11 October 2008 | story321
Nice concept, but technical aspects could be better
This show hearkens back to a few of the shows from the 90s like "Poltergeist: The Legacy" and even the first six seasons of "The X-Files".
The potential for future story lines is very good, and the acting is decent too, specifically by Amanda Tapping. While her Helen Magnus character retains a little bit of the scientist heart of her Stargate character, there's a much more mysterious and darker side to Magnus. In fact, Magnus is what Samantha Carter could have been in another time and place. It's a refreshing change. The other principles do an okay job. Emilie Ullerup's character starts out as a little too Buffy The Vampire Slayer-ish, with too much of a cautious-less teenage attitude at the beginning -- her character was established as being over 18, which doesn't jive with how she's portrayed -- but she showed a little more maturity at the end of the pilot. Having seen Ullerup in a bit part in Battlestar Galactica, she's more than capable of pushing her character to more grittier areas, which would provide a nice counterpoint to the other characters. Robin Dunne reminds me a little too much of Daniel Radcliffe. I'm half-expecting him to start reciting Hogwart incantations. At the end of the pilot, his character still seems to be a bit 2 dimensional.
The special effects were quite good for work that was done in front of a green screen. But ... I thought that the pilot episode suffered in one particular area: pacing. I'm not sure if it has to do with the editing or directing, or both, but the two hour premiere could have almost been cut down to an hour and a half. Some of the cuts were too slow, lingering on exposition scenes. Tighter pacing and quicker cuts would have made the pilot episode a lot better.
Minor nitpicking... There are two things I wish they would have taken care of. The first was the scene in the train tunnels where Ullerup's character was following the boy. Honestly, if I was wandering through a train tunnel, I'd immediately realize that someone was following me, especially someone with a flashlight. And also, it's kinda weird that two folks could just slip by a crime scene in the same tunnel without even being noticed. (Unless, of course, they used some Jedi mind tricks...) The second was the little side story regarding the police's prime suspect to the murders. For me, this was unresolved and I would have liked to have a resolution to it. I found it disappointing that the main characters would actually let an innocent man take the fall for something that was done by some of the "monsters". Perhaps this was part of the original script? I don't know, but it's unresolved. And considering the task that the main characters are facing, you'd think they'd at least have some sort of moral compass.
Overall, the show has a nice concept, but could benefit from better editing and directing. I'm going to keep watching the show for a few more episodes before I decide if I'm going to be watching this show after Stargate Atlantis.