For those playing the home game: middle-near future, space travel but fairly limited, no alien contact. Super cool ouroboros-esque ship appears in sky, drops into the earth, followed by Annihilation-type crystal mountain, followed by NO WAY TO WORK OUT WTF. Enter: while trying to commjunicate, also send ship to alien planet (or where signalis coming from?) to try to talk there? Whatever.
There's earth sequences and space sequences. To say I give no shit whatsoever about the earth sequences is an overstatement. I give one shit. One. That's it. The space stuff is incredible. IT's what I didn't realize how badly I wanted. They're spacefaring but new at it; they're not really yet at full-scale exploration; this is middle-near future, so there's no Federation, just lots of separate nations like now (and Korea's united!); they have no idea what they don't know yet and are learning as they go.
All the tropes that you spend half the time wondering how people who can invent transporters don't know 'x'? Nope: all the tropes are new again and work gangbusters. They don't have to make up exotic weirdness because they already did regular weirdness; all of the weirdness is new. And if you're a sci-fi fan, this works even better, because yes, you saw that coming and God, they are fucked.
The ship is shiny and pretty and technical and dirty as any ship at this level of tech should be; it hits the sweet spot of 'I could almost see this ship happening in my lifetime' and 'so future tech'. They're smart, professional, but twenty-to-thirty-somethings; they make stupid mistakes and unavoidable mistakes and there's consequences (deathish ones).
Because demographics are important:
(Note: I double checked IMDB to make sure I was right but please correct me if I made any mistakes. This is fast and dirty before I forget to post.)
For the first ep, the cast is about half/half white and Hispanic with one black character, William (Samuel Anderson), a hologram (who like half the cast on this show is incredibly attractive and has a British accent because fuck my life), and one Filipinx character, Dr. Zayn Petrossian (see more below). A second Black character, Cas Isakovic (Elizabeth Faith Ludlow), is added I think ep 2 (a pilot, ungodly hot, super interesting backstory). At least one character speaks Spanish (maybe two?); I'd have to go back to watch but the most recent is Bernie Martinez, their botanist (xenobotanist?).
There's also the first non-binary character I've seen on TV in Dr. Zayn Petrossian, the medical officer, played by JayR Tinaco, who is of Filipinx descent. I have closed captioning on but haven't seem them refer to hir by pronoun yet (or missed it), but Zayn goes by ze/hir from what I read so far. (Source). If it's been changed or updated, please correct me (and also tell me if I fuck up hir pronouns if you see it, I added it to spellcheck so I can blame nothing on autocorrect).
On earth--honestly, I paid less attention, but main white male character is Niko's husband. His coworker/subordinate/something in understanding aliens, Dr. Nani Singh, is an Indian (or Indian-American) woman. Other women (both white) include General Dubois and the reporter Harper Glass played by Selma Blair. Most of the rest are kind of background but again, earth was I so don't care so I kind of glazed over a lot.
...there's character death from the first ep. Yeah, even characters that get screentime and personalities. I'm on ep six so I have no idea how much more we're going to get but we're at four so far, but as the show kind of made that clear, I know not to get too attached.
The show is not gruesome in general, but as of episode 6:
1.) one character gets electrocuted in the first ep. It's fairly standard and probably network-safe but it's still some burning and eww.
2.) BIG ONE RIGHT HERE AND WHY I DECIDED TO MAKE THIS SECTION. SERIOUSLY.
There is a scene where someone's entire nervous system crawls out of a boil on their neck and leaps to the floor to try and crawl away. That is not a sentence I ever imagined it was possible to write, but now I know what my nervous system looks like--while crawling desperately away--so there's a nightmare I apparently need to have at some point before I die and the show provided fodder. Thanks.
The entire sequence lasts about a minute and trust me, you will have about a minute to realize it and go 'nope' and fast forward. It starts when everything seems over near the 2/3 point (of course).
That was pretty much the biggie.
3.) A later exotic matter death (something like mummification before the camera cuts) is much less horrifying in all its implications and nothing inside the body makes a desperate effort to be free and crawl away.
The one and only mistake I cannot forgive is casting Tyler Hoechlin for the captain, Ian Yerxa, that first mutinies against Niko (Katee Sackhoff) and then (maybe?) tries to kill her (and so she kills him, exit Tyler).
This isn't just because I love Tyler, or even mostly.
If you watched Teen Wolf, you know Tyler managed maybe--MAYBE--fifteen seconds of almost-genuine menace all the seasons he was there and this includes when in werewolf form. Out of those fifteen, I would only swear to seven seconds. He plays Superboy with brightest, most adorable smile that suddenly made me super interested in Superman again (I didn't know this was possible). For those reasons, I cannot buy him doing literally anything he did, and it didn't help at all they gave me literally half an ep of development (and directly after being playful and adorable with his former crew)(the addition of Cas being his lover and partner just made it worse).
So--when I say 'maybe' above, I mean, yeah, he was probably going to kill her (he was coming at her back with a knife with the intent of using it without much ambiguity) but--my brain just won't. Do. It. It says shit like "BUT MAYBE SHE HAD A SPIDER ON HER NECK HE NEEDED TO SLASH TO DEATH". Which is stupid but I honestly buy that more than attempted murder no matter what logic because TYLER HOECHLIN. I mean, the only less likely candidate for this part is Mr. Rogers and not because he's dead (though yeah, that's a reason).
(Tyler, I'm sorry, but you can't play a villain. You radiate sweetness and goodwill while murdering and eating people while a werewolf. This is the hand you were dealt. Go be Superman! I WANT TO LOVE SUPERMAN)
That was, by the way, all in ep 1.
I'm going to admit that Cas and Zayn are probably my favorites here and not just because they're super attractive and Cas is an angsty pilot (as that is basically my batsignal). Cas is pretty much exactly what you'd want in a hotshot pilot (not usually see, however): calm, controlled, very contained, very obviously a thinker, and very obviously feels very deeply. Cas's backstory just came out and--I am even more fascinated how she got from there to here. I'm hoping--like a lot--that more about Zayn is coming up soon (especially if ze and Bernie are going where Bernie obviously--with some seriously seductive use of plant-testing--wants this to go. Which is another sentence that exist now: seductive plant testing).
I'm not willing to promise anything--The Magicians broke me of that shit--but it's definitely interesting sci-fi and I'm liking the characters. If you're jonesing for some spaceship disaster, this is for you. And you know, the earth stuff might get interesting? It could happen.
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