Sometimes shows air after I believe they should. Metal Hurlant Chronicles is one of them. The show, which world premiered at San Diego Comic-Con in 2012 and has aired, already, throughout Europe, is based upon the Heavy Metal/Screaming Metal comics, with each story as a stand alone that has a very Twilight Zone feel to it. The show follows that format, and each thirty minute episode is a complete story.
The first episode that SyFy aired (two air back-to-back on Monday nights starting at 8 PM) is the show’s pilot, “King’s Crown.” I had previously seen this episode at the Metal Hurlant Chronicles panel at Comic-Con, and in my second viewing, I found that my prior knowledge of what would happen in the story did not detract from watching it. I had also forgotten a couple of the better moments from the episode, and I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing them again. “King’s Crown” is about a corrupt king who is dying, and the search for a new king to replace him.
The world of King’s Cross is one that mixes futuristic technology with a feudal society. The wealthy within the society have all the opulence and wealth they can imagine, along with access to the technology, and the peasants of the society do not. They are stuck with working hard to survive, only to have to give up most, if not all, of the benefits of their hard work in the form of taxes. As the search for a new king unfolds, we discover that combatants fight to the death to be king, and the last man left standing will be crowned. The underdog is quickly discovered to be Guillam, a fighter from a very poor province of the kingdom. He is tired of the corruption and wants change that will positively affect those who struggle the hardest in the kingdom. He is mocked by some of the other fighters, who feel that the status quo is okay. The day after a feast, in which Guillam is mocked for choosing not to partake in an alcoholic beverage (probably beer or mead), the fighters prepare to fight for the kingship.
Guillam easily defeats his first opponent, and walks on with his friend Julian to another fight. At that platform, he discovers the combatant, Teague, is giving a speech while waiting for someone to fight. Unfortunately for him, Julian is cocky and arrogant, and sadly is quickly dispatched by Teague while he continues to make his speech to the people watching the match. Then it’s Guillam’s turn to fight. The fight is absolutely stunning, with gorgeous choreography that is nicely blended with some slow motion, and raises the anticipation for the ending of the episode. Guillam fights, and is nearly beaten, when Teague stops and, instead, chooses to continue fighting with his fists instead. Eventually, Guillam discovers why Teague has allowed him to win, and is named king. Long live the new king, right? Well… Maybe not.
I’m not going to spoil the ending, as it’s one of the best things about the episode! You can see it for yourself by downloading the episode of Metal Hurlant Chronicles from iTunes (it’s currently free in iTunes US) or checking it out via On Demand with your television provider. Unfortunately, the episode is not available in its entirety on SyFy.com, though they do have some teasers and trailers available to watch.
Metal Hurlant Chronicles is a fun show and great for Sci-Fi fans to enjoy! Did you watch the episode? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.