Revelations, Sky One

by | Jun 11, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

At last a worthy successor to the X-Files, with a Big Bunch of Bible thrown in to give it some extra chills or some extra laughs, depending on which side of the pew you sit on.

What to say if you didn’t like it

More biblical bollocks from the country that can’t seem to grow out of it.

What was good about it?

• Like any decent drama series should, the first episode left us wanting to see more. Intrigue and scepticism were built throughout the show and the performances were satisfyingly convincing.

• The opening sequence featuring Olivia, the comatose girl whose quotations of Latin scripture and map drawings led Sister Josepha to the recently bereaved Dr Richard Massey (Bill Pullman). Olivia was struck by lightning twice – extraordinarily effective and quite terrifying, pleasingly echoing The X-Files as well as early 1980s sci-fi films.

• Michael Massee as Isaiah Haden, the killer of Massey’s daughter. He turned in a wonderfully icy performance when confronted by Massey in the state penitentiary. His deliberate decapitation of his own finger could have been cheesy, but in fact we could only gasp at his resolve.

• The Frasier-like use of intertitles that were quotes from the bible was an interesting idea that worked well to enhance the feeling of impending doom that Sister Josepha believed in.

• The show mercifully didn’t force-feed the viewer with religion. When Sister Josepha started speaking to Dr Massey using only bible quotes it became annoying, but Massey quickly picked her up on it and rightly ridiculed her claim that ‘most people find it comforting’.

• Despite the fact that in America the show has drawn huge debate between Christians and non-believers, there was a healthy and welcome amount of scepticism in this opening episode. For example, viewers were led to believe that Olivia’s murmurings and drawings were miracles, but later video evidence seemed to show that Sister Josepha could have been drawing for her while the murmurings could have been caused by fillings that shot into her brain when she was hit by lightning.

• Apparently, Christopher Biggins appears as a Cardinal in a future episode. If that isn’t worth sticking with the show for, we wonder what is. It’s easy to forget that he’s a talented actor and the incongruity of seeing him in a show like this should be interesting.

What was bad about it?

• We’re starting to tire a little of the use of captions to orientate the viewer – for example: ‘Miami State Hospital’. These seem to be used in far too many shows nowadays and they’re just not needed. If Massey is at an airport being met by Sister Josepha, do we need a graphic saying they’re at the airport? Isn’t it obvious? Sometimes establishing shots were used after the graphic, which only highlighted the irrelevance of the text. It’s lazy, really, and while it worked in The X-Files, where the typed text reflected the meticulousness of the FBI and was useful as Mulder and Scully travelled all over the US, here it’s just pointless.

• While Bill Pullman was immediately an engaging protagonist, with his endearing, healthy cynicism (especially with his explanation of the plague in the bible actually being a real event caused by a volcano), it’s unfortunate that we cannot look at him without giggling about his ridiculous speech in Independence Day.

• The board of men discussing whether Olivia should be allowed to die. While there’s no doubt a discussion like this would take place, the programme seemed to make them seem particularly heartless and totally without sentiment – which seems harsh on a profession such as doctors, who really do help and cure people rather than just providing dubious comfort through the words of the ‘Lord’.

• There was tension, there was interest, but so far it hasn’t brought anything like the sheer stomach-tautening terror brought to bear by the satanic cult episode of Cracker, The Big Crunch, which starred the superb Jim Carter.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

11/06/2005

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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