Gunpowder: Miniseries (2017)


Critics Consensus

Gunpowder's bulky narrative provides few new historical insights, but its engaging leads and visceral violence may be enough to leave viewers remembering the fifth of November anyway.



Critic Ratings: 25

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User Ratings: 0

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Air date: Dec 18, 2017

A three-part series recounting the Gunpowder Plot in early 17th-century England, when a group of Catholics conspired to overthrow King James I. The premiere opens in 1603, when a young nobleman resolves to avenge his kin and defend his faith by any means necessary.

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Air date: Dec 19, 2017

Cecil closes on Catesby, who seeks help for his rebellion and gathers plotters, but when a member of the group is in danger, they risk everything in a daring raid on the Tower of London.

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Air date: Dec 20, 2017

On the eve of November 5, 1605, Catesby, Fawkes and the plotters load the tunnels below Parliament with barrels of gunpowder. Meanwhile, Father Garnet is under pressure from an ally to break his seal of confession and reveal Catesby's plot.

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Tv Season Info

Chronicles the evolution of the plot, the selection of collaborators to carry it out, the gathering of resources and the obstacles to its execution, even as Catesby's team plays a deadly cat and mouse game with Cecil's ruthless spy network.

News & Interviews for Gunpowder: Miniseries

Critic Reviews for Gunpowder Miniseries

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (12)

A gluepot of a miniseries with good actors and no pulse.

Dec 17, 2017 | Full Review…
Top Critic

This depiction of history from the perspective of the powerless fails to spark.

Dec 15, 2017 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
Top Critic

The conspirators' efforts may have come to naught, but the efforts of Bennett, Harington and his co-stars do justice to their history.

Dec 21, 2017 | Full Review…

Gunpowder is less an entertainment than it is a curious, one-off attack on the entire genre of period-piece drama.

Dec 19, 2017 | Full Review…

While historically accurate, that doesn't make Gunpowder a picnic to watch, or do enough to flesh out the characters.

Dec 18, 2017 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The biggest issue with Gunpowder, though, is that it's dominated by excessively talky scenes that often unfold in hushed tones and undercut the urgency of what's happening.

Dec 18, 2017 | Full Review…

Given its dramatic subject matter, strong performances, and handsome production values, this series should satisfy anyone with a love for British historical drama. It's thoughtful and well-made.

Jun 22, 2018 | Full Review…

Nasty, visceral and gutsy, as, I'm so sorry to say, is history, and truth.

Mar 13, 2018 | Full Review…

Compelling historical drama has brutal violence, nudity.

Jan 9, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

For those with only a passing familiarity with the attempted regicide of the Gunpowder Plot, HBO's new miniseries is an engaging, occasionally thrilling primer.

Dec 20, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Director J. Blakeson, along with cinematographer Philipp Blaubach, crafts scenes with equal attention to style and detail, furthering television's efforts to deliver a story that's as visually impressive as its cinematic counterparts.

Dec 19, 2017 | Full Review…

While I wouldn't recommend Gunpowder as something around which to gather the family as you sip holiday eggnog, it's certainly well-done and harshly engaging.

Dec 19, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Gunpowder: Miniseries

  • Apr 04, 2019
    I think this show is so bad in so many ways, I was really surprised reading previous reviews. "Deadly boring" is probably its biggest problem, but I've seen high school plays that seemed like a professional production in comparison. I don't know how small their budget is, but some constumes look like they are Halloween store quality, and scenography can be almost comical - like 3 chairs set up in front of a red curtain hanging on a pole. Why actors are talking to each other facing forward, as they are on the theater stage, instead of facing each other? I suspect the hat this show will be the end of Kit's heart rob status, as he looks about 4ft tall in every shot. I know that he is very small (I've seen him in person and there is no way his bio information is accurate- he's 5'6 at best), but that's something that was skillfully disguised for the most part in the GOT. If you're watching it because you miss Jon Snow, you won't be disappointed- he brings back his signature glossy eyes and "something smells bad" frown so you can indulge in it in every single scene.
  • Apr 25, 2018
    it was drag to pull it through 3 episodes with no episode really begging me to finish and go on to the next. some parts just had me preferring to browse on my phone than pay attention. in the end, it was a story about unprepared, unsuccessful misfits having no consequence on the course of history.
  • Feb 02, 2018
    Very few historical dramas are done as I think they should be, but Gunpowder just nailed it. In terms of how it played on screen, I deeply appreciated the writing and presentation of the story. The violence was as harsh as it needed to be (it depicted real stories and common forms of torture for the time period), but no harsher (they could have justified putting more brutal violence, but they didn't, because it wasn't necessary. They weren't just having fun filming torture scenes). Where it goes above and beyond though, is historical accuracy. The depictions of all of the major characters and players were spot on. Cecil, James, Catesby, Thomas Percy, and of course Guy Fawkes. I've never seen a show that did a better job of bringing real people to life. I mean it, never. Also, there are parts of the Gunpowder Plot which remain somewhat subject to interpretation, like the Earl of Northumberland's level of involvement. The show was written with enough of an eye to history that they offered an extremely likely interpretation of those aspects of the story. Plus, they got some of the details that could have been missed, things like Thomas Percy and Robert Catesby being killed by the same musket ball. Plus, they managed to depict the politics of the time, without losing focus on the Plot itself. As a history buff, I am just in awe of how well this series was done. After watching one historical drama after another fall flat, or fail to capture the spirit of the time, this is one that went above and beyond anything I could have hoped for.
  • Jan 05, 2018
    Historically accurate in its graphic depiction of 17th Century religious persecution, thoughtfully woven with its tense, well-paced cat-and-mouse game. The heart of the series is Anne Vaux, the only grounded person in the midst of the fanatical heretics. Mark Gatiss is splendidly cold and calculating in his efforts to stop Catesby and his loyal henchman is darkly brilliant. Kit Harington himself brings a desperation and a sense of death-worship in his martyrdom. He wants to die, he knows he's going to die, and wants to go out with a bang. But despite that, one can't help to root for him...almost. Tom Cullen brings to life Guy Fawkes as a man of action, not words. Though one wishes there would've been more time to flesh out the relationships especially that of Catesby and his son, a solid, well-played out drama about a poignant piece of dark history.
  • Dec 28, 2017
    The first 30 minutes are "people trying to find other people hiding in a room." 30 minutes. I'm surprised a anyone who makes it passed even that.
  • Dec 27, 2017
    it's beautiful, but it's all style no substance
  • Dec 26, 2017
    Cinematography is pretty good for a 3 episode mini series. Well paced & well cast. The dialogue is choppy and you never love any of the characters, even though you can tell they want you to love it. The show comes close to delivering... but this one disappoints. Still worth watching. Biggest problem is the scripts.
  • Dec 22, 2017
    Excellent acting, fine script.
  • Dec 21, 2017
    This could just as well as been a movie about Sunni fighting Shia. Religion is the culprit of MOST warfare and death in our world, and this movie just shows how stupid people are that believe in religion, and even worse that believe in THEIR sect so much that they would kill and die for it. When will humanity evolve out of superstition and naivitee into dealing with the world based on fact? Good acting, but they were all idiots.
  • Dec 20, 2017
    This rather interesting view on what inspired a national and somewhat global holiday offers compelling performances by Kit Harrington and Mark Gatiss.

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