Roush Review: Board Syfy’s ‘Ark’ at Your Own Risk
Not since the SS Minnow of Gilligan’s Island has there been a more ill-fated vessel than the hapless title spacecraft of The Ark, a proudly cheesy sci-fi potboiler from Independence Day’s Dean Devlin. If it were a B movie (which would be a step up), I’d expect to see this Poseidon Adventure in orbit cheerfully mocked on Mystery Science Theater 3000. At the very least, it gives NBC‘s La Brea a run for its money as the most stupefying and imbecilic sci-fi show on TV.
Those with a hearty appetite for crisis-of-the-week storytelling will most enjoy this overheated yarn. Set a century in the future, the show opens with the exploratory Ark One interrupted mid-flight by a catastrophe that wipes out the part of the ship carrying all of the elite command. The overwhelmed Gilligans left behind, jolted awake from cryogenic sleep a year early, are a motley bunch of cardboard characters, forced to rise to the occasion upon acknowledging, “Everyone who was qualified is dead.”
It’s one calamity after another: limited food and water, oxygen depletion, hallucinations, a collision course with an asteroid, a murder mystery, inane dialogue (“I won’t lie to you: We’re in a tight spot”). By the fourth (felt like 40th) episode, I couldn’t help think that the officers who never woke up were the lucky ones.
While the few ranking lieutenants squabble over leadership — only Richard Fleeshman (The Sandman) as cocky navigator James Brice shows star potential — it’s up to the ship’s nerdy youngsters, including breathless chatterbox Alicia (Stacey Read) and gung-ho horticulturist Angus (Ryan Adams), to save the day.
What they all could use is a good Noah.
The Ark, Series Premiere, Wednesday, February 1, 10/9c, Syfy