Episode 101: The New World
Director: Amanda Tapping
Writer(s): Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Stars: Niall Matter, Sara Canning and Andrew Lee Potts
Network: Space (Canada)/Hulu & Hulu Plus (SyFy will air the show in 2013) (US)
Airs: Mondays 10pm (Premiere 10/29/12)
Run Time: 60 Minutes
The show is basically a continuation of the original UK based series that has been successfully running for the last several years. In an interesting twist, instead of just saying that a show’s story has a global impact, they are trying to show it here. This series is filmed in Vancouver, BC Canada and that is where the story takes place. I have to say, with this show, Flash Point and Continuum, this kind of Canadian centric storytelling is refreshing from a Canadian point of view. New TV veterans Niall Matter (Eureka) and Sara Canning (Vampire Diaries) head the cast of characters with a special passing of the torch appearance by Connor Temple from the original played by Andrew Lee Potts.
Matter plays Evan Cross, a genius inventor/ businessman/ adventurer/a hundred other things here in the pilot. He is looking into the appearance of magnetic anomalies and is having difficulty getting to them before they disappear. He begins to recruit more help and low and behold, he assembles a team of spunky smart people to help him figure things out. Canning, who plays Dylan Weir, a Predatory Behaviour Specialist, joins the group after running into Matter and discovering a Raptor loose in Stanley Park. Her boss tells her that she can trust Evan and they are working together on this issue. She plays ball and when their friend is killed, she of course will be part of the team.
What I found interesting is that it is obvious that Potts was only in town for a day or two and was on a shortened schedule for filming. His appearances are short and sweet, he is basically used to set the ball in motion with Evan and to make sure he understands that the creatures can’t be killed or time will unravel. It’s all very ominous and foreboding but pretty hollow at this point. In the British version that was an element for sure but never with this kind of melodrama around it. There were instances in changes but they were still pretty large changes that created them in the first place.
It’s with mixed emotions that I’m talking about this show. On one hand, I’m a huge fan of the original series. On the other, I am rather negative when it comes to moving shows from one country to another like this. The one thing that I really seem to like is the Canadiana of the series so far. The jokes made at the Military also made me chuckle because in so many ways it’s more true than most want to believe. Regardless, it’s not enough to save this first episode. There were some telltale signs of economy writing present in the story. Not from a money standpoint but an actual script point. There are scenes that are shortened or not at all present to help move the story along.
I can handle budget issues, hell I’m used to it. But please do not, for any reason, skimp on the storytelling. This is way too important to be playing games like this. As for the actors/characters themselves, I actually have no real complaints. They all do a good job in setting up who they are at this point and where they should go next. They do a great job with what they have been given in the script. Even Potts, who is normally quite good as Connor, seemed a little off during his scenes. Again, I think this is more an issue with the script here in the pilot than anything else.
I’m in the process of watching the second episode right now and I am hoping that it marks an improvement in the writing. I don’t think they completely missed the mark script wise. I just think it was more a matter of not allowing the characters room to breath and grow on screen organically. This might be due to the show/characters being new to most of this group. Many of the people involved, from Amanda Tapping and Martin Wood to the input from the original creators, there is a desire and skill set to get this right. With a only a 13 episode season, the ship will hopefully correct itself quickly so it can continue into another season or it will suffer the same fate as the show’s antagonists.
I still think you should check it out and support this type of production regardless of country of origin. Quality sci-fi is hard to find. With some minor tweaks, this could really become something worth watching each week.
RATING: RECORD IT!
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!