What to say if you liked it
At last, another sexy alien serial to get our teeth into – it’s been too long since The X-Files ruled our lives.
What to say if you didn’t like it
Do we really need another supernatural drama? This one lacked the wittiness of The X-Files and the suspense of
What was good about it?
• The character of Ramsey, played by Peter Dinklage of Station Agent fame, was a rare treat. Exuding cool yet with obvious insecurity and certain neuroses, Dinklage was excellent in the role. His crowning moment was when he was caught by Dr Caffrey, who’d almost just been killed, standing in her own room delicately playing with some of her lacy lingerie.
• In fact, all three of the geeky-types brought in by lead character Dr Molly Caffrey to help save the world from evil aliens, were interesting. Along with Ramsey, there was Lucas, a nervous engineer with curly floppy hair and Doctor Fenway, an angry middle-aged man and veteran of three failed marriages, who seems to be an expert in pretty much all biology and chemistry.
• The occasional nice line that coaxed a smile to our lips. As Molly was picked up by a helicopter while out walking her dog (she was needed by the government to implement one of her contingency plans in case aliens invaded, polar caps melted or Mariah Carey tried to release another album), she was forced to take the ugly mutt with her. Senior governmental man’s comment: “I take it you and Toto have been fully briefed?”
• The opening scene where a crystal-like mechanism appeared to a freight ship was particularly intriguing – and it was later backed up with the discovery that most of the crew had been killed.
• Gunneson, played by William Mapother and recently seen in Lost as Ethan, was convincing as a seemingly homicidal survivor of the alien invasion.
• The intriguing use of the fractal pattern as a symbol of the aliens – cockroaches formed it, Molly’s spilt blood took it’s shape and the final bird’s eye shot of a huge traffic jam in the city of the same shape was nicely unsettling.
• Excellent production values and thoroughly believeable effects – something we’ve come to expect and perhaps even take for granted from these high-budget, quality US supernatural dramas.
• The way Sean Cavennaugh, supposedly the top-of-the-class government ultra-marine hard man character was consistently outclassed by everyone he faced became quite amusing. Twice he had to be bailed out by Molly, who’s survival instinct and clarity of thought when fighting insane alien-human hybrids was quite alarming.
What was bad about it?
•OK, we’ll be honest and admit that the occasional ridiculously out of place or knowlingly cheesy line can be quite endearing. But one or two were just too much – when Molly is first picked up by chopper by the government, Cavennaugh said: “You’ve just become the most important person on the planet” which ruined an excellent start to the series. Later, when Cavennaugh questioned Molly’s plan she shot back with ridiculous aplomb: “You’ll find that on page 45 under ‘What to do if we’re screwed.'” Poor.
• The unoriginality of having the alien-human Gunneson talk backwards which is so cliched it shoud be banned from all supernatural dramas forthwith. At the end of the day, it’s been done to death and I’m sure the writers will feel disappointed they hadn’t done better, John. It was obvious he was talking backwards too, yet only dialect expert Ramsey noticed it.
• Molly’s character appears to be about 31, 33 at the most. Yet in her short life she has somehow been able to write huge governmental contingency plans (accepted without quarrel) for almost any major disaster – from alien attack to the polar ice-caps melting. What, does she just knock these things out every six months in between jogging in tight tops and looking after her ugly dog?
• Immediately it seemed that Molly and Sean were to be the Mulder and Scully-type will-they-or-won’t-they of the series – a shame if so, it would have been far more interesting to see Molly begin to fall for the far cooler (and more intelligent) Ramsey.
• The Simpsons have parodied this genre so much and so well that many parts of it were a bit laughable when they should have been disturbing.
• The idea that the only two countries on Earth to have registered the aliens landing were America and North Korea. Presumably, it’s OK to insinuate that the North Koreans would use the power of the aliens for evil instead of good, but it seemed astonishing that Russia or even Britain did not notice this huge presence while tiny, poor North Korea quickly actioned a submarine to investigate.