Helix is one we’ve been curious about. The concept is strong, and resembles John Carpenter’s The Thing, but what we’ve seen in the form of promos, clips, and teasers hasn’t exactly set our world’s on fire. Still, it’s Moore, and the man is something of a sci-fi guru, so we’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. However, these 15-minutes, much like what’s come before, don’t inspire the greatest confidence.
Billy Campbell (The Kiling) stars as Dr. Allen Farragut, a CDC expert on infectious disease and the spread of global pandemics. When a new viral agent appears in a private, Antarctica-based lab, he and his team must investigate. The disease infects its host and makes them violent, kind of like the plagues in the likes of 28 Days Later. Not the most original idea, but still solid, and given the isolated environment, there would seem to be a lot of potential in Helix.
The problem is that the show feels like a soap opera. Farragut’s brother is one of the infected patients, the other doctor is his estranged ex-wife (who cheated on him with his brother, by the way), and his assistant is madly in love with him and starts to get jealous. There appears to be a great deal of this sort of thing personal drama going on in Helix. Moore had success with this approach in BSG (fans will notice an overt reference), but this feels like they’re going out of the way to give everybody a quirky, overly-dramatic back story. Like Dr. Hiroshi Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada), who apparently adopted a kid and raised him as his lab assistant. That seems strange, but what the hell.
None of this is enough to make us not give Helix a chance, but there is enough to temper our enthusiasm and keep our expectations in check.
Helix premieres with a double episode on Syfy on January 10.