Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ascension, Final Review (SPOILER WARNING)

     So, they wrapped it up, and almost -- almost! -- redeemed the series in the final scene.

     There's too much "stuff" there and not enough narrative glue to hold it all together; the story is too hastily told.  The anachronisms and science blunders are thick and fast in the final episode, but if you're willing to go along, the cast does their best to sell 'em and it's a fun ride.

     It's only later, when you step back, that it starts to get disturbing.  While the cast is even more diverse than a 1970s cola commercial trying to teach the world to sing, in the end only amoral, heterosexual, blue-eyed blondes of steely determination win out; anyone who doesn't fit that mold is swept aside as casually as a child spits off of a bridge.  Total surveillance of people is questioned -- but never seriously challenged.  A corporation -- government contractor? -- that kills off no-longer-wanted employees is accepted matter-of-factly and absolute control is presented as being vindicated by the results it produces.

     In short, it's as if the Nazis were making SF films.

     This could have been a good mini-series; it could have been the beginning of a series.  But it went off the rails in details, in story, in loose ends and in overall tone.  It's still lushly set and well acted; the cast really puts you on the huge starship even though the scale is inconsistent.  This miniseries makes me itch for a video editor and a lot of free time -- you could probably make a decent hour-long drama out of it, or even two hours.  I'm just not sure you wouldn't still be stuck with a Leni Riefenstahl film when you were done.


Douglas2 said...

In my field, I've sought out award-winners as mentors. Some will insist that the team and circumstances must be perfect, or they won't take on the job, but as a result 98% of their work is world-class. Others take on any work life hands them and do their best with it, and still 98% of their work is world class.

This guy seems like the latter sort.

Roberta X said...

I think this comment was meant for the Paul Revere Williams post?