Pointless Nonsense

Posted in tv by Bill on December 18, 2014

ascensionAscension is a miniseries that Syfy is hoping will be a hit and turn into a real series. Most of the action takes place on a space ship launched 50 years ago to I guess start a colony on another planet. The people on board have missed out on 50 years of social changes, which could have been really interesting from a social commentary point of view. Instead, they just wear 60s inspired fashion and women’s only roles on the ship are as sex objects. There were some questions raised at the beginning of part 1 (of 3), which was just barely enough to keep me watching. Because there’s not much else on. At least one of those questions was answered in part 3, in a very unsatisfactory (to me) way. So should this ever become a series, I have no interest in it.

Syfy is trying to get away from the light fare like Eureka and Warehouse 13, lamenting missing the boat on hit speculative fiction shows on other networks. Ascension feels like a hodgepodge of influences from those and other hits. It has shocking character deaths like The Walking Dead, it has a lot of sex like Game of Thrones (though with only the basic cable level nudity of butts and sideboob), and it has a 60s aesthetic like Mad Men. I can only assume if it goes to series that people will ride motorcycles, cook meth, and maybe go to a women’s prison. Just to cover all the bases.

The cast is kinda weird. Six from BSG (most of the basic cable level nudity is her ass), Bobby Cobb from Cougar Town who is suddenly doing a lot of dramatic stuff even though I can’t take him seriously at all (do they play penny can in Attilan or on this ship?), Tommy’s wife from Rescue Me who is still pretty hot but you can now tell she’s getting older, and a guy that I think might have been on Ally McBeal. And some random younger people. Like there are 6 or 7 characters probably in their early 20s, all good-looking, all frequently in their underwear or bathing suits or otherwise not wearing much.

One character’s name is Gault, which I thought at first was Galt, and combined with the retro-futurism, I wondered if they were going for a Bioshock thing with that and the Ayn Rand business. But there’s really nothing about economy or self interest or anything, so nothing doing there. I couldn’t really pick up anything of substance from the show at all. I think they were aiming for sex and plot twists, and nothing else.

I thought they might have more fun with the isolation of the people from pop culture and new slang. But they seem to introduce some… anachronisms is not the word, because they’re appropriate words for 2014, but inappropriate for people who haven’t been in contact with Earth for 50 years. Someone secretly records something, then plays it on a giant screen. People refer to it as a “video” and it being “uploaded”. It sure as heck wasn’t a digital video, their computers are from the 60s, so it wasn’t uploaded anywhere. I don’t think “upload” would have been in people’s vocabulary then anyway. And I would think they would have called it a film or a tape or a movie. I feel like video was not a commonly used term 50 years ago (google ngrams says it was a lot less common, but I feel like that was probably mostly in technical manuals and things).

Anyway, not a good thing.


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