Atlantis, it’s been pointed out to me, is the only telefantasy show made this year by the BBC, barring two episodes of Doctor Who. It’s lavish, slick, quick and shiny, but, unlike it’s Time Lord cousin, seems to have fallen into an ever so predictable trap almost from the get go.
Actually, it’s two traps. The first one is one that a lot of fantasy shows, from the X Files to Star Trek to Smallville have fallen into, and it’s the formula of the week mode. Last week, Minotaur, this week, Medusa. At the same time, Pythagorus is kind but geeky, Hercules is selfish but kind really and Jason his hot damn heroic whilst still yearning for the truth and making doe eyes at women.
Why he’s not doubting his sanity or screaming at the sky after being washed from modern day real life into this Greek Myth of a world is beyond me, although the line “I feel strangely at home here” is meant to cut it. It doesn’t.
Episode one had a big job to do, and did it relatively well, but it’s episode two that needs to be the hammer. For instance, if we look at said cousin, Doctor Who, it’s superb set up was followed by, well, the Daleks. Nuff said.
Atlantis, however, follows on with a lot of Merlin-a-like sitting around camp fires whilst the Myth of the Week tries hard to be a wee bitty different from what you think. Jason yearns, Pythagorus exasps, Hercules why-I-oughtas.
The shame is I found myself getting bored half way through, and that can’t be a good thing for a new tv show. It’s on later than Doctor Who and Merlin because apparently, according to rent-a-witch Sarah Parish it’s “darker”.
Well, it’s not. It’s a pretender. Unless it breaks this mould and does something – fast – it’s not going to see the longevity of it’s fellow Saturday nighters the far superior Merlin and Robin Hood never mind it’s collosus cousin Doctor Who.
Perhaps the money spent on this lavish Homerian tale might have been best spent on celebrating the series that made it possible.