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Syfy’s Ascension Left Us Wanting More (In Good And Bad Ways)

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AscensionAscension was a big deal for Syfy. It was the vanguard of their stated goals to return to the business of crafting serious science fiction, rather than focusing on paranormal “reality” shows and lighter-hearted fare such as Eureka and Warehouse 13. Well, now we’ve seen all three nights of the epic mini-series. Was it worth the wait? Did it maintain the excitement we’ve built up for future Syfy productions such as The Expanse and Childhood’s End?

Yes and no. Over the course of its three-night run, Ascension enthralled, frustrated, jumped the shark, recovered its footing, and then slammed headfirst into an abrupt climax that simultaneously has us eager to see the story continued and also kind of miffed at how little actual closure it provided.

If you haven’t finished watching Ascension yet, click away — If you haven’t finished watching Ascension yet, click away — there be spoilers here!

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Ascension Post-Game: Night One Delivers Thrills And A Huge Climax

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ascensionTonight, Syfy took to the stars for the first installment of the twisty space thriller Ascension, the network’s first miniseries in quite a few years. The bad news? This isn’t going to become the next Battlestar Galactica. The good news? It’s telling a good enough story that it doesn’t need to. Mostly. For now.

If you sat out night one of Ascension, stop reading now as there are huge SPOILERS below.

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Ascension Kicks Off Syfy’s Return To Serious Science Fiction: This Week’s TV Picks

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Syfy’s Ascension imagines that, in the year 1963, the United States launched a top-secret space mission — a 100-year voyage aboard a “generation ship” designed to establish mankind’s first colony in a distant star system. Society has evolved aboard the ship into a weird echo of ‘Sixties culture — think Mad Men, not hippies — but has also stratified sharply along class lines. As the ship reaches the halfway point of its trip, the passengers and crew are rocked by a murder, the first ever to occur during the mission, which throws the true nature of the Ascension project into question.

Ascension is the vanguard of Syfy’s attempts to redirect their focus toward serious, ambitious science fiction programming and a stated goal of competing on the same level as HBO, AMC, and Netflix. While we were initially skeptical, Syfy just keeps putting its money where its mouth is, following Ascension up with crazy-exciting projects such as The Expanse, Ghost Brigades, and Childhood’s End. Hell, I’m even looking forward to the 12 Monkeys show, as surprised as I am to find myself admitting that. We’re actually excited about Syfy’s future for the first time in ages, so hopefully Ascension will prove to be a bold step forward for the network, and a promising sing of things to come.

Ascension will air in three parts: Monday – Wednesday at 9/8c on Syfy.

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Watching This 12 Monkeys Featurette Is Your Fate

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In just over a month, Syfy finally unveils their serialized adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s 1995 time travel mind-bender 12 Monkeys, and though we’re still a ways out, the network is pushing their new series hard. Just the other day we saw a featurette that digs into the relationship between the two main characters, and now they’re back with another that explores the idea of fate, morality, sacrifice, and shows off a bunch of new footage.

On the surface, the series resembles Gilliam’s film, at least in the details. After a vicious plague wipes out most of the human population, James Cole (Aaron Stanford) is sent back in time from the year 2043 using an untested method of time travel to try to put a stop to this disaster. Once there, he enlists the help of Doctor Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull) in his quest, and goes about trying to save humanity as well as redeem himself.

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Syfy’s 12 Monkeys Reveals Changes From The Film In This Featurette

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Over the next few months, Syfy is definitely upping their game. Next week you have the big event miniseries Ascension kicking off, Helix returns to your TV screen early next year, and on January 16, you’ll finally get a look at their adaptation of 12 Monkeys. To hype that particular series, the network has released this new featurette to give you a better idea of the world you’re walking into.

Like Terry Gilliam’s 1995 time travel film, this 12 Monkeys revolves around James Cole (Aaron Stanford), a man from the future, sent back in time in order to stop a plague that wipes out most of the human race and forces the remnants to struggle for survival. On his journey, he meets Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull), and enlists her help to save the human race from a dismal, post-apocalyptic future. As you probably guessed, there also appears to be some romance in the air.

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Syfy And David Goyer Are Making A Superman Show…Sort Of

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ManOfSteelI remember when Smallville was first announced, hearing the whole “no tights/no flights” rule and thinking, “How the hell is that going to work?” It ended up working better than it had any right to, even though it was far from a perfect show. Now we’ve got Gotham, a Batman show without Batman. It takes the Smallville concept even further by showing us adventures in Batman’s burgh before young master Wayne has even gone through puberty. Well, brace yourselves, folks, because DC’s just getting started with this shit. Next up, a Syfy series focused on Superman’s Kryptonian grandpa. Great Caesar’s ghost! (Stay tuned for the inevitable series about Perry White’s great-grandfather’s adventures during World War II.)

We first mentioned the possibility of a Krypton series in October, when word broke that Man of Steel/Batman Begins screenwriter David S. Goyer was developing a Superman prequel series that would focus on Kal-El’s homeworld. At the time, details were scarce — and actually, they’re still pretty scarce, but now we at least know the network involved. Syfy, amidst its full-court press to regain respectability and become the go-to destination for scripted science fiction TV, is partnering with Goyer, Ian Goldberg (FlashForward), and Warner Horizon Television to develop Krypton. Goldberg is writing the pilot script, based on a story conceived by Goyer and himself. And look, they have a logo!