What scientist doesn’t like a great science-based fictional story? I personally love them, moreover love when they are all available online to watch in chunks of time (thank you, Netflix). Helix is an Original series by the network Syfy and is only 13 episodes long (each at about 45 minutes). The basic plot of the first season is Dr. Alan Farragut from the CDC is contacted because a rampant contagion is infecting scientists in a lab in the Arctic Circle. His brother, Peter, is a scientist at the facility and is also infected. Dr. Hatake, the leader of the facility, requests that Alan, Julia (Alan’s ex-wife who cheats on Alan with Peter) and a few CDC team members come to the facility to help mediate the outbreak.
Overall, I really enjoyed this show and its pace. In fact the speed at which it progressed was exactly what was necessary for a show such as this. I almost feel as if sometimes shows like “The Walking Dead” drag at time in which audience attention is lost. Also, as a scientist, I really enjoyed that they used terminology that may be “big words” for laymen, but I completely understood. Helix is the title of the show and the virus that they were investigating altered the helical structures in an individual’s DNA. The science, structural pieces the CDC members referred to, and the experiments they ran all made logical sense. It gave the show a boost in my opinion that it wasn’t just attributing “running samples” to a box (ahem, CSI).
Not only did I like the pace and scientific credence of the show, but the sets were really, really cool. You can tell that Syfy invested a lot of money into this show because the facility had motion sensing walls and cool lighting and top-notch research labs (that looked like labs!). Some shows don’t pay too much attention to the details like set (unless they are period pieces, then they have to), and it really adds to a show if the place fits in well with the themes that are trying to be conveyed.
With the good comes the bad parts of the show. As a preface however, the good outweighed the bad so I guess you can view these complaints as minor (but could be major for some). First off, I wish that this season didn’t rely so heavily on the personal connections the cast members had with each other. **Spoiler Alert** Julia was Hatake’s daughter. Ilaria, the company that controls the facility, is comprised of “500” that are immortal. Also, the whole Alan, Peter, Julia love triangle was just stupid. I didn’t like it; it added nothing to the overall message of the show and in all reality detracted from the theme of “scientific breakthroughs.” Lastly, one of the biggest upsets that I didn’t like was that this show resembled to a great extent the “Resident Evil” movies. Large corporation (Umbrella versus Ilaria) has this sight (BioArctic versus the Hive) and an outbreak happens turning people into zombies. Really closely resemble one another, which was an annoyance. Helix brought a stronger scientific standing and representation to the show, but it was kind of the same premise, unfortunately.
Overall, I really liked it and think many people interested in the subject matter should watch. Cool idea, great characters, great make-up and sets, and an interesting cliff hanger for the next season!