Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Peyton Space!


At the last moment I was gulled into putting Syfy's Ascenion onto my DVR last December. And I've only just now gotten around to watching all of the six hours which make up this saga of a generation spaceship which is headed to Alpha Centauri but has a long way to go still when we meet the crew fifty-one years along the way.


That's fantastic high concept, but sadly it mostly devolves into a soap opera, or I suppose most appropriately it could be called "space opera". The characters are the progeny of Americans who started their mission with the moral and ethical attitudes prevalent in the early 1960's and this exceedingly sexist and  mildly racist hierarchy is played out before our eyes. There's lots and lots of hanky panky with nearly every character finding themselves a little something clandestine to while away the hours. The story alas is too much about these fouled up relationships and not enough about the mission and the pursuit of it.

But there's more. Proceed only if you have already seen the show or have no intention of doing so. Major spoilers ahead.


It's a hoax. The ship "Ascension" never left Earth, but is instead is a massive super top secret project handed down from father to son intended not to get people from here to the nearest star, at least not by spaceship. It seems they are breeding for certain human traits, traits which are actually developing as we enter the story.

The political intrigue which develops as some want to expose the massive undertaking and others fight viciously for control of it, make for a clever side story. I actually loved the reveal which comes in the second episode.

But not enough is done with this and the fact this was geared to become an ongoing series, hurts the ability of the storytellers to create a fully effective finale to the whole affair.

End of spoilers.


Ascension is a good enough show, but it could have been a great one if it had not succumb to too many storytelling cliches.

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4 comments:

  1. Wish I hadnt read the spoiler, but it made me want to watch the show. I wonder if it will find its way to netflix.

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    1. Hard to say. I don't follow that stuff much. It's a great high concept with mid-range execution.

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  2. I remember reading something about this in a sci-fi magazine but I didn't know it was meant to be hoax - I think they only covered the first episode. I agree this would have been much better as a movie with a proper finale rather than a TV show.

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    1. I think Syfy pulled the plug on it a bit early. The finale is fascinating but one of the all-time cliffhangers.

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