Helix is the newest offering of Ron Moore, beloved by me because of his reboot of Battlestar Galactica. Helix is about a group of CDC scientists who are called to a base in Antarctica because of a breakout of an unknown virus. The pilot and the second episode (shown right after the pilot) are day 1 and 2 of the breakout/arrival of the CDC team.
This is a mostly well-acted--and certainly well-shot--series, but I think I am the wrong person to review it. If you are a fan of contagion movies or The Thing then I think you would really enjoy this show. Unfortunately I am a fan of neither. Still they came up with some interesting premises about science, mutations and viruses.
The setting for the show is awesome. I was intrigued by the idea that a corporation might set up a base in the Antarctic, fill it with scientists and basically let them do whatever they wanted even if it was outside the boundaries of laws, ethics and morality. There is some hint that there is a more nefarious purpose underlying this work, and I'm sure the story arc will begin to uncover what it is and why a major corporation might fund it. The idea that the science of mutation and mucking about with genes might have dire consequences is sort of old hat, but the idea that a virus might actually create its own vector by changing humans, while also widely used was, I think, nicely done. Peter was certainly one scary, amoral virus vector. I think the tension and horror pieces of the episodes were also well done, but as I'm not keen on them either, their effectiveness wasn't really a treat for me.
There are some interesting characters on the show and the usual knots of relationships. I wasn't surprised when it turned out that Alan and Julia were exes or that his student might also be his (at least) love interest. And it looks like Hiroshi has some kind of connection to Julia, either familial or very creepy. I particularly enjoyed Doreen. You don't see many large women in TV and she is smart and tough. In fact, I did like that there were so many women scientists, even if the men did get all testosterony around them with the whole protection and/or taking them prisoner thing. Of course our army guy Sergio Balleseros is not what he seems. He is also working for the evil corporation. Or perhaps the evil corporation is the army.
I think this show could go in some interesting directions, but it is hard to like a show if you aren't on board with its central premise. I'd love to hear from people who really enjoyed the show. For me, I think I'll be giving it a pass. Maybe I'll catch up on Netflix some day.
Bits and Pieces
I can't decide if the seventies lounge music made the show creepier or just annoyed me.
There are 106 scientists with only 15 support staff?
I felt awful for those poor monkeys. Is it only a percentage of those infected who just want to get out? It didn't seem that Peter was interested in leaving at all.
The speech about the spread of contagion was pretty scary.
Obviously Hiroshi's eyes are meant to signal something. Is he alien? Infected? A super being?
Daniel: "What is that?"
Doreen: "So you're a glorified plumber."
Dr. Tracey: "You can't make a virus and expect it to follow instructions."