‘Knightfall,’ ‘Happy!’ testimonials on History, Syfy

(CNN) Basic cable often wants to prove that it can compete with premium stations. Two new illustrations, though, “Knightfall” and “Happy!,” appear to confuse ratcheting up the ante on violence with delivering what will come to be perceived as a program worth paying for.

In some recoverable format, History’s “Knightfall” appears like a great idea: a drama about the Knights Templar searching for the ULTIMATE GOAL, replete with a number of “Downton Abbey” alumni in its sizable cast.

The result, on the other hand, is a handsomely produced series that has the flavor of a British tea-time show — one of those dramas that air in the afternoon, made to broadly appeal to audiences young and old — only infused with a lot more violence and gore, along with soapy factors that feel tired practically from the get-go.

Tom Cullen takes on Landry, the noble knight whose buy is charged by the Pope (fellow “Abbey” alum Jim Carter, this time in a different Abbey, along with gigantic hats) with seeking the Grail, the legendary glass of Christ,after its disappearance in 1291. But among other activities, Landy provides been secretly dallying with Queen Joan of Navarre (Olivia Ross) beneath the nose of her hubby, King Philip IV of France (Ed Stoppard), who considers Landry his bosom pal.

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Although the quest for the Grail supplies the spine of the show, there are a good amount of tributaries flowing from it, including the king’s trusted adviser William De Nogaret (Julian Ovenden, like Cullen, a former “Abbey” suitor of Lady Mary), a Cardinal Richelieu-type schemer. Few of them possess many spark, in a drama that seeks to provide the grim simple fact of the times yet occasionally feels a trifle anachronistic.

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