Ah. There it is. After the surprisingly entertaining first episode, I had, er, modest-sized hopes for Dominion, but hey ho, episode 2 surprised me once again, this time by being both thoroughly unimaginative and completely, unwatchably terrible. Fortyish minutes of characters bickering about their Daddy issues is not my idea of a passable time, let alone a good one, even if you throw in a random, half-hearted attempt at an orgy (desperation is not particularly titillating, writers) and secret agent angels round every corner. Or under every housekeeping uniform. Bad Felicia. And as for the Chosen One and Louise from Hollyoaks: break up, make up, break up, make up – do what you like, but please don’t expect me to care about it.
So, 25 years ago, Angels declared war on humanity and humanity would have lost, big-time, had it not been for the Archangel Michael siding with us. While saving humanity’s collective behind, however, Michael also saved a special human baby with a special purpose, and decided to wait around, being all moody and stuff, in a hotel atop the city-state of Vega, for this Chosen One to grow up and take over humanity-saving duties …
Let me just take a break from rolling my eyes for a moment to say that Dominion is obviously tosh with a capital “Come on, now.” I knew that going in. But it’s mildly entertaining tosh, which came as something of a surprise to me.
This feature-length pilot starts off fairly charmlessly; firstly by being feature-length (few things cause my mood to plummet as quickly as “113 minutes” listed next to a show on my Sky+ box) and secondly with our identikit maverick hero, rogue soldier with Daddy (sigh) issues Alex, breaking the rules like a maverick, running into trouble like a maverick, almost getting killed like a maverick, etc etc. Much more of that and I’d have switched off, but things got better when we got to Vega, formerly Las Vegas.
The juxtaposition of Vegas’s old-school hotel glamour with the futuristic technology and trappings of the dystopian military state actually makes for a stylish, intriguing setting, and the clearly BSG-inspired military uniforms and barracks suggest considerable thought has been put into how this show looks, at least. The two elder statesmen of the cast score highly as well, even if the only way I can distinguish between Alan Dale’s leader-type and Anthony Head’s, er, other leader-type is Anthony Head’s crazy-bad accent. Anthony, at least, seems to be having a rare old time, though, cackling and evilling it up with some kind of political plot carry-on that would be extremely tedious without him, so fair enough. There’s plenty of cliche to go around, after all. Not least on the forbidden romance front, since our lowly soldier hero is in love with the city’s closest thing to a princess but she’s to be married off to some slimy cheeseball who cannot be as stupid as he seems instead, despite the fact that our lowly soldier hero is actually more special than anyone who’s never watched tv before might have realised….
Whatevs. The humans may be faffing around playing Dominion Dynasty, but the Angels haven’t been vanquished completely, thank goodness, because that would be boring. Instead, they’ve just been biding their time and teaming up with a different, deadlier class of Angels – yes, I know, but we just have to go with it – in what seem to be Iron Man costumes. Because fashion can be a bit hit-and-miss in Dominion. (See also Louise from Hollyoaks’ collection of headbands.)
I appreciate that none of this makes much sense. This is what happens when you mix a load of fantasy cliches and quasi-religious imagery with that creepy sub-genre of paranormal romance where young women fall for fallen angels with burning skin and blazing eyes and whatnot. (That stuff is weird, y’all.) But I kind of liked Dominion. I liked the aesthetic, I liked the use of Greek mythology and I really liked the awesome Michael and Gabriel, who are basically CW vampires in a post-apocalyptic Syfy angel context: all brooding, self-loathing and super-hot, but with WINGS. Yes, these guys are the Salvatores minus the blood habit and the love triangle – although, who knows? Maybe that particular joy is yet to come.
Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I’m not saying Dominion is very good, but I don’t think it’s all that bad, either. It’s watchable. Or this first episode was, anyway. We’ll see how the second one measures up.