Ok, if I’m honest I know it isn’t the best show on TV but it really deserves much more praise than it has had – even if the praise is just for how unpredictable it is.
The acting is . . . lets go with ‘of variable quality’ at times admittedly. Billy Campbell (henceforth referred to as The Rocketeer, as is only right) can act, as can the guy playing Hitake (no, not Shitake, that’s a mushroom) and the woman playing Julia, after that the main cast can be a bit hit and miss. The woman who plays Sarah (or Jail Bait as she is iften referred to) is in her mid twenties but looks about fourteen, has essentially one expression – slightly confused. In the dual role of twin inuit men one actor manages to make two characters unconvincing, then again with the haircut he has as one of them there’s very little he can do except allow people to focus on how bad it is. It is especially unfortunate as the woman playing his sister is a much, much better actress – unlike him she can convincingly play a human being. Peter, brother of The Rocketeer, has spent most of the season in veiny makeup and saying not very much (as he appears to do in many movies playing anonymous red-shirts), it is only once he loses the makeup and starts talking that you realise he was better off before. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the bad acting, it is a major part fo the appeal of the show!
Character-wise The Rocketeer doesn’t do well here, as a senior agent of the CDC you would expect him to be highly intelligent and science-focused. Instead he appears to be quite keen on running around with a gun making some of the most insanely stupid plans anyone has since Captain Janeaway disappeared from our screens (accompanied by huge sighs of relief from everyone). Mostly his plans seem to involve running straight into whatever trap is being laid or trusting everyone around him even if they have already betrayed him eight or nine hundred times before. Even so, everyone follows his plan regardless. This makes it very entertaining to watch while shouting at the screen what a mad plan they are following. However, there is one main problem with his character – despite, very obviously, being in love with Julia he sleeps with Jail Bait. In reality The Rocketeer is more than twice her age (she is 26, he is 54) which is a bit creepy, but when you factor in that she looks fourteen it is just plain disturbing. My wife keeps hoping they will kill Jail Bait’s character off just so she does not have to watch them kiss again, it was just too creepy.
Hitake, however, has gone from pantomime villain at the start to the most interesting character on the show – he’s been revealed to be immortal, lost his adopted son, found his biological daughter, made his daughter immortal, revealed he was worked for the bad guys under duress, helped rescue the love of his immortal life, then seen her die and revealed more hidden levels to an arctic base than is remotely plausible. He is just brilliant, insane but brilliant.
Then there are the plots, oh my god there are the plots. Seemingly plucked at random from a jar of mad ideas (head in a jar, frozen monkeys, teenage immortal assassins, secret log cabins, long lost mothers kept in a crate for thirty years, and so on) and added in to episodes at equally random times you never really know what is going to come next. One week it looks like Hitake is hitting on Julia, the next he looks like her creepy stalker and the next it turns out he is her dad – insane. Thats before we even get to the zombies, sorry I mean ‘vectors’, running around and pretty much puking into people’s mouths to infect them. By the way, those frozen monkeys . . . actually frozen zombie monkeys, how can you beat that?
I realise I may not be selling this too well here but it is genuinely the most fun show on TV at the moment – sure the acting can be bad, the scripts full of cliched lines and the arctic base appears to be larger than most major cities but . . . it is fun!