Episode four of the BBC’s Atlantis continues with the young series’s adventure, comedy and little bits of mystery. Not a bad but undeniably simple, Atlantisis not going to be winning awards for scripts any time soon. However, the harmless family fun continues.
This week our trio finds an abandoned baby in the woods. After some jostling as to who would look after it, Hercules comes to save the day. With a few of the obligatory jokes that always occur when men are looking after babies–who farted? Oh wait it’s the baby, etc., etc.–we settle into a hunt for the baby’s mother.
A bit of contemporary archaeological reconstruction leads them to a broken pot, which when constructed was a little pig rattle for the baby – this means the mother was obviously coerced into leaving the baby, right? A slight leap, but let’s face it, with 45 minutes to play with we can allow the writers some professional license.
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Three episodes in and Atlantis finally has my attention. The difficulties I had with the first two episodes, namely the terrible acting and linear storyline, have all but remedied themselves. While Jack Donnelly is never going to win a BAFTA, the vacant look of surprise he appears to constantly wear has become less intrusive and more in keeping with the plot. The increased attention given to other characters is the key to Atlantis’ continuing upward trend.
This week was a week for romance. Not only did we properly meet Ariadne (Aiysha Hart) for the first time, but a sweet burgeoning love story is emerging between Hercules and Medusa (Jemima Rooper). A character we have only previously met in passing, Ariadne, the princess of Atlantis, becomes the catalyst for action. Her affection for Jason have finally come to the attention of others, increasing the punishment for Jason and co’s insubordination towards the Queens nephew, Heptarian (Oliver Walker). Unfortunately for Jason and the gang, not only is Heptarian betrothed to Ariadne, but he is also the “Lord of Poseidon”, a position that allows him special privileges and treatments within the city. Consequently, the slight altercation between him and Jason ends in the boys being sent “to the bulls”.
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Episode two of the BBC’s new family entertainment show, Atlantis, is such an improvement on the pilot that I am almost willing to forgive the terrible acting of the first episode. The key to this episode’s success is simply less Jason more Hercules; Mark Addy’s easy charm, and brilliant comic timing raises this episode from mediocre children’s show to genuinely enjoyable adventure show.
“A Girl By Any Other Name” sees Jason and the gang’s infamy as the slayers of the Minotaur spread; approached by the father of a girl who has disappeared from the palace kitchens they decide to take on the investigation. After some inquiries they find that the Maenads, the followers of Dionysus, may have abducted her. With a temple set deep in a creepy forest, guarded by man-eating Satyrs, the boys should have no trouble getting in and rescuing the girl, right? Well not so much.
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Atlantis fills the BBC’s Saturday evening slot, their most profitable time slot made famous by Dr Who. The first episode of Atlantis sees Jason enter a strange parallel world while looking for the wreckage of his father’s submarine. In this ‘other world’ the city of Atlantis is alive and very much above sea level, populated by figures from Greek mythology and living in fear of the Minotaur of King Minos.
The fact that they have gone down the route of setting it in a parallel universe allows the writers to avoid worrying about any historical inaccuracies (of which there are many).
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Episode 2 to follow soon!