Saturday, 12 October 2013

Review: Atlantis 1.3: A Boy Of No Consequence

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What's the point of writing funny captions any more, eh?
Okay, I give up on being a serious critic on this show. There's just no point, it's clearly not trying to actually do anything or say anything, and it falls into so many cliches that despite the few attempts at plot we glimpsed throughout this week's debacle, it never came to anything because of the show's faith in its super-mega-awesome protagonist and its refusal to write any character who isn't a cardboard cutout. It's effortlessly sexist in the way that it only presents women who fit into the four great archetypes of "innocent, evil, matronly or sexy" and, most annoyingly, uses certain female characters simply as devices rather than imbuing them with any actual agency.
     So, the plot, of what there was. Jason gets in trouble doing daring do and Pinky and Perky get thrown in after him for no reason. Alexander Siddig's phoned-in performance (a perfectly understandable one given what a fantastic actor he is) tells us that Minoan justice is trial-by-bull, where prisoners are required to use greenscreen to pretend to leap over a bull which is unnecessarily angry in an oddly Roman arena. A plucky young girl named Elpis gives a lock of hair to Morgana-expy Queen Pasiphae in exchange for her freedom, but she's evil evil evil so it doesn't happen and Hercules is forced to use his masculine wiles to convince his girlfriend to get Medusa (from last week) to foil the old Queen's voodoo magic and save the day. Pasiphae is evil, Ariadne is boring, Jason is boring, Pythagoras has no reason to exist and I think my favourite character was the bull.
     I am a veteran of the Merlin years, when in 9 cases out of 10, the show would confirm whatever cliches you could predict, be it within seconds of your predictions or, in my unfortunate case, years. Atlantis brought that painful feeling back as I was able to see exactly what developments would happen as soon as they were mentioned, with the sole exception of the return of Medusa, which for me serves very little purpose beyond the BBC's clear attempt to appeal to the Tumblr crowd and get everyone "shipping" when in reality trying to imagine Mark Addy as a fantastic casanova is more difficult to imagine than him accomplishing the Twelve Trials. 
     The lack of mythology in this week's story was not in its favour, as the wonderful shiny glow of classroom nostalgia about learning Greek Myths and Legends left actual characterisation in its stead, resulting in a series of ill-thought-out guest characters and a focus on our main cast which made it painfully clear just how underdeveloped they still are. The crappy greenscreen effects for the bull-jumping was okay for the most part, but on occasion the mixture of the hilariously bad effect and the fact that this was an attempt by the show to appear epic left the episode a laughing stock, and not in an enjoyable way. In the crappy, why am I still watching this show sorta way. Then I remind myself that I watch this show to write angry articles about it, and I shut up.
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I mean, the lack of effort put into Ariadne's character is just
appalling. Seriously. This is disgraceful.
     Still. Within fifteen minutes of this week's episode, I had resolved to never watch Atlantis again. I go on and on and fucking on in my pre-written reviews of other TV shows about how the first few episodes are about getting it right and hooking the viewer in. Atlantis could have pushed the Time Travel aspect, it could have actually made reference to injustices (and justices) in Greek society that are different from Jason's supposed home, there could be background manipulations and political intrigue and a million different plots more interesting than the three we've been left with over this fortnight. Instead, we are given a show with boring characters, cliched plots, an atmosphere broken by repeated obliterations of my disbelief and a publicity drive which is more interested in getting people to "ship" these bland archetypes than it is actually engaging them.
     I haven't been this entertainingly angered by a TV Show since Pramface.

Thanks, I suppose.

NEXT WEEK: In an epic Twist of Fate, it turns out that reference to Pramface is a damn-sight more accurate than I ever, ever wanted it to be...

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