TV Review: HELIX – 2014 (Episodes 1 – 4)

Published by Shah Shahid on

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2004) is considered (arguably) one of the best and complete Science Fiction Television shows of the last generation. So obviously when the name of creator Ronald D. Moore gets thrown around in yet another TV Series, freak outs occur. Even more so when the show is being boasted as being from the minds of people behind shows such as LOST and THE X-FILES, the freak-outs increase in both frequency and intensity. Here is my Review of the first 4 episodes of HELIX…


HELIX follows a very simple, and unoriginal premise. A virus is loose on a remote medical research facility, literally in the middle of nowhere, and a crack team of CDC Agents with bland personalities have to go down there and ‘check things out’. The kicker, one of the people infected with the virus, is the brother of the head of the CDC Team, providing a plot point that I don’t know why we’d care about 7 minutes into the Pilot episode.

The team consists of stereotypical character archetypes such as the dashing mature leader, the sassy blonde, the wide eyed newbie who has a thing for her older mentor, the leader’s ex who cheated on him with aforementioned infected brother (hopefully before he was infected), and the inexperienced military guy. However, despite these routine character templates, the execution never takes them beyond this prejudiced description, and gives them nothing more to do. At least in the beginning.

Helix, SyFy, Ronald D. Moore, Billy Campbell, Hiroyuki Sanada, Science Fiction, TV Review, 2014

the main cast… so far. *wink wink…

The Pilot, split up into two episodes, establishes the Medical Research Base’s hierarchy as well as the situation itself. Base commander Hatake played wonderfully by Hiroyuki Sanada (47 RONIN) is immediately set up as the creepy dude who knows a helluva lot more than he lets on. Along with his trained puppy dog / body guard and head of security of the base, Hatake provides, what I think is the best performance of the show thus far, along with the most interesting character… with his obvious evil-ness.

We’re treated to a virus which essentially changes people, in an almost zombie-like way, (despite no one daring to say that word) however, they are still alive, and can presumably be cured. The how, why or what are unexplained and this is what drives the major arc of the show so far. The CDC team headed by Billy Campbell’s (THE ROCKETEER) Alan needs to determine the cause, contain and cure the already infected, in an environment of chaos, deception and personal turmoil for himself. All the while whispering, literally every single line of dialogue.

Helix, SyFy, Ronald D. Moore, Billy Campbell, Hiroyuki Sanada, Science Fiction, TV Review, 2014

the zombie whisperer…

Despite some intensely riveting moments, HELIX attempts to set up a lot within the first two episodes, but it fails in a lot of regards. Slow pace, bland characters, and an attempt at a ‘conspiracy theory’ that isn’t at all engaging. One awesome thing about the show though is its theme song. The wildly innovative and out of place upbeat tune provides great contrast to the on screen suspense.

Things start to pick up as more story threads unravel. Hatake and the inexperienced military guy, Major Balleseros, seem to have some connection to one another, while the Major himself has a bit of a conspiracy theory going on himself. The CDC Team are stumped in trying to find a cure, as the infection spreads through the base, transforming innocently boring scientist types into rampaging black goo spouting living zomb—I mean ‘vectors’, as they’re referred to. While the outbreak of this infection, if released outside of the facility threatens the entire human race, with no idea as to how or –get this— who made it.

Helix, SyFy, Ronald D. Moore, Billy Campbell, Hiroyuki Sanada, Science Fiction, TV Review, 2014

so mysterious, and not just ‘cuz he’s asian…

The issues with the series until episode 3 get completely resolved by the ending of Episode 4, as everything is amped up to riveting proportions of awesome-ness. The bland characters are given a lot more development. Personal secrets, character building revelations, mysterious pasts and even murder are all things that make up the last 10 minutes of Episode 4, and it’s brilliant. Ranging from the creepy, to the mind blowing, HELIX finally hits its stride during the last episode. Here hoping things continue to be awesome in the coming weeks, continuing with tonight’s episode.

Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad

1 Comment

TV Review: HELIX - 2014 (Episodes 5 & 6) : Blank Page Beatdown · February 12, 2014 at 1:19 AM

[…] mystery that one assumes they will build on later. My Review of the first 4 episodes can be found here, but now let’s take a look at Episodes 5 & […]

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