This autumn seems to have brought a bumper crop of daft fantasy television. But never mind the quantity, is any of it any good? That, dear viewers, is a very good question indeed....What: AtlantisWhen: BBC1, Saturdays
Now, some folk have asked me whether I'm going to be writing Atlantis reviews, in the style of my Merlin reviews
. This is a reasonable enough question, since Atlantis really, really
wants to be the new Merlin. If there was any doubt of this fact, 4 minutes into the show, we get ( thisCollapse )
and 8 minutes in, we get ( this.Collapse )
However, as The Great British Bake-Off
regularly proves, the presence of the correct ingredients does not necessarily guarantee a delicious outcome. And I'm disappointed to report that, in the case of Atlantis, the results did not titillate my taste buds in any significant fashion. Its major issues for me were:
- Lack of women: So far, there's a mother, a pouty love-interest, and a mystically muttering oracle, and that's about it. No sign of pro-activity or ass-kicking of any kind. Yes, I know this was also true of Merlin but it would have been such an easy area to improve on in a remake, and yet it hasn't happened. Depressing, innit.
- Eye-candy failure: To make sure you please everyone, you need to cast a RANGE of hotties. Merlin got this very, very right, of course. But Atlantis has only one ostensible hottie - Jason - but his two facial expressions and Hasselhoff haircut do precisely nothing for me. So what have I got to gawp at, BBC? Eh? I don't expect you to be deep, but it looks like you can't even be shallow properly. Sheesh.
- Mythological mushiness: Now, as a long-time appreciator of Merlin's anachronistic vegetables, I could happily live with the mashing together of bits of past and present, Greek and Roman, myth and history, if only I could see where it was leading or that there was some benefit derived from doing it. But it's hard to get any sense of epic destiny when the guiding sentiment seems to be "yeah, I've heard of that, stick it in".
More than Merlin, Atlantis actually reminds me of Sky One's cancelled Merlin-substitute series Sinbad
, which had a similarly sunny setting and a lot of shirtlessness and jumping off buildings where all its charm and wit should have been. Sadly, this makes Atlantis feel like not merely a lacklustre copy, but a lacklustre copy OF a lacklustre copy.
So, in answer to the original question: no, unless it starts to be become a LOT more interesting than it currently is, I'm not going to write Atlantis reviews. I will, however, watch a couple more episodes, on the off-chance that things perk up a bit.What: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.When: Channel 4, Fridays
A secret organization that isn't very secret at all, run by a man who's come back from the dead and staffed by people who wear little leather jackets and bicker a lot. Gosh, I miss Torchwood! But enough about that.
Confession time: I find Joss Whedon's output rather hit and miss*, but I was very fond of The Avengers so in theory, I'm game for a spin-off. The first episode was entertaining but a bit unmemorable, so I'm not yet sure if there's a source of long-term interest for me here. For that to happen, the characters will need to develop proper personalities and relationships with each other, rather than simply being snappy one-liner machines.
Mark me down as not totally sold, but relatively optimistic about the future. If all else fails, they can always buy a pterodactyl.What: Sleepy HollowWhen: Coming to the Universal Channel from Wednesday 9th October
He's a swashbuckling Revolutionary soldier who climbed out of his grave in the 21st century and is surprised to find that everything he knew is now a Starbucks. She's a plucky modern-day deputy sheriff in a small town full of weird happenings. They fight
the forthcoming apocalypse!
This show hasn't actually reached British TV yet, but it's already caused a flurry of squee on Twitter and Tumblr, which inspired me to summon the internet fairies and check it out early. The underlying concept is never going to be very sensible or original, no matter how much you jiggle it, but as long as your handwaving skills are well-honed, there's plenty of silly fun to be had. It also has a few advantages that the previous two shows in this post do not possess:
- Some proper totty, in the dashingly lanky form of Tom Mison (way back when, I named him as one of my Top Ten Men of 2008 so I can claim to have spotted his promise early). As well as a dodgy haircut and legs that don't quit, he also has an appealing element of puppy-dog silliness that stops him from being a Twilightesque cliché.
- A great female lead, in the no-nonsense yet adorable form of Nicole Beharie. As a pair, they have great comedy chemistry and I already ship it with the blazing shippiness of a thousand shippy horsepersons of the Shipocalypse. It might never happen, but hey, there'll hopefully be some giggles along the way.
So what conclusions can we draw from this round-up? Basically, that I'll watch any old rubbish if there's an attractive bloke in it. This comes as a surprise to precisely nobody. Hooray.* I am the only person I know who didn't like Firefly. Yeah, I know, blasphemy, blasphemy, burn the witch.