Friday, July 20, 2018

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TV show Almighty Johnsons breaths life into Norse mythology


Nothing tops a show that sends you to the library — or Google — on a quest for knowledge.

That is what the Almighty Johnsons does as four brothers share the stories of lore about their experiences as immortal Norse gods whose powers have waned over time.

The grace of Netflix has brought this New Zealand television series, with its light-hearted approach to the very human characteristics of Norse gods making an effort in contemporary society to regain the powers of their glory days.

The series revolves around four brothers Mike, Anders, Ty and Axl, and delves into very real human mishaps while reenvisioning the myths of the past.

While a comedy, the show raises some interesting questions about destiny, what they are  meant to do to fulfill a more positive future, like Axl learning he is Odin and meant to be the leader of the gods; and fate, what’s going to happen whether they like it or not, like Ty marrying the goddess of hell.

Can gods shape their own destiny? Can gods escape their fate? If theses characters are gods, who has determined their destiny and their fate?

The show hints at a possible answer by showing the spirit or soul of a god moving back into the universe, suggesting the universe as another realm of existence.

Another interesting aspect of the series is the blending of the gods from different ancient cultures, creating a world that is not exclusively Norse, but a world in which each culture has its own, coexisting existence across time.

The Almighty Johnsons first aired in 2011, ran for three seasons and ended in 2013.

Thanks to Netflix, it has taken on new life across multiple cultures and  inspires a new or revised interest in the mythological world of gods, their connection to other cultures and histories, and their lessons about the complexities of human nature in a light-hearted, comedy.

The show is for mature audiences due to nudity and sexual content, and the New Zealand accents and slang may be an initial challenge for some people in the first few episodes.