‘Riese: Kingdom Falling’ is a new online series available for viewing on Syfy’s website. The story takes place in Elyesia, where a royal family is slaughtered in a coup and a dark underclass, named the Sect, takes power. On the night of what was supposed to be her coronation, Riese witnesses the murder of her loved ones yet survives the attack. The sect chooses a peasant to take power, and once she does she conquers nearby lands while Riese is hunted relentlessly.
The premise behind this series is an excellent idea. An exiled princess trying to survive in the forest with a lone pet wolf at her side while an evil class usurps her family’s power is almost straight out of the history books and very easy to believe. The cinematography is excellent, and the scenes vary greatly from hospitals to lush, green forests to blazing battlegrounds. Unfortunately, some of the acting leaves much to be desired. It’s lack luster at best, and at its worst it’s reminiscent of high school drama class. The worst attempt of acting seems to come from Amara (played by Sharon Taylor). Her lines seem forced at times, and I found it hard to immerse myself in the show when I was watching her scenes. Trennan (played by Patrick Gilmore) came in at a close second.
While I’ve always enjoyed Amanda Tapping’s performances onscreen, her narration of this show is truly annoying. At some points I found myself wishing for silence so I could assess the situation myself rather than have it dictated to me in a bedtime story fashion.
The incorporation of the wolf is a great idea. Riese’s survivability makes more sense with a wolf at her side that can help defend her. And Riese is an excellent character herself. Played by Christine Chatelain, she plays her part quite well.
All 10 webisodes are currently available at Syfy’s website.