*This is a user-submitted post by Jordan Hashemi-Briskin*
It should come as no surprise that Ancient Egypt has long been a popular subject for movies, TV shows, comics, novels, etc. Of course, stories related to Ancient Egypt are often divided between two extremes—those that provide fact-based information and give an accurate look at Egyptian history and culture, and those that are heavily fictionalized with talk of curses and living mummies and the like. Discovery Kids’ Tutenstein, however, manages to combine elements of both paradigms, in a surprisingly effective way.
Based on a comic book series by Jay Stephens, this program follows the 10-year-old pharaoh Tutankhensetamun (inspired by King Tutankhamun), who is accidentally brought back to life 3,000 years after his death in a natural history museum. From that point on, the series focuses on his adventures in learning about life in the modern world.
With his being royalty, one could say that Tut has a bit of a superiority complex. In addition, he tends to make reckless decisions with little regard for the consequences. Despite this, he is shown to have a kind heart, and he is never above making sacrifices for the sake of his friends.
Of course, aspiring Egyptologist Cleopatra Carter is always on hand to rein in the impulsive prince and keep him on the straight and narrow, a duty which taxes her sanity. I gotta hand it to her: she must have the patience of a saint to be able to put up with him. Also, I absolutely love how she constantly manages to match him in terms of biting wit. Hands down, Cleo’s my favorite character on the show.
Luxor, Cleo’s cat, devotes himself wholeheartedly to fulfilling Tut’s every desire, as well as serving as the voice of reason of the trio of main characters (although he does get in a few hilarious zingers now and then, and his list of adaptable epithets for his undead overlord is a scream). In many ways, he reminds me of Darwin in The Wild Thornberrys.
Of course, with such well-developed leads, the rest of the recurring human cast seems a little one-note by comparison. Museum director Horace Behdety is such a self-important blowhard that I just want to throttle him. Dr. Roxanne Vanderwheele is nice, but she doesn’t get much development, and the less said about the dimwitted security guard Walter, the better.
As previously stated, Tutenstein manages to effectively blend the tropes of living mummies and magic with actual facts about Egyptian history, culture, and especially mythology; the old gods are depicted with great reverence to their original portrayals, and the legends alluded to in the series are genuine. However, being an Egyptomaniac myself, I have noticed a few errors here and there.
Overall, Tutenstein is a one-of-a-kind Egypt-centric program, combining both truth and fiction, all with a decidedly outré charm. It also boasts colorful visuals, fun characters, and uproarious hijinks to spare. If you haven’t seen this series, I can’t recommend it enough!
Have you watched Tutenstein? Let us know down below!
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