THE GRYPHON on Prime Video is a new Fantasy series from Germany (org. title: Der Greif). Six episodes to the season and the series is based on the best-selling novel by Wolfgang Hohlbein. Read our The Gryphon season 1 review here!

THE GRYPHON is a new Prime Video series from Germany (org. title: Der Greif). It’s an unapologetic Fantasy series that leans into this genre in a wonderful way. It’s also based on the international best-selling novel by German fantasy author Wolfgang Hohlbein.

I can’t help but feel like this series should be right up my alley. And yet, I found myself having a hard time really getting into it. The season only has six episodes, so obviously that isn’t much time to really get immersed into this brand-new world. Basically, I’m still a little on the fence about it.

Continue reading our The Gryphon season 1 review below. The series premieres on Prime Video internationally on May 26, 2023.

Both too simple and too complex

The official plot of The Gryphon makes it sound like a very straightforward mission-based story. And it is, but then again, it really isn’t. There is a whole new world called the “Black Tower” that we need to become familiar with. Or, at the very least, somewhat acquainted.

We get to know about the Black Tower along with the main protagonist of the series, Mark.

So far, so good.

As Mark is introduced to this whole other world, the Black Tower, by his older brother on his 16th birthday, it isn’t long before things escalate. It goes from him being introduced to the world, to Mark having to save humanity from the Gryphon’s claws.

Why? Well, you’ll have to stick around to really get any sort of idea as it definitely isn’t explained beyond the whole “you need to save humanity”-schtick.

So, yeah, it sounds very simple because we’re only given very little information about a wildly complex story.

The Gryphon (2023) – Review | Prime Video Fantasy Series

Feels like a hit or miss

As stated initially, I felt like The Gryphon should be my kind of series. I loved Dark and Stranger Things on Netflix. One is a German sci-fi horror series that includes time travel. The other is the worldwide phenomenon of Dungeons & Dragon nerds in the 1980s that fight to save the world.

Sure, I’m oversimplifying, but it’s the gist of it.


Our review of Dark on Netflix which I cannot recommend enough >

With The Gryphon, we get a story placed in 1990s Germany. A solid setting as I was a teenager in Denmark in the 1990s, so there is plenty I can relate to. Also, a record store (still vinyl, but CDs are edging in) is the place where Mark spends a lot of time. Again, my kind of setting!

However, once we get to the Black Tower world, I find myself feeling underwhelmed. The creatures there are created by some of the people usually working on Guillermo del Toro movies, and I can absolutely recognize their style.

It’s cool but also feels like something out of Doctor Who or another familiar world. Not really its own and not that scary. Which is strange because the surrounding in the Black Tower do feel scary. Just in a weirdly unfinished way.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like it didn’t really get me from the beginning and I’m just trying to catch up with the drift of The Gryphon. That’s why I can’t help but think that it will be an immediate hit or miss for many.

And I fear it will be the latter for most.

Watch The Gryphon on Prime Video

Sebastian Marka and Erol Yesilkaya are the series creators and showrunners of The Gryphon. I’ve read several places that this is supposed to be the biggest fantasy production from Germany since The NeverEnding Story. That one was directed by Wolfgang Petersen and came out in 1984.

Incidentally, a movie with a great song that was recently a hit again thanks to Stranger Things including it in the series. On a smaller scale than “Running Up That Hill” for Kate Bush when used in the following season, but still.

Actually, if there’s one thing I absolutely adore about The Gryphon (org. title: Der Greif) it’s the amazing soundtrack. It’s just one brilliant hit after the next and used perfectly to set the tone.

My main issue with this new German Prime Video series is probably that the whole “Mark must confront his family’s dark legacy and enter a deadly battle in the parallel world of the Black Tower”-plot just isn’t executed in any kind of way I enjoy.

Also, few characters are very likable or intriguing to me. Obviously, that doesn’t help either. But hey, if you’re into Fantasy, you should definitely give this one a shot. It does have a lot of elements going for it. As a whole, however, I just cannot really make it work for me personally.

The Gryphon (org. title: Der Greif) is coming to Prime Video on May 26, 2023


Creators: Sebastian Marka, Erol Yesilkaya
Directors: Sebastian Marka, Max Zähle
Screenwriters: Boris Dennulat, Senad Halilbasic, Stefanie Veith, Erol Yesilkaya.
Novel: Wolfgang Hohlbein
Stars: Jeremias Meyer, Zoran Pingel, Lea Drinda, Theo Trebs, Sabine Timoteo, Flora Li Thiemann, Golo Euler


The three misfits Mark, Memo and Becky discover a fantastic world called The Black Tower where the Gryphon, a world-devouring monster, mercilessly subjugates all living creatures. And Mark is the only one who can defeat it. But he’s no hero and doesn’t want to be one. He has enough to do with school, his tantrums and his first love. Fighting monsters is out of the question. But when Mark’s brother Thomas disappears, the friends have to set off into this fantastic world and face the danger.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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