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Clash of the Gods: The Complete Season One (Blu-ray Review)

25 Mar, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 3/30/10
$29.95 three-DVD set, $39.95 two-disc Blu-ray
Not rated.

Most people are probably familiar with concepts derived from ancient mythology but don’t know the full stories behind them. Using an effective mix of CGI, dramatic re-creations and expert interviews, The History Channel’s “Clash of the Gods” does a lot to fill in that gap while providing real-life historical context for how the myths first came to be.

The bulk of the series focuses on Greek myths, but episodes also are devoted to other traditions, such as Norse and English. Topics include Zeus, Hercules, Hades, The Minotaur, Medusa, Beowulf, Thor, Odysseus and the creatures of The Lord of the Rings.

This is a fascinating glimpse at some of the greatest adventure stories ever created.  These are timeless tales, and the show does a nice job drawing out some of the similarities between them. Many traits of the gods were assigned to explain various natural disasters. One of the common threads deals with how some of the archetypes also appear in Judeo-Christian stories.

The tie-in to popular culture is obvious. Aside from the influence the myths had on our language and culture, many of these stories have been translated directly to films.

With its title and especially the “Medusa” episode, which also relates the story of Perseus, the timing of this Blu-ray and DVD release seems aimed at taking advantage of the April 2 theatrical release of the Clash of the Titans remake.

The “Tolkien’s Monsters” episode also has a nice resonance with the April 6 Lord of the Rings Blu-ray and could just as easily been included as an extra in that set.

There are also Odyssey and Thor (the Marvel comics version) film projects in the works as well, which give “Clash of the Gods” even more traction beyond its basic role as an educational tool.

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