What-to-watch

Why you should watch The Almighty Johnsons

We're hoping Johnson from Peep Show will also join the team at some point

New Zealand's answer to Being Human and Misfits, only with actual GODS, The Almighty Johnsons is back for an epic third season on Syfy. Here's why you should become a true believer.

Think "New Zealand" and "fantasy", and images of pensioner wizards having cat fights on tower tops will likely come to mind. Which is all well and good... if you're totally behind the times and still stuck on the whole Tolkien thing. Because there is new magic afoot in New Zealand. New myths and new quests, only this time with added funny. This is the world of The Almighty Johnsons, a show that begins with a randy young man arranging a date with a woman who wants to murder him, shortly before realising he's a Norse god. It gets progressively more brilliant from there.

You may have heard of this incredibly unlikely show before. That's because we're now about to start the third series on Syfy, but don't worry if you're late to the supernatural soiree, because the first two seasons will be on Virgin On Demand from this Saturday. Here are just a handful of reasons why that should be your weekend sorted right there.

An almighty premise

How's this for an extremely cool 21st birthday present: finding out you're the earthly reincarnation of the all-powerful Norse god Odin. That's the revelation that hits Axl Johnson when he comes of age. That, plus the fact his brothers are also gods. Plus the fact that their entire existence is doomed... DOOMED... if he doesn't locate the reincarnation of Odin's wife, Frigg. He probably won't want to put that on his online dating profile – might come across as a bit needy.

It's a bromance, with actual bros

The Johnsons are an awesome ensemble – in fact, it's the characters who make it so addictive, rather than the deity stuff itself. There's Mike, the oldest brother who's their father figure and the god of play (meaning he'll always beat you at rock, paper, scissors). There's Anders, the charming, cocky, womanising one (he's basically the Face of the gang). As the god of poetry, he can talk people into doing anything, kind of like the Lynx effect but with words. Ty, meanwhile, is the opposite: a sensitive loner who can't deal with his status as a god. That could be because his power is making things a bit cold. Think of him as a kind of rubbish depressed Iceman.

It's funny as frigg

"Put the stick down, bro. Here, take the chicken instead." It's lines like this that make The Almighty Johnsons what it is. Essentially, Joss Whedon meets Misfits meets a lager advert. It's also full of advice to live by ("You don't go around killing girls!"), soul-baring confessions ("My sphincter. It clenches. And not in a good way"), and valuable commentary on sexual dynamics ("I've got nothing against nymphomania. As an affliction in women it's more appealing than having one giant eyebrow"). Lest you think it's all about blokes giving it a bit of lip, though, we should also point out...

It's got goddesses

Yup, it's not just the Johnsons who are almighty. The show also features their rivals, a band of goddesses led by the lethally determined Agnetha. It's her mission to stop the Johnsons from finding Frigg, as that would pave the way for their patriarchal domination over all things, which would be bad. And a laugh. But definitely bad, as far as Agnetha's concerned. It's the battle of the sexes, only on a super-massive scale, with lightning bolts, and people occasionally being turned into trees. And if all of that isn't enough to make you a disciple of the Johnsons, did we mention Thor and Loki are in it as well? They are.

Season three of The Almighty Johnsons starts on Wednesday at 10pm on Syfy. Be sure you don't miss it by recording it on Virgin TV Anywhere. And if you need to start from the beginning, seasons one and two will be available here from 31 August.

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27-08-2013