I turn my attention to the first season of the biblical-inspired post apocalyptic drama Dominion, which recently wrapped up its first season on Syfy, based on the movie Legion – starring Christopher Egan, Tom Wisdom, Roxanne McKee and Anthony Head.
The Angels have declared war on humanity. Lead by Archangel Gabriel (Carl Beukes), they have descended from the heavens with the lesser angels, known as “Eight Balls”, possessing humans. Humanity, all but extinct, has been saved from total obliteration by the Archangel Michael (Tom Wisdom), who watches over one of the few surviving cities, Vega – a place that was once Los Vegas, a city where the rich grow richer and the poor go poorer by the day. And in the city, Alex Lannen (Christopher Egan), a soldier, finds himself with mysterious markings on his body. Markings that seemingly identify him as the Chosen One, the only person who can save the humans from their Angel invaders.
Legion is certainly an odd choice for the source material of an ongoing TV series, with the movie being certainly less than popular. Whilst I haven’t seen it, I decided to check out the show anyway, and was glad to see that Dominion not only proved to be accessible enough to newcomers, but also got me interested in going back and checking out the film that it was inspired by, which if I recall correctly, is currently available to stream on Netflix (although I may have to double check that). The risk however that Syfy took on this series seems to have paid off, because despite its flaws, Dominion is a very entertaining series that I would love to see return for a second season. Whilst like most series, it experiences its usual growing pains in its first season with a relatively slow start, but Dominion really manages to find its own in the last few episodes of the season and become something awesome.
Sure, the series may not be the most original on the market. The Chosen One plot has been done over and over again, and Christopher Egan does nothing as Alex Lannen to make it feel like we could do with more of this trope. His character is dull and uninspiring and there are far more interesting actors on the sides that this show could turn a better focus to.
The cast is numerous, and we get to see lots of interlocking storylines as the series goes on. There’s the always awesome Anthony Head playing David Whele, a high-ranking official in the city, who plays a role more similar to Uther in Merlin than Giles in Buffy, and portrays the authoritan figure very well. His son, William (Luke Allen-Gale) initially starts off as the sniveling Draco Malfoy-type figure to Alex’s Harry Potter, but when secrets are revealed about his character he starts to come into his own. Roxanne McKee delivers a powerful performance as Claire Risen, who comes across as far more than just the love interest of both Alex and William.
In the camp of the Angels, Carl Beukes’ Gabriel is always fun to see. He plays the antagonist very well indeed, and it’s great to see him in action. Tom Wisdom’s Michael puts in a solid performance, but my favourite role, and possibly the most enjoyable character of the season has to go to the treacherous Uriel (Katrine De Candole), who steals the scene more than once and really impresses.
The show is unusually short for an American series, which mostly get either 13 or 22 episodes in their premiere season. However, it fits more in line with the shorter seasons of True Detective and Penny Dreadful. It’s concise, and really comes into its own around S1x06, “Black Eyes Blue,” where Alex tries to begin the exorcism of Eight-Balls from their human hosts, but unfortunately, it takes a while before it finds the form that the season ends on.
There are plenty of logic gaps and this is very much a show that you will need to go into with your brain switched off. The pacing doesn’t always find its mark, but if you can put aside the problems, Dominion is actually quite entertaining with room to grow should it be renewed for a second season. In my opinion, it’s better than Syfy’s other similar post-apocalyptic show, Defiance – and more episodes of this series would be more than welcomed, provided that they maintain the quality of the latter episodes of Season 1 than the earlier ones.