In my continuing search and love of British Sci Fi, I’ve had a chance to check out this oft-compared to Torchwood, Fringe, and Sanctuary show.
Like those other shows, we follow a team as they investigate the unusual events and creatures. In this case, the team is mostly scientists, working for the government to investigate the appearance of anomalies (specifically, rips in time that allow you to pass through to another time period or things to come through from other periods). While I wouldn’t rank this show above the other shows I mentioned above, I quite like this show and the the mythology it introduces.
The cast goes through a number of changes over the course of the show (each season is quite short, but already we have lost and gained at least eight people over the last 3+ seasons) and this is perhaps the reason why only some of the characters seem well-developed. I appreciate a show willing to kill off main characters, but death for the sake of death is always annoying.
Of the original cast, we only have four members left: Connor and Abby are easily the most beloved characters on the show. They are both distinct personalities whose relationship we have watched grow from friendship to romantic. Lester is also interesting in that you love to hate him, but at the same time you kinda like him. It took a long time before he grew on me, but we’ve finally gotten to see his better points, which helps. Lastly, we have Jenny Lewis (formerly Claudia Brown), who I am mostly indifferent about. She was mostly interesting in her relationship with Dr. Cutter and since he is gone, she’d lost most of her intrigue.
As for the rest of the cast:
- Matt Anderson was brought in to replace Danny Quinn who was brought in to replace Dr. Cutter as head of the team. Dr. Cutter’s best aspect was his issues with his wife (he thought her dead for eight years but it turned out that Helen had actually discovered the anomalies and been time-jumping, and returned to push through a secret agenda which turned out to be the extinction of mankind), Steven (his mentee who slept with his wife and thought the public should be told about the anomalies), and Claudia Brown/Jenny Lewis (can he love someone knew when he’s just learned his wife is still alive? and if Claudia Brown was erased from history and replaced with the identical Jenny Lewis, are his feelings for Jenny really just his feelings for Claudia?). Danny was less interesting because we never delved into his character very much. (Sure, his brother died because of a creature which inspired him to join ARC, but that’s about it really.) Matt has the potential to be extremely interesting. We know he’s falsified his resume to get his job and that he is part of some as of yet undisclosed plot. At the same time, he seems to be a genuinely good guy.
- Becker was brought in as Steven’s replacement, as the man whose job it is to protect the team when they deal with the creatures that come through the anomalies. Part of what made Steven interesting was his backstory (Dr. Cutter was his mentor, he had a secret affair with Helen Cutter…). This is what Becker is missing. Sure, he’s awesome with a gun, but that is what he was hired for, so it isn’t exactly a surprise. I’m hoping that this season will finally delve into him more (beyond the fact that he’s loyal and brave).
- Jess Parker wasn’t really brought in to replace anyone specific, but her job is sort of a hybrid job. She helps route the team, clear areas, compile information, etc. In the first episode of season four she seemed more annoying than anything else, but by the second episode, she started to grow on me. I’m not sure why. She’s a little too earnest and a bit awkward, but maybe it’s her genuine niceness that makes her likeable.
- Phillip Burton is Lester’s co-head of the operation. So far he seems to be something of a pain who always makes issues, but we haven’t learned enough about him to know for sure if we should really dislike him or if his stickler for rules persona is just an exterior.
A general observation about the show: women and children almost never die and on the rare occasion that they are killed by a creature, it is rarely shown onscreen and we rarely even see their bodies. They might think to take a lesson from Walking Dead and not shy away from the sad and gruesome.
I’m excited to see where this season heads. It seems like they are gearing up for a new, exciting plot.