RogerBW's Blog

Helix season 2 23 June 2015

2015 science fiction. On an island off the Washington coast, there's a disease outbreak, but a religious community living there doesn't seem to be worried about it. And it all has something to do with the immortals.

The entire point of this show is to surprise you. I don't just mean that that's the major dramatic thrust; it's the show's raison d'être. Everything else – dramatic unities, consistency of character and plot, even basic narrative tension – will be sacrificed to being the next surprise to the screen.

So I'm not going to talk about the plot; spoilers do remove the whole point of watching the show, and in any case the narrative gets thrown about like a parcel marked "fragile" in the back of a DHL van. The show is here to make you say "oh wow, I didn't expect that", and quite often it succeeds.

Inevitably, characters are going to have to undergo major changes, and that's where Alison Louder as Sister Amy fails: she's too obviously one-note, when everyone else around her is switching between sympathetic and antagonistic, between open and creepily conspiratorial, as the situation demands. Doing a rather better job in this regard are Kyra Zagorsky as Julia and Severn Thompson as Sister Anne, though both of them are too ready to defer to powerful men as the season goes on.

Three of those men are Billy Campbell as Alan Farragut, Neil Napier as his brother Peter, and Steven Weber as Brother Michael, the leader of the community. There's never room for consistency, but they bear up under the demands of the scripts, which is all one can really ask.

I didn't watch most of season 1: it was sold as a drama about controlling a disease outbreak, and it turned out to be much more about amateur conspiracies and sudden reversals. Well, this is too, but going into it with open eyes, and absolutely not taking any of it the slightest bit seriously, I found it quite enjoyable. Complete nonsense, certainly, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The series has now been cancelled.

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