Eight tales of Hercules, Zeus, Hades, Medusa, Odysseus and more.
I was fooled, I admit it. Upon first glance, the three-disc Greek Gods, Heroes, and Monsters appears to be a new History Channel show exploring the titular topics. However, it is a repackaging of already released History Channel shows. I am baffled by the contents, though, as it’s not those shows in their entirety.
Disc One is four episodes from The History Channel’s 2009 series Clash of the Gods. Disc Two is three more episodes from the same show, which leaves a few episodes (the entirety of disc three from the original release, to be specific) mysteriously absent. Disc Three of Greek Heroes, Gods and Monsters is instead 2001’s Gods and Goddesses.
We at Verdict have already reviewed Clash of the Gods twice before; hence, I will only add the bare essentials. Here’s a list of the specific episodes of Clash of the Gods included within Greek Gods, Heroes and Monsters:
* Odysseus: Curse of the Sea
* Odysseus: Warrior’s Revenge
Unlike the 2010 releases of Clash of the Gods (in both DVD and Blu-ray formats), which present the episodes in 1.78:1 widescreen transfers, 2013’s release sees the episodes scaled back to a 1.33:1 format, presumably to match the aspect ratio of Gods and Goddesses. The audio track has remained the same with Dolby Digital 2.0 providing a serviceable if not outstanding experience. It’s a definite shame, as I enjoy the admittedly theatrical (if not downright hokey at times) episodes.
2001’s Gods and Goddesses is a meandering look at some of the most notable of the Greek culture’s pantheon of gods. Beginning with a look at the Greek Orthodox faith and ending with how the Greeks’ pantheon still plays a role in today’s world, the show feels very loose, with anecdotes and bits of historical trivia seemingly thrown in randomly at times. The real problem with the show is that after watching Clash of the Gods it feels like the Cliffs’ Notes to that series. It is a decent overview to the idea of Greek mythology however in terms of an in-depth analysis and retrospective it is decidedly lacking.
Which Clash of the Gods is as well. Though far more in-depth than Gods and Goddesses, the series still suffers from a lack of legitimate historical relevance. There is far more “maybe” than “definitely” spoken here.
Both shows offer overviews of the rich history that surrounds the Greek’s polytheistic religion, with Clash of the Gods earning a higher recommendation due to its entertaining reenactments. But I cannot give Greek Gods, Heroes and Monsters a full recommendation because of the exclusion of some Clash of the Gods episodes.
The video transfer for Gods and Goddesses is rough at times, I won’t lie. There is an air of a low-budget documentary within much of the footage, and the 1.33:1 aspect ratio further dates the show. The palette is decidedly pale and appears to have not seen any color timing at all. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0, which only works as well as it does because the narration sits on its own track.
There are no special features included.
If you already purchased one of the 2010 releases of Clash of the Gods, there’s no need to add Greek Gods, Heroes and Monsters to your collection. Gods and Goddesses doesn’t add enough to justify the removal of three “Clash” episodes, let alone to warrant a purchase.