December 27th, 2014

Attention: major spoilers ahead

In a time where most of the Sci-Fi TV shows are looking into the future, Ascension (7.1/10 on IMDb) is looking into a different contemporary reality, even if the final aim is always the same: providing a better future for mankind.

As always I’ve discovered this new show through my loyal TV Files app. Thanks to the New section, it’s always possible to find something interesting. In addition to that, I had read few reviews online, really hyping the show. So I decided to give it a go. Also, being a mini-series with 6 half-hour shows, it wasn’t a major time commitment anyway.

The initial premises of the show seems quite simple, maybe too simple. A spaceship packed with 600 people is sent into space in the late ’50 for a 100-years journey toward a new distant planet in order to re-start the human race. Turns out, the ship was built but never actually left Earth, being stuck into a massive laboratory that simulate with a dome the outer space to keep up the illusion on board.

The show then becomes very quickly a modern take on The Truman Show. This time it’s not for the enjoyment of TV watchers, but for scientists to study human interaction while on a enclosed space. The humans on board have always lived with a very specific set of rules, recreating a very segmented society, where a small oligarchy is in command, deciding all the aspects of life for others, even birth control. The society on board seems to represent a bad example of society, or at least one that it’s stuck in the ’50s and hasn’t been able to evolve on its own.

Half way through the journey the second generation of travellers (the one born after the original ‘launch day’) suddenly wakes up. A murder will shake the imposed structure, questioning many of the choices and the existing dynamics. In addition to internal turmoils, there are also new inputs from the outside, where scientist are now struggling to keep the experiment under control.

The entire show balances itself on a very thin line since we discover it’s all fake and probably doesn’t succeed in delivering the message they wanted to pass onto us of a better future is possible, but it still makes for a good few hours of entertainment.

With a very wide open ending, the show could be set for a second season, but at the moment it remains a pure exercise in style.