Atlantis the BBC tea time show which is based on Greek mythology…is there a bigger oxymoron on the planet of television? Maybe Ashton Kutcher and good actor? Yeah fair enough…but the point is still valid, you can’t make a proper show based on Greek mythology and put it on pre-watershed. So how did Atlantis do?
To be honest I think it could have worked but it doesn’t. The first problem is that they have made a show about Greek mythology which is PG and quite frankly you can’t make a Greek mythology without lots of sex, rape and killing. That is what Greek mythology is all about, Zeus (and others) sticking their penises where they don’t belong and getting into all sorts of trouble, however bestiality doesn’t transfer well onto tea time television. For Atlantis to really work it would have had to have been more like Spartacus (the TV show) instead we got something more akin to Teletubbies.
The second problem is that the actor who played Jason was a terrible actor. I mean yes he is a good looking guy but surely they could have found a guy who could actually act to cast in the role. The role requires charisma and sadly Jack Donnelly had none of that, which is seriously concerning when you’re the leading man and more often than not you’re supposed to be carrying scenes and showing emotions, two things he managed to not do in the entire series (impressive really). If that wasn’t bad enough we then had really awkward sexual tension between Jason and Ariadne. The thing is that they keep saying they can’t be together because he’s common and she’s royalty but I get the feeling the real reason is that if they started having sex the friction would start a fire, you know, because they’re both so wooden.
The third problem is the character Jason itself, the show starts in the modern day and he is transported to Atlantis out of nowhere. Now if this happened to me I’d be like ‘fuck I need to get back’ and questioning how and why this happened to me. Jason however just sort of accepted it after about fifteen minutes and never mentioned it again the rest of the series. You would think that after a couple of drinks with Hercules and old Triangles he would have let them into his secret, but no… The other thing is that he all of a sudden develops crazy ninja skills but just accepts it like it is just another Tuesday for him, again I’d be like ‘fuck me, when did I become a ninja?’ Another problem with the character is that he never says things or words the other characters don’t understand like ‘isn’t David Cameron a prick’ or ‘uber pwnage,’ he also seems more than willing to accept his new Gods who quite frankly are much cooler than Jesus so I do get it and finally if I magically found myself in a Greek place called Atlantis I’d be getting out as soon as possible because that mother fucker is about to sink and I don’t care how pretty the princess is.
There were other problems as well like how they basically went ‘hey Greek mythology let’s just mush you all into one regardless of whether it makes sense or not,’ or how everything was so vanilla with no hint of grey whatsoever and illogical things like how Pythagoras an 80 pound nerd with no sword fighting experience was able to kill trained soldiers in fights consistently. There was also the weird thing of having Pythagoras, a real person in history, involved with a show which is supposed to be based on mythology, it makes me wonder if the BBC is trying to tell me that there is no such thing is a triangle and mathematics is all a lie…
It wasn’t all bad; Mark Addy was awesome as Hercules. Unlike Jason, Hercules had all the charisma in the world and stole every scene he was in. I can even applaud the decision to go with Hercules as an old washed up fighter who has embellished his achievements in life. Mark Addy is the reason I kept watching the show, because I didn’t really enjoy watching Greek mythology be slapped in the face every week. Sarah Parish put in her regular strong performance as Pasiphae but there really is only so much you can do with a weak script.
In many ways I guess Atlantis is what it is, on the face of things it was never going to be a classic and it was always going to be too family friendly for it to be really exciting. Imagine if they had made this is the Spartacus mould, yes it would have been a bit cheesy (like Spartacus was) but the action would have been good and they wouldn’t have softened the story for the modern day and would be more than willing to show some bull (or many other animals) make sweet love to a lady, I think we would have had a pretty cool show then and it certainly would have been better than this. Again Mark Addy made the show and I can only wonder how bad it would have been without his presence, I imagine painfully bad.
So what did you think of Atlantis? Were you gagging for a more Spartacusesque show or did you think the light hearted approach was better because it allowed it to be broadcast to a larger audience? Leave a comment and let the world know and don’t forget that you can find all the latest bm23reviews content by joining the Facebook or Twitter pages because why the fuck not?