I have a confession to make. I got behind on Helix, and then I stopped watching. And I really don’t feel the need to start up again.
Now, there’s a part of me that cringes just to admit that, this being a web site that covers science fiction, and Helix being a science fiction show, but it was a slow burn at the start, and upon reflection I’ve come to a couple of conclusions about the show:
- I don’t care about the characters.
B. None of you care what I think about this show.
Now, before you go shouting “Sour grapes!” and throwing monkey poo at me, let me be clear on a few things. From a craft point of view, it’s a very well-executed show. It’s intense. It’s dramatic. The writing is pretty tight, the acting is good — and I’m all for more Billy Campbell and Jeri Ryan in anything — and the concept is intriguing, even though it’s been done to death. But what concept hasn’t?
It’s no fun.
The show’s intensity — while it may be appropriate for the concept — is so overwhelming. The music is relentlessly grim and dark and intense. Everyone’s performance is intense. The ticking clock of the show’s main premise is intense. The emotional back-story between our lead characters is intense. The suspicions and the mind games and the deceptions and the gamesmanship — all intense.
Where’s the fun? With Doreen’s demise, where’s the snark? The remote possibility for any humor? Everyone is scowling or frowning at each other. And in the middle of thinking “I should really catch up on Helix“, I then asked myself why. I don’t really feel any connection to the “good guys” in the show, and there’s no break in the intensity, no moment of humor to break up all of the soap-opera staring contests. The first three episodes I watched, I thought it was a decent enough show, but I was tired from watching it. And not “oh, wow that was so intense and exciting and my adrenaline is pumping and I can’t wait till next week” tired. I was just tired.
I’m tired that all of our science fiction shows are dark and gritty. I’m tired that we’re not out there in a ship. I’m tired of a genre that no longer even tries to inspire us to be better. I’m just tired. Get off my lawn.
As noted before, Helix isn’t doing anything new. Just new combinations of tropes. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing — shows do that all the time — the show isn’t delivering any relief from the intensity. There’s no sense of adventure, nothing light-hearted. Doom waits around the corner.
I don’t want anyone to think I’m bashing on the show. I’m not. Not really. I’m just tired of all of my science fiction being so glum. Of course, we’ve done it to ourselves, but that’s a conversation to be had another day…
The other reason I’m hesitant to pick this up again… our recaps don’t really get much play. We tried the 3-Minute Recap video format to make it easier for people to get caught up on shows, and most of them aren’t even in the double digits as far as viewership. So when we take the time and make the effort to make videos you don’t watch, it’s time to re-think the product. Supply and demand.
Which is fine. I’m not whining. It gives me a chance to move on to other projects here at SciFi4Me. Some of them we’ll be announcing towards the end of March.
In the meantime, if you’d like for us to keep up on the Helix recaps here on the site, please let us know in the comments section. We value your opinion, and you keep it to yourselves a lot. Feel free to share how you think we’re doing, what we could do better, what we could do more, and what we never should do again…
We really are trying to build a site that delivers content you want to read/watch/listen to. It’s called SciFi4Me because … well, it’s for the “me” in all of us. The science fiction fans. It’s been a slow build to get to this point over five years, and there are some really cool things we want to do with the site. Does everything we try work? No, but that’s the beauty of it. We try and fail and then move on to try something else. At some point, we’re going to do something that will blow your socks off.
And then all this will be worth it.