Tag Archives: 24

BBC America’s ‘Atlantis’ far from all wet

Jack Donnelly, Mark Addy and Robert Emms star in 'Atlantis,' premiering tonight on BBC America.

Jason (Jack Donnelly), Hercules (Mark Addy) and Pythagoras (Robert Emms, from left) find themselves in a bind in BBC America’s new fantasy series ‘Atlantis.’

Hardline classicists probably will want to give a wide berth to BBC America’s Atlantis, a new fantasy series premiering tonight. For the rest of us, however, this lavishly produced and imaginatively written riff on well-known yarns from mythology adds up to some first-rate and generally family-friendly entertainment.
Tonight’s premiere opens in the modern world, where a young man named Jason (Jack Donelly) is preparing to make a dive in a mini-sub in search of some clues to what happened to his father, who vanished from this particular stretch of ocean without a trace. Jason has had only a glimpse of what may be some related underwater wreckage when his craft is rocked by mysterious turbulence and bathed in eerie lights.
The next thing Jason knows, he is regaining consciousness, naked and disoriented, on a beach. Grabbing some conveniently abandoned clothing, he makes his way to a nearby city that looks to be the stuff of legends, where he inadvertently sets off a ruckus in the marketplace before being rescued by a bookish math geek named Pythagoras (Robert Emms, War Horse). Jason learns he is in Atlantis, where he feels an uncanny sense of familiarity. This impression of déjà vu is only heightened after he meets the revered Oracle (Juliet Stevenson, The Hour), an enigmatic seeress who offers Jason guidance and her personal protection.
He’ll find use for the latter almost immediately, too, because Jason has appeared in Atlantis on the day when all local citizens are required to draw stones in an annual lottery ordered by King Minos (Alexander Siddig, 24) to determine which of them will be sacrificed to the town’s fearsome monster, the Minotaur. Offering further help in this quest, however reluctantly, is none other than Hercules (Mark Addy, Game of Thrones), a formerly great hero now gone to seed.
Sharing the nearby palace with Minos is his beautiful but cruel queen, Pasiphae (Sarah Parish), who may well have a secret command of the dark arts, and their daughter, the princess Ariadne (Aiysha Hart), who takes an immediate liking to Jason.
Created and written by Howard Overman, who did likewise on the British cult hit Misfits, Atlantis has top-notch production values and zippy dialogue that mingles pseudo-classical speech with contemporary, self-aware irony (Jason tells Pythagoras at one point that his triangles and theorems “are destined to bore children for centuries!”), while the extended sequence inside the dimly lit maze of the Minotaur is satisfyingly creepy and suspenseful.
“It is both a privilege and a delight to have the opportunity to take audiences on a journey into the fantastical world of Atlantis,” Overman says. “Drawing on the Greek myths for inspiration, we aim to tell classic action adventure stories in unexpected and exciting ways.”
'Atlantis' is ruled by Queen Pasiphae (Sarah Parish, left), King Minos (Alexander Siddig) and Princess Ariadne (Aiysha Hart).

Queen Pasiphae (Sarah Parish, left), King Minos (Alexander Siddig) and Princess Ariadne (Aiysha Hart) make up the royal family of ‘Atlantis’ on BBC America.

New day dawns for ‘Tomorrow People’

'The Tomorrow People' on The CW

Robbie Amell, Aaron Woo, Luke Mitchell and
Peyton List (from left) in ‘The Tomorrow People.’

Technically, The Tomorrow People, which premieres tonight on The CW Network, is based on a British children’s TV show that premiered back in the ‘70s. In a larger sense, however, its focus on a group of extraordinary young people whose “other-ness” makes them misfits to the wider society is very much in the same creative vein as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf and the X-Men movies, among many others.
The main character is teenager Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell), who led a fairly normal life with his mother (Sarah Clarke, 24) and kid brother until about a year ago, when suddenly Stephen began hearing voices in his head. Far more troubling, he began teleporting in his sleep, so although he went to bed in his own home, he never knew where he might wake up (such as in bed with a neighbor couple, which is starting to wear thin with them).
Trembling on the brink of what he thinks is a nervous breakdown, Stephen finally decides to listen to one of the “imaginary voices,” which leads him to John and Cara (Luke Mitchell, Peyton List), the de facto leaders of a group known as the Tomorrow People. John and Cara, along with Russell (Aaron Yoo), the group’s trainer, explain to Stephen that they are a genetically advanced race of beings with the ability to teleport, communicate telepathically and move objects via telekinesis – and Stephen’s father, long missing and presumed dead, was once a member of their group.
The Tomorrow People – you’d think this group would have a catchier handle for themselves by now – are being stalked, rounded up and “neutralized” by Ultra, a shadowy paramilitary group of scientists led by Dr. Jedekiah Price (the always exceptional Mark Pellegrino, who played Lucifer on Supernatural). To reveal more about tonight’s pilot would spoil a couple of very satisfying twists that come toward the end of the first episode.
Amell — the cousin of Stephen Amell, whose Arrow series is this new show’s lead-in — is a very likable lead and Pellegrino, who excels at playing ambiguity, succeeds in keeping us guessing about Dr. Price’s motives, but it may be the charismatic Mitchell and List who connect most directly with fans, at least right off the bat.
The real superhero of The Tomorrow People, however, isn’t even on camera. That’s executive producer Greg Berlanti, whose extraordinary track record for creating genre-busting, emotionally resonant drama series includes shows as diverse as Arrow, Brothers & Sisters and Everwood. I suspect he’s the reason Tomorrow People manages to hook us right from the get-go and get us invested in these unconventional characters. With him at the helm, the future for The Tomorrow People looks bright.