Jack Donnelly (centre) as Jason, with Mark Addy (Hercules, left) and Robert Emms (Pythagoras) of 'Atlantis'.
Review: New TV series Atlantis resurfaces with a modern twist to ancient characters.
A couple of months ago, Diva Universal ran a series of promotional ads depicting various women gushing over "Jason". According to these women, Jason is ridiculously good-looking, has perfect hair, and a British accent.
To add a little sense of anticipation, these promos didn’t show you what Jason looks like – which annoyed me.
Then, Atlantis premiered early this month and viewers finally got to see the mystery man (he's nothing like how he was described).
Played by Jack Donnelly, Jason is a modern-day lad who ends up in the city of Atlantis. Confused and bewildered by the knowledge that Atlantis is a fictional island that has sunk to the bottom of the ocean, Jason has a little bit of adjusting to do.
Thankfully, newfound friends Pythagoras (Robert Emms) and Hercules (Mark Addy) are there to get him sorted out.
Jason then meets the Oracle (Juliet Stevenson) and finds out that it was destiny that brought him to Atlantis. However, the Oracle can’t possibly tell Jason everything she knows.
Later when Jason leaves the Oracle, viewers learn that the former withheld information in order to protect Jason’s life.
While viewers may not get to know so much about Jason yet, what we do know is the young lad is indeed a noble man.
A tradition in Atlantis requires seven
commoners to be sacrificed to the Minotaur to appease the god Poseidon; Jason volunteers to be one. On his way to the Minotaur’s
lair, Pythagoras tells him that he doesn’t
have to do it. Then, Jason delivers one of the best reasons to tune in to the show, a hilarious one-liner.
“Pythagoras, your theory about the triangle is going to make millions of children bored ... that is your destiny and this is mine.”
Just like that, he boldly walks away and Pythagoras looks on in confusion.
The sarcastic Jason also takes a jibe at Hercules. In one episode, Hercules chases a panic-stricken woman through the woods with the intention of helping her. He explains to his friends that the woman just kept on running and screaming.
“She was clearly terrified,” says Hercules.
A nonchalant Jason says: “Not surprised if you were the one chasing her through the woods”.
You see, Hercules in this series is not as mighty or brave as Greek mythology depicts him to be. When he actually does something noble, he complains about the consequences and vows to never do it again. Hercules describes himself best: “I’m not fat, I’m big-boned!”.
Inspired by Greek mythology, Atlantis introduces us to more famous characters we have read in books. In the second episode, Jason rescues a woman from being taken by a fanatical cult.
Later, she (Jemima Rooper) introduced herself as Medusa and Jason wonders why that name sounds familiar. Viewers with Greek mythology knowledge will know Medusa as the monster with venomous snakes for hair. Medusa is still in her human form, but that might change in later episodes.
Some aspects in the show could use a little bit of improvement, though. For example, the special effects. The Minotaur looks comical next to a chubby Hercules. Scenes depicting Jason jumping over a raging bull looked like it was filmed in the 1970s.
I’m now worried about Medusa’s transformation.
Even with all those flaws, Atlantis is watchable; there are moments of danger and intrigue, but its characters help to lighten up the mood.
> Catch Atlantis every Sunday at 7pm on Diva Universal (Astro Ch 702). E-mail your comments to email@example.com.