a problem spanning both modern and medieval women in this series.
These issues are made all the more frustrating because “Labyrinth” takes way too long to hit the ground running and introduce the actual story, so part 1 is confusing and fails to get viewers to care about both the past and present storylines. By the end of the second hour, the big problem finally presents itself in both time periods, but is it enough to keep viewers coming back for the second night?
That remains to be seen.
“Labyrinth” premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.