Things I did not expect to hear this week: Anthony Stewart Head doing an American accent.
Things I did not expect to see this week: Anthony Stewart Head’s face mid-blowjob.
Look, we had to mention that first, it’s very much the elephant in the room. I’d say it’s testament to Head’s skill as an actor that he can emerge dignity intact from this, but he managed that in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and that not only starred Nicholas Cage, but had a cameo from Christopher Lambert. (In short: it’s far from a good film, but a very entertaining one)
So, I got to watch the pilot for the new SyFy show Dominion this week and I’m going to write about it. I’ve not seen the film it’s based on (The 2010 film Legion, starring Paul Bettany), but when has that stopped me before? To bring you up to speed, a war in Heaven has kicked off, thanks to God vanishing. (Where is he, off playing skee ball?) The Archangel Gabriel, who thinks mankind is unworthy, has convinced a large number of angels to wipe out humanity thinking it will bring God back. The Archangel Michael, however, sided with humanity and now lives among them, waiting for the prophesied Chosen One to appear. (dun-dun-DUN!)
Our main cast.
It’s now 25 years after the events of the film. Humanity has mostly collapsed and now lives in giant walled cities. We meet our hero, Alex Lannon (Christopher Egan) on a scavenging trip outside the walls, where he encounters 3 humans possessed by Angels, (referred to as 8-Balls and no, I’m not making that up), gets in a fight and has to flee back to Vega, a city built on the ruins of Las Vegas. It’s a well done sequence that sets the tone of the rest of the pilot, in which we get long sections of exposition delivered straighter than the straightest thing you can think of, mercifully interrupted by explosions.
The two leaders in Vega are Consul David Wheele (Anthony Head) and General Edward Reisen (Alan Dale), who spend most of their time glowering at each other, at least when Head isn’t chewing the scenery with his shiny new American accent. It takes some getting used to, like watching something dubbed in another language that also happens to be English. Wheele is a former televangelist, while Reisen is the military leader who helped win the last war and establish Vega. I think you can guess who’s the dodgier of the two… There’s also the standard bunch of supporting characters – the secret girlfriend (Who’s the daughter of one of the city leaders), several fellow soldiers and a cute orphan girl I’m sure is destined to either A: be intensely irritating or B: get killed off at a dramatically appropriate moment. She’s no Adric (thankfully), but she’s also no Newt.
The pilot proceeds along the expected lines, but in a neat surprise we find out the identity of the Chosen One, which is a blessed relief – I was dreading episode after episode of the characters trying to work it out while I hurl abuse at the screen telling them to hurry up. We won’t tell you who, but I’m pretty sure you can work it out for yourselves. It’s not the identity that’s the surprise, more that they got it out of the way nice and early, preparing us for the inevitable ‘I’m not sure I can do this’ episode, the ‘acceptance of my destiny’ episode and if Arrow has taught me anything, many a shirtless training montage.
Can we recommend this? If you’re a fan of supernatural shows, then yeah. Maybe if you enjoy post-apocalyptic clichés, are looking for costuming ideas for upcoming LARP’s (The whole modern dress mixed with ancient Rome is an interesting look) or just want to watch Anthony Stewart Head chewing scenery. (I mean, who doesn’t want to see that?) Look, if you’re expecting the next Game of Thrones, you’ll be disappointed. But there’s a good chance this could turn into something decent, or at the very least, entertainingly crazy. Only time, or Wikipedia, will tell…