Summer 2014 Review: Dominion

15 Aug

Dominion

(I’ve fallen way behind on both my TV viewing and writing, but not to worry – dear reader – I don’t give up that easy – I’ve rapidly been viewing the first episode of every new television show of 2014, with the intent of seeing them all by the end of August. To facilitate a respective blog catchup, I’ll be posting lots of much shorter entries on each show)

Sci-fi, pardon, Syfy, has put up a series of shows that have been decently successful enough within the Syfy network bubble like Eureka, and Warehouse 13, but they’ve been having trouble drawing audience and buzz among the general pop culture internet outside of their core. Dominion is exactly the type of sci-fi genre show that both makes sense completely as what could be a reasonably successful genre show on the Syfy network while also drawing scant attention outside of that small fan base.

Dominion, and these are words I never thought would be uttered, is a loosely-based television spin off to the 2010 film Legion, starring Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, and Adrianne Palicki. The film, which I’ve only seen trailers for, features a battle in a war between angels situated at a US diner, in which angel Michael chooses to side with the humans, while the remaining angels led by Gabriel attempt to destroy humanity. There’s a chosen baby who makes it out alive while most of the characters die.

Dominion picks up that general story some years later. Human beings now survive in militarized dictatorial walled off fortresses where authoritarian discipline and new angel-detecting and repelling technology keeps them safe from angels who fly around, hunting humans and possessing other humans to turn them,  now super-powered, against their own kind. Outside from actually technically being about religion, rather than, say, aliens, or robots, Dominion hits sci-fi genre conventions to a T. There’s a vaguely dystopian society, ruled by an beneficent authoritarian, and the show features some serious politicking between rival factions and many big-ego politicians vying for power. There are rules regarding different classes of people, there’s technology that detects angels and protects the city from them, and there are rival fortress cities with which to battle and make alliances.

There is some merit here, and the particulars of the sci-fi world are fun, but the writing and characters don’t pull you in beyond the details of the premise and plot. The show gets bogged down into details that non-Syfy fans are unlikely to care about. There show seems consciously designed to please a certain fan base and there’s nothing wrong with that, but what could make it a drew to some are also its limitations. This world-building minute tend to conversely limit the general appeal.

Will I watch it again? No. I like sci-fi but wouldn’t consider myself a genre superfan. Thus, to my sensibilities, some aspects of the show were intriguing (my head is full of questions about fictional future worlds) but overall the show was a little clunky. The plot was the most intriguing part of the show, but not enough to watch it again.

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