Summer is almost officially here and you're probably planning that really cool vacation or reenacting the volleyball sequence from Top Gun outside in the nice weather, but folks, there's lots more TV on the way. One of the new shows is Syfy's nutty post-apocalyptic-y angels vs. humans serial, Dominion. But is the show #blessed or should it be damned to the eternal hole where all bad TV goes to die? Find out in the latest edition of Hey TV.com, Isn't This Thing Based on That Other Thing?!
Dominion? Someone's making a TV show about that card game?
Well, not quite. Syfy's Dominion is related to another pop-culture product, but not a notable card game. Nope, instead this series is more or less a sequel to the 2010 film Legion, about the angel Michael joining up with humans to defend us from an attacking crew of angels led by Gabriel. The movie starred Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Adrianne Palicki, Dennis Quaid, and Kevin Durand, and if you haven't seen it (and even if you have, because it's not like it was particularly memorable), it ended with Michael (Bettany) scaring off Gabriel and chattering about the importance of a baby and the mysterious tattoos on Jeep's (Black) body. CUT TO: 25 years later, after the Michael-Gabriel showdown—this is where Dominion begins. Some remaining human survivors are hunkered down in Las Vegas (now known as Vega). Michael is still hanging around as some sort of watcher, but society has been rebooted with more military power, more financial inequality, and a full-blown caste system. Throw in a half-dozen weird stories and a slew of different characters, and you have a flaming cocktail of crazy.
Who are the survivors, and who is guiding this world in the aftermath of the angel apocalypse?
Dominion's story was adapted by Vaun Wilmott, but former Smallville, Alphas, and Defiance producers Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer joined the production at some point post-pilot, which was helmed by Legion director Scott Stewart. The cast is topped by Christopher Egan (Kings), who plays Alex Lannon, an orphan who receives some societal privileges thanks to his role in Vega's military guard. Tom Wisdom (300, Pirate Radio) takes over for Bettany as Michael, and Langley Kirkwood (Black Sails and Strike Back) serves as Lucas Black's replacement as Jeep. TV viewers will recognize Alan Dale (The O.C., Lost, every other thing) and Anthony Stewart Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as General Risen and David Whele, respectively; they're two white dudes with conflicting thoughts on how to help Vega move forward.
When do the angels and humans start throwing down?
Dominion premieres on Thursday, June 19, at 9pm on Syfy, following the Season 2 premiere of Defiance.
Who might enjoy Dominion?
Do you find yourself watching every new series that Syfy brings to the airwaves? Is Supernatural's angel-related storytelling appealing to you? Are you into super cheesy, super earnest post-apocalyptic stuff? Yes? Then Dominion is probably going to be your new favorite show.
What about Dominion is on the side of angels?
One thing Dominion has going for it is that there's so much different stuff happening that you're bound to find something that appeals to your personal sensibilities. This sucker is wild. In the pilot episode alone, the show hustles to explain its connection to Legion, introduces nearly a dozen characters as well as some mysterious and powerful children, pumps up the rhetoric of THE CHOSEN ONE, throws in some angel-on-angel violence and sudden stabbings, and somehow integrates a story about energy reactors. Does it all make sense? Not really. Will you be cackling through most of it? Probably.
What about Dominion isn't particularly holy?
One thing Dominion has working against it is that there's so much different stuff happening that very little of it is given much time to develop, at least in the pilot (which is all Syfy sent out for review). The first episode has to work so hard to establish the countless layers of the premise that very little of each layer has enough space to truly work. The kitchen-sink approach to Dominion's set-up is certainly amusing, but it's also kind of exhausting. Unsurprisingly, the characters are walking, talking clichés; this is the kind of show where Head's character spouts lines like "Everything has a price!" with real verve. Plus, it's Syfy, so the special effects aren't particularly good.
So, should I make a date with Dominion?
Oh, absolutely. Don't watch Dominion because it's good; it is not good. Still, it must be seen. There's a chance that the show could simply become a slow, plodding mess, trapped under the weight of its own self-seriousness and hackneyed dialogue about faith and democracy and the chosen one—but until then, we all need to experience this bad boy together.
I need to see a trailer.
I can do that.
Dominion premieres Thursday, June 19 at 9pm on Syfy.
AIRED ON 8/7/2014
Season 1 : Episode 8