We’re less than a month away from the premiere of Syfy’s Helix, but the latest trailer still just looks like a greatest hits reel from other well-known science fiction properties. You’ve got the remote, snowy location of John Carpenter’s The Thing. The mysterious black ooze infecting people, just like in The X-Files. The biomedical trappings of any number of pandemic thrillers, and the angry infected riff on everything from Dr. Jekyll to zombies. I’m not saying Helix will be bad — I’ve heard some positive early buzz, and showrunner Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) still earns my optimism — but I keep waiting for the first trailer or clip that blows me away and looks like more than the sum of its overly familiar parts…but this ain’t it.
The latest trailer doesn’t really reveal anything we didn’t already know about Helix. It’s set an arctic research base where scientists unearth something dangerous beneath the ice. Alien life? Some sort of ancient virus? Pandora’s box? Whatever it is, it obviously begins infecting people, and that infection seems to be typified by violence, possibly enhanced strength, and the appearance of the oily black goop that’s all over the place. It’s unclear if said goop is the cause or a result of the overall sickness/infection/case of the vapors that’s overtaking the research base, but I fully expect some of those eyeless alien bounty hunters to show up and start laying down the law soon.
Still, Moore’s involvement is enough to insure I’ll be tuning in, at least long enough to see if it’s a great show that the Syfy marketing department hasn’t figured out what to do with. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica had its uneven moments, not to mention a controversial ending that rivals Lost’s for still being able to start arguments all these years later, but when it was good it was often great, and Moore’s still one of the genre’s proven talents.
It’s also worth noting that Javier Grillo-Marxuach is writing and serving as co-exec producer for the series as well. In addition to writing for the aforementioned Lost, he’s another TV veteran with a ton of memorable shows under his belt. Going all the way back to SeaQuest DSV, over the years he’s worked on Dark Skies, The Pretender, Charmed, The Chronicle, The Dead Zone, and Jake 2.0, not to mention creating the awesome but short-lived ABC Family series The Middleman. So that’s two names that will guarantee my eyeballs, at least coming out of the gate.
Helix premieres on Syfy on Friday, January 10 at 10/9c. You can check out the report from our set visit right here, and the striking new poster below (which is at least 10 x more interesting than the trailer up top, if I do say so myself.)