THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER: A REVIEW of Season One SERIES for the Horror Within Magazine by Mord McGhee.

I’d spent 8 hours viewing and wrote two drafts of a review into Season One when I heard the ax came down onto the thin, bland neck of FX Network’s ‘Middle Aged’ series- “The Bastard Executioner.” No, my review wasn’t a chopping blow… as you’ll find out I sort of liked it. I hadn’t even finished and now I’ve found out that FX  had cancelled any chance for Season Two.

Well, Hell’s Bells.

I guess I’m sort of disappointed. Maybe.

I considered scrapping the piece but figured there are plenty of TV shows that get cut short and that fact doesn’t lessen the import of a bright torch in the dark cave of the Kingdom of the Almighty Dollar. Sadly, the Bastard Executioner isn’t (wasn’t) that torch. Instead, it was a kitchen match that sparked and died instead of giving me a little light between seasons of that Lannister/Baratheon thing.

“That’s obvious, Mord. It’s cancelled,” you say.

No… you’re not quite hearing me.

I’m saying all of Season One, EVERY bloody episode, had the same frustrating-ass flicker of hope which then left me unsure if I gave a shit or not. I’m on episode eight and I realize that maybe that’s enough (…too much)?

There it is, my summary. Sort of…

Every time something happened in this show I sort of didn’t get sucked in enough to care. The most interesting part of TBE were the special effects covering the real-life horror of the Middle Ages and those only got me through to the next vile, gory moment. For example, have you ever been sitting on the couch and had the sudden urge to stick a knife into another human being’s eyeball so you could hear blood-curdling screams echo through your home? If you said “yes” then you should get some help (first and foremost) and you should have been born during the time of the Bastard Executioner because EVERYONE was doing it.

Long before The Twist, Legos, and Star Wars there was torture and sadism. During this show it was refreshing to see children play outside in the yard with sticks as swords instead of cooped up thumbing their way through violent video games. It warmed my heart to see them do something other than watch awful, disgusting television too… and then they got slaughtered because some asshole needed a bit of sport. Hey, wait a tick-tock. Have people have been killing each other in creative, sick ways long before modern-day megamedia? I bet they have. 

Sorry, I digress with sarcasm. I’ll get back to whether or not The Bastard Executioner makes (made…) the grade on my Elder God scoring system of 1-5 Great Cthulhus. 1 is Blah and 5 is Amazing.

Here’s the bottom line: A Welsh Baron orders a village, full of only women and children, killed because he thinks their husbands may be involved in an anti-nobility rebellion. When the husbands return to the village the widower men swear sort of vengeance. A mysterious hand cuts a woman’s pregnant stomach wide open, spilling a gruesome abortion. The Baron is killed in a follow-up and the ‘wronged main character’ becomes an appointed punisher for the land left Baron-less. The shire is then thrown into turmoil and a game of thrones begins.

It was sort of a cool concept so I stuck with it. A little fractured but I thought it had found a spark as the pilot episode closed. Once again, sort of…

If you had turned the Bastard Executioner off after Ed Sheeran’s moody theme song you probably made a better choice than I did. The song was a highlight. If you have it recorded on your DVR then you should load it up, fast forward to the horror scenes but skip the backstory bullshit. The drama was forced, the players forgettable most of the time. You won’t care about it or them. Them who? The cast. They were good enough to watch but nothing stood out. Their performances weren’t enough to stand alone. They were sort of decent.

We met a witch who sort of isn’t really a witch and almost became bad-ass half a dozen times during the season; though never coming through. There was a Chamberlain watching over the shire post-Baron who was ruthless, sadistic, bisexual… and sort of hate-able. There was a Baroness left to shepherd the good folks and she was sort of cute and sort of like-able. There was a Knight’s Templar that came out of retirement in a sort of cool way. There were a pair of sexy sluts that were sort of lesbian eye-candy for you pervy old men that love HBO’s A Game of Thrones.

“What I’m saying is that there’s a whole ton of sort of and very little to love.”

-Mord McGhee

Therefore, I say I sort of wish I hadn’t bothered with the Bastard Executioner though I sort of think it was okay. It needed stronger writing, a better premise, and more of something that it never had to begin with. What? I don’t know. It could have been some sort of cool twist such as European Horror Story: The Inquisition maybe.

1.5 of 5 Cthulhus.

Until next time, remember it’s not the cross carved into your cheek, it’s your insane sort of married partner that sort of causes some of your problems… kinda. By the way, does Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer like the smell of blood? Duh… red nose…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.


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