Sunday, November 24, 2013

Atlantis - The Earth Bull

In much the same tone of the recent television updating of Sinbad, the BBC's latest is a re-imagining of the Greek hero Jason (Jack Donnelly) as a child born in Atlantis but raised in America who finds himself washed-up on the shores of a city he knew only about in legends while searching the oceans for his lost father. Befriended by Hercules (Mark Addy) and the scientist Pythagoras (Robert Emms), Jason arrives in city on an auspicious day when seven citizens are chosen to be fed to the Minotaur to appease the gods.

Taking the place of Pytagoras, Jason volunteers and finds himself in the maze with both of his new friends whose attempt to help him get them a one-way ticket to meet the Minotaur as well. However, as predicted by the Oracle (Juliet Stevenson), Jason kills the beast (through more dumb luck than any skill) and takes the first-step to claiming his destiny (which the Oracle chose not to share with the hero).

Both the writing and effects (at least for the show's first episode) are better than Sinbad. The choice to make Hercules a fat coward is unexpected and the show boasts a strong supporting cast including Alexander Siddig and Sarah Parish as the King and Queen of Atlantis and Aiysha Hart as Princess Ariadne (and love interest for our hero). The pilot episode shows Jason has some natural skill and ability but I'm hoping the show allows the character to grow into a true hero rather than simply fall backwards into victory (as we see here).

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