TV REVIEW: Atlantis - A Boy of No Consequence

After tussling with an equally glowering and strapping young man, Jason, Pythagorus and Hercules find out they've offended Poseidon and they are left to the mercy of the bulls. Yes, the plot this week is based on leaping bulls.

Once again, Jason's time travel becomes a convenient excuse to get him into trouble as he leaps to the aid of an old man who was being smacked around by said glowering young man, Heptarian (Oliver Walker), a servant of the god Poseidon and nephew of the Queen. This series of unfortunate events leads to expositioning abound as every character has to bring both Jason and the audience up to speed with such wondrous customs as the favour of the Gods (a huge thing in Greek mythology though given little weight here) and bull leaping. Yes. Leaping bulls was actually a thing. At least we can't criticise Atlantis for not teaching us anything. Naturally, the fact that Jason et al. saved Atlantis from the minotaur is, as Hercules points out, is conveniently forgotten. 

The amount of times people say that Jason is a 'natural born bull leaper' with a straight face has to be commended, particularly Sarah Parish who is just about wonderful in anything she does, even with lines like that. She gets to do some nefarious plotting this week and is the subject of some brilliantly stilted dialogue. In fact, the dialogue this week is so laughably terrible that it actually became painful to watch. When Pythagorus isn't saying obvious things like "or maybe you thought that was the only way to get us to work as a team", Jason is saying ridiculous statements like "it's as though her eyes burn right through me". I know the writers need to convey that this is a different time period, but it's getting ever so grating listening to characters say sentences that no human being could ever say naturally.

The thing with this episode is that I spent the entire time thinking that it would be far more interesting if it was gladiatorial combat or Greek wrestling or anything remotely interesting. Obviously this is a Saturday evening show and is therefore limited on how much gore they can show, if any at all, but the inexpensive special effects and lack of peril drew any tension out of the bull-leaping scenes. The fact that they try to equate these scenes with the importance of the gladiator battles seen in the likes of Ridley Scott's film or even the ludicrous Spartacus: Blood and Sand (which takes bad dialogue to a new level, but somehow it works), just makes them seem all the more inferior. Of course, they did mean that Slow-Motion Jason could appear, sans shirt and with curly hair wafting softly in the breeze.

I'm trying desperately to find good points in this show beyond 'it looks really pretty' because the concept is interesting and the actors deserve better. However, it's just dull and borderline uncomfortable to watch. The humour falls flat, the characters rarely seem actually in danger and even Merlin and Robin Hood had more going for them at this stage in their admittedly awful first series.

For the love of the Gods Atlantis, please get better.

- Becky

You can read Becky's review of the previous episode here.

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