Friday, July 6, 2012

The Almighty Johnsons

The Almighty Johnsons:
The Story Of Norse Gods
Friggin About In New Zealand

These days, everyone in television is trying to do some form of sci fi, oh sure most do the whole vampire/werewolf/zombie route thats so fashionable right now, but every now and then, every now and then a completely new and different idea comes around that shines like an idea so brilliant it just has to work, and more so it just has to work out so well you kind of envy the bastard who actually created it. One of such ideas is the new zealand television series The Almighty Johnsons, the story of norse gods reborn on earth and living among us regular human beings, living among us being reborn over and over in the body of those with the blood of a god with in them, until a prophecy that they all believe in, shall come to pass. 

The Almighty Johnsons tells the story of the Johnson family; Mike, Ty, Anders, Axl, four brothers who live in New Zealand where they, like many other families, keep a secret that is revealed to each of them as they turn 21 years of age, that secret is, they're all reborn norse gods. The story starts on the night before the 21st birthday of the youngest boy Axl, who is completely unaware of his family secret when we start, all he knows is, his brothers and his cousin Olaf are taking him into the woods on his 21st birthday to do some sort of "family tradition", though no one tells him what it is. After bringing him to the deepest part of the local woods, and standing inside a circle made of special stones, Axl is told to hold an old sword above his head and wait for what happens. After afew minutes a powerful lightening strike hits Axl, knocking him flat on his back, as well as knocking his cousin Olaf far away from the circle, Axl has no idea whats just happened to him and as his brothers look for whats happen to Olaf, they decide to tell him the family secret, that they are all the reborn forms of various norse gods, as they look for Olaf they each explain who they are and what their powers they can use are; Mike is the reborn form of Ullr, the god of games and the hunt, Mike can track anyone or anything as long as he can get its scent, and he can never lose a game where is in direct competition with a person or machine. Anders is Bragi; the god of poetry, who can use his words to get anyone to do anything that he wishes, no matter if they don't want to or not. Ty is Höðr; the god of all things cold and dark, his touch can freeze you he can also change the temperature, as well as freeze things. When Axl asks what god he is, and what he can do, they tell him they need to ask Olaf, because he is the family oracle, and is also their grandfather not their cousin, when asked how that is possible, they explain Olaf is Baldr, the god of rebirth and age, and that his power is he doesn't age. The boys find Olaf who is literally smoking in a hole in the ground from being tossed outside the circle, they ask him who Axl is, he simply looks at him and says "Odin" and then passes out. The boys freaking out at this, carry Olaf back to their cars and they all head back to Mike's house, to figure out what this means.

While at Mike's house, as they try and wake Olaf up, they explain more of what they are to Axl; that hundreds of years ago, the norse gods grew tired of the constant demands of humans asking of them and doing things in their name, and that they built a ship and sailed as far away from Asgard and the Norselands as possible, where they could be free to live and be happy, that place ended up being New Zealand, and though they didn't know why, they knew buy Olaf's reaction that Axl is very important, not only to them, but to the rest of their kind as well. Axl ofcourse is confused and doesn't believe any of this, and insists his brothers are messing with him and that its all a trick, even them using their powers were somehow a big trick they're playing on him for his 21st birthday. Later that evening during Axl's birthday party Olaf wakes up and they explain to him what he said, he then tells them of the prophecy surrounding whenever Odin is reborn on earth; he explains that its a rarity and that whenever he is, there is a chance for all of the gods to regain their powers and return to Asgard properly. That all the gods and goddesses that are connected to each other are drawn to each other, and will live out their destinies together, in Odin's case, once he finds his wife, the goddess Frigg, they will break the cycle and return the gods to their rightful place with their full powers and proper rights that go with them, but he also explained that the last time Odin was on earth, he was killed before he could find Frigg, and when he died, not only was his entire family wiped out, but thousands of people along with him, in an earthquake that was listed as New Zealand's worst ever. From this point, they decide, they have no real choice, they have to find Frigg and finish the prophecy.

The series from here follows them as they go about their "Frigg Hunt" as they call it, along the way they encounter hardships and trials and setbacks and false positives, they also encounter other gods and goddesses, who each have their own agendas and wants, some wishing to help in their search and some out to make sure it never happens for their own selfish wants. The series is two seasons in now, and with out going to far into detail (outside of the pilot which I've given the the plot too), it gets more complicated and interesting as it goes, the gods and goddesses become more and more entangled in each others lives and sides become blurred and you never really know who's on who's side, which makes it so much more interesting. What truly stands out though is that the gods and goddesses, they make sense in the real world, like it would make sense that Loki would be a high priced lawyer, or that Thor would be a bat shit crazy goat farmer who hates the life he is living on earth, knowing what he has waiting for him in Asgard, and that the sex related goddesses would be rather slutty, and the god of cold and darkness would work on refrigerator, and that the god of poetry could use his silver tongue to get any woman that he wants, it all makes perfect sense with out having to bend the concept of a real world vs. a sci fi world, and i think thats what gives it its edge, the whole sci fi but you don't know it kind of thing, as well as the fact the hunt for Frigg isn't the only focus, yes its always there and each episode involves it, but you aren't beaten over the head with it like you are with most shows about a quest of some kind, its always drilled into you by each character atleast 3 times an episode, but not here, its there, and you know its there, and it gets mentioned, but its not forced down your throat, which is really the best way to be i think.

So if you wanna try a show thats completely out of the ordinary, and gives you a great new look into the realm of sci fi, or if you're just a fan of mythology and would love to see it played out in a totally new and unique way, give The Almighty Johnson's a try, its really rather good.

here is the season one trailer....




  1. See? Now I need to watch it! Like I need another show... :p

  2. Well something has to fill that gap between Mad Men and New Girl's return in afew months right? lol serious, I had trouble writing this so it wasn't all spoilery, because i wanted to keep the mystery of it, which is why i basically gave the plot of the pilot, then went into everything else after that. Its seriously a wicked good show and a totally unique concept, norse gods, well ancient gods in general, are almost untouched in the general sci fi world as of late for some reason... well Thor being the exception ofcourse... but you get my point.

  3. This sounds rather good! I am actually going to see if I can locate it.

  4. Mike if you want, I can give you an invite to the torrent place I got the whole series to date. I really think you'll like it a great deal.