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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Ascension (Syfy MiniSeries 2014)

'No Future"
Ascension is part of Syfy's return to dramatic science fiction, the three part miniseries promised to be a spiritual successor to shows like Battlestar Galactica finally bringing the channel back to space. It doesn't quite achieve such heights in its limited time but it does entertain and intrigue the audience with a mixture of character drama, action and a twisted story line.

In the 1960's Americas best scientists were collected and entered a ship to travel into space for a one hundred year journey to ensure the survival of the human race. 51 years later on the ship a woman is murdered and it is down to the ships XO to find out what has happened. However the things he learns lead him down a rabbit hole to suggest that something else is wrong with the ship.

The first thing to be commended is the world building within Ascension (the ship) which is stuck in the 1960's whilst reaping the benefits of having genius creators aboard. The melding of future and past is seamless and a link to present day Earth is woven in and becomes an integral part of the story. The cultural differences and devices in place to ensure the ship and the human race stays functioning separate the crew from us and give them unique lives that are wonderfully concocted if not a little unexplored.

Whilst not quite giving what it offers Ascension does deliver in returning Syfy to its BSG glory days, Tricia Helfer definitely helps, but the acting on the whole is strong. Brian Van Holt performs greatly as the ships captain and the relationship between him and Helfer is one of the series' highlights. Occasionally the acting and storylines of the younger characters dips into soap category but the plot moves so quickly that its difficult to dwell on.

If anything Ascension should have been given more time to explore its plot points before launching off to the next, the characters are introduced at lightening speed and you feel almost as though your being led around. This could be an incredibly intelligent choice or could just be poor pacing.

Over all Ascension is worth a watch, I think its even worth a second season, with a little more room to breath the threads it has begun could turn out to be a great story, as it is 99% of it is good fun dramatic science fiction and if nothing else it makes me hopeful for the future of Syfy as a channel.

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