Atlantis – Episodes 1-5

On November 14, 2013 by

When Atlantis hit our screens I thought we were in for another BBC great. I expected an attractive world of magical, mythical beings and extraordinary talents. I was correct on that front however, I did find the opening of the series a little odd.

Opening scene was a bit of car-crash

I almost can’t put my finger on it and now the series progresses I
find it even more out of place. Although I feel more immersed in the world of Atlantis, that opening scene of modern deep-sea exploration just seems
well…pointless. There has been no mention of Jason’s previous self at all,
which just makes the memory of the beginning that little bit more unwelcome. Why bother to show Jason in the modern world if we have not heard another mention of it since episode one? It could certainly make Jason a little more interesting. They may just as well have saved the budget and seen him hit by a car like Life on Mars or clicking the button on his wristwatch. I feel the overall production would certainly benefit from the money spent. Perhaps spend a little more money on another shirt for Jason, as the one he’s worn for the first 6 episodes must give out a stench! 

The script itself is extremely simple (almost as if it were meant to
be an idiot’s guide to budding screenwriters in a university lecture hall). The story arch of each episode is predictable, beginning with a serious problem then continuing with Jason wanting to help, Hercules complaining and Pythagoras making a ‘witty statement of the day’. Then inevitably the trio face extreme danger that they should definitely die from, yet miraculously all survive due to Jason’s strange and as yet, unexplained talents (and almost always naked torso). It would be almost boring if it weren’t for the existence of a slightly less predictable plot-line of Jason’s inappropriate royal ‘love’. 

The script itself is dull. The screenwriter is not particularly apt
to write lines that swing the double-edged sword and vocabulary is never particularly misleading. There is no guesswork for the audience; it is a bit ‘7pm’ in terms of language, which doesn’t always succeed in maintaining my interest. It isn’t until episode 5 where I finally saw the character development I had been craving. Ariadne finally stands to face Pasiphae who plots against her and confronts her with ‘I see you for exactly who are’. Finally there is confrontation, a conflict outside of the single arcs of each episode! We have a subplot that finally is pulling its weight.
Is he capable of only one facial expression?

Aside from that the cast aren’t particularly compelling either. I
have yet failed to truly connect with lead Jack Donelly, who plays Jason. However, with the limitation of knowing nothing of Atlantis or anyone within the city, alongside a script the audience already knows by the second episode, it’s not surprising that his character seems wooden and absent of personality. Although, in a new world you would think he’d be a little more inquisitive about the Oracle’s words or indeed the fate of his father that he set out to find in the first place. It was that longing that led him to Atlantis at all, and now he is here, confronted by magic and mystery he instead chooses to bumble along the streets and wait for things to find him. Jason is given half-hearted sentences
that seem to be written just so that he has something to say, not because there is an undying need for him to say them. He would definitely benefit from a few more lines that show his conflict between Atlantis and the modern world he magically travelled from.

Hercules – the Strong… or the Stupid?

Alas, he is saved slightly by the sometimes comedic banter between
Pythagoras and Hercules and the delightful surprise of some well-known mythical characters that have yet to reach their fate. For example, the arrival of Medusa added intrigue to the dull script although since episode 2, we have not seen any development of her character. Elsewhere, the words of the Oracle just about manage to hold our attention with the knowledge that Jason too has a fate to fulfil and that some within the royal house, are plotting obstacles that
may not be so easy to conquer.


Overall the series – despite its ill-fitting opening and lack of
inventive storytelling – still manages to steal my Saturday night slot. Why? I can only imagine it is the thing that all audiences crave: what happens next? If the series got nothing else right, it got this one. We have no idea what Jason’s fate is, or how long it may take to get to those tales of the Golden Fleece. We know that one day Medusa will become that cursed snake-haired woman,
so what will become of her and Hercules? We also will the romance between Ariadne and Jason to become more than just an awkward blush in a back-alley and finally add some personality to an otherwise boring character. 

Will they – won’t they?
Are those ‘love bites’ ever gonna happen?
What other mythical creatures will we bump into?

Sure, the script is predictable and the characters are also but it is their fate that has me hooked. For how long, we shall have to see.

What will happen?


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