Review of "Ascension" on Syfy From The TV MegaSite

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"Ascension" review by Suzanne 11/18/14
Premieres 12/15 on Syfy

Syfy sent me the first part of their 3-night miniseries. After having watched it, I'm still not sure if I like it or not. I don't love it, but I don't hate it...yet. I have to see what happens in the other two episodes. So far, so good. It's just a bit uneven.

The story is based on the idea that President Kennedy wanted to send people out into space, and apparently there was a Project Orion where they considered actually doing it, using the force of atom bombs to send a large group of people to another planet.

The people on the space ship "Ascension" have been on the ship since 1963. Even though it's 2014 now, they have not evolved too much past the 60's in terms of culture, music, theater etc. Of course it makes sense, in a way, since this is a small group, and they don't have the influences of the things that happened to the rest of us since then. I'm not quite sure I believe that they wouldn't have developed their own culture a bit more. Leaving that aside, it does have a sort of "Mad Men" feel to it, in some ways.

They do still have bigotry, but it's aimed at the people on the "lower decks" (kind of like the Titanic, I guess?).  They somehow seem to have solved their bigotry towards other races, though, since one of the main characters is a black man (Gault), and they don't treat him much differently than everyone else.

Anyway, a girl is murdered, which apparently has never happened on the ship before. Gault is assigned by the ship's captain to investigate her murder. Somehow, on this giant ship, they have a fake beach and ocean, and she was murdered there.

It's most interesting when they talk about the social stuff on the ship, such as the fact that everyone there has no choice in where they're going or what they're doing. Anyone who's born there knows they will live their whole lives on the ship, probably (if they're lucky, they might be still alive when it reaches its destination).

The captain on the ship is like your typical ship's captain, and he seems to be somewhat more like a president in their little society. His wife, Diondre (played by the always-wonderful Tricia Helfer), is what we might call a nasty piece of work. She seems to be the "head stewardess", but in this case, that makes her a madame. She's cheating on her husband with someone who wants to be captain instead. There is lots of sex in this show, and lots of scheming, lying, cheating, and some violence.

The relationships between the characters and how they treat each other, and the secrets that come out during the murder investigation, are standard soap opera and murder mystery stuff. This is no "How to Get Away with Murder", that's for sure.

Meanwhile, on Earth, the son of the man who created "Ascension" is worried because a graduate student is snooping around about the secret of the ship (apparently they launched the ship with 600 people in secret - which seems highly unlikely).

This is when the show gets really interesting. I can't tell you what happens, but at the end, something really shocking happens. However, there are hints before that, that will tell you what is about to happen, that spoil the surprise a little bit by the time they show it.

The problem with the surprise is that I'm not sure I like how the story has taken this turn. It kind of, in a way, invalidates the whole rest of the show thus far. That kind of bothers me. I have to wait and see how it all turns out to decide if it was good or not.  I guess, if I'm not sure, that means they succeeded somewhat in drawing me in. If I just didn't care, that wouldn't be good.

The show has fine special effects and all that sort of thing. Of course it does, because this is not a low-budget miniseries. All I really ever care about, though, is the story (and to a much lesser extent, the acting).

I very much liked Gault and this one little girl that's kind of creepy, and the doctor, and the captain. The rest I can take or leave.

You'll have to watch it yourself and make up your own mind!


In less than a month, you’ll be launched into the world of Ascension—a limited series event chronicling the experience of space pioneers 51 years into their journey.

Below, you’ll find three clips: the latest promo for the series, and two behind-the-scenes clips that provide striking detail about the creative set designs, costumes and storytelling in Ascension. Jump to Facebook and you’ll also find a timeline of the #Ascension.

Ascension — The Three-Night Event Premieres
Monday, December 15 at 9/8c

1963 – Promo Clip

SUMMARY: in 1963, a special mission was launched to save mankind. In 2014, the mission has gone too far.


Incredible Set Designs – Behind-the-Scenes Clip

SUMMARY: The cast and crew of Ascension - Brian Van Holt, Gil Bellows, Tricia Helfer, Brad Carter, Brandon P Bell, Ryan Robbins, and David Brin - go behind the scenes of building the massive sets for Ascension.


Science vs. Reality – Behind-the-Scenes Clip

SUMMARY: Executive Producer, Jason Blum, and Astrophysicist and author, David Brin, take you behind the scenes through the science and space travel, and 1960's cultural inspiration for setting Ascension.


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