Wings, Tattoos And Pretty People – A Starter’s Guide to Dominion

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Disclaimer: Anything you recognize probably belongs to SyFy. Fun and fandom… you know the drill. Also, please note that I’m currently on vacation – physically as well as with my brain function. You will be a dear and forgive me the occasional “lovely” too many, won’t you? It’s the middle of summer, after all…

It takes a lot of bravery and plain old dare to watch something based off on something that was, basically, shit. Although I can’t honestly say I remember watching Legion, the movie which created the universe that the tv show Dominion now resides in, whenever I tell my fellow geek acquaintances that the show’s worth a shot, they go something like ungh, eew, sblurgh and random versions of the sort. Well… guess again, because a show containing the aforementioned lovely things is definitely worth at least 45 minutes of your precious watching time. Once it kicks off… it won’t be time wasted, that’s for sure.

Wings

Dominion is a winglover’s dream come true. (Watching it alongside with one is fun, too.) It’s been a while since there were great (seriously great – not your usual shitty tv cgi here) wings on our screens, and it’s worth to give the show a try just to fill your eyes up. If I wanted to be really honest, I’d say that the show’s promo poster was enough for me to risk watching the Pilot, and I was’t mistaken a bit. Wings and guns? Something’s gotta be good there… There may be no hi-tech aicraft or heavy artillery shots in the show, but the subtle details present all over add to the lovely near future scenery. And I’m the first to really appreciate well portayed near future worlds – sometimes even more than space opera stuff.  Sure, the screenwriters are not really sure what to do about all the firearms – they seem to be doing a bit better with the prevalent blades carried by many a character – but still; it’s sci-fi at its best, combining the impossible. This time it works, although the genre elements are a bit vague (apart from, you know, wings, which are technically fantasy, but still…). It should be noted, though, that not a lot of shows or movies dare mix genres like this – and oftentimes the mix sucks. Not here.

Tattoos

Somehow, Dominion never seems to do what you expect it to do, in terms of plot and the like. There will always be the same old tropes, such as the oh-too-perfect OTP – but some things feel genuinely new. If you dare watch the Pilot, you’ll instantly get yet another “chosen one” (ungh), but you’ll also get a chosen one with an awesome tattoo set (with a mind of its own and some serious behavioral issues – the tattoos, not the guy – although his behaviour is still a bit questionable). The next thing you’d expect are tons of closeups of the said chosen one’s pecs and abs (all for the sake of the plot – tattoos, y’know), but – nay! Sure, if that’s your thing, you’ll get your eye candy, but in a totally relaxed, natural manner. No overly naked scenes here (well, apart from the regular naked butt of both sexes) – and no must-show-abs contracts for the cast, as far as I can tell. The tattoos themselves are a bit wierd, to say the least, and quite fun. (After all, there’s never enough tattoos on screen, if you ask me – not even in Teen Wolf.

The plot twists in the show increase as the first season goes on, adding some intellectual stimulation to the visual one – all coming down beautifully in the what-the-hell-are-they-going-to-do-next season one finale. There are a bit more new, fun takes on stuff already seen a ton of times, drawing the viewer futher down into the world and its crazy characters – in the end, nothing is quite as it seems (lovely!). Oh, did I mention that the first season (which ended like, last week?) is basically an eight-parter, with an hour long finale? I’ve come to really appreciate the short season trend in the last few years – mostly because of wonderful influences from the UK, and because US tv has come a long way (in a bad, bad manner) from shows with writers awesome enough to pull off 20+ interesting episodes (khmTNGkhm). Shorter seasons can still have ther fair share of filler episodes, but it’s a lot harder for the main plot to melt into nothingness over the course of the season, which happens more often than not in full-season shows. (Don’t even get me started on Fringe.)

Pretty People

Umm, err… what was I saying? (Shuts the laptop down.) Umm, yeah, pretty people. Frankly, my aesthetic appreciation of Michael – played by a Brit who could probably convincingly pull off anything from a Tolkienesque high elf down to (yup, I’ll dare) Miles Vorkosigan – apart from the whole height thing – would probably be enough to get me through at least a few episodes. Even so, he’s not a lone star in a sea of gray. Tv shows usually go over the top anyway with their plastic (and definitely fake) portrayal of human beauty, but in this case I’ll admit forgiving the first few awful acts of acting even to the actress currently known as Claire Reisen, on the sole basis of the sight of her. (And this show – see above – surprises even with giving her a lovely character arc and some serious twists in the last few episodes. The co-alpha couldn’t even believe what she was like in her last dialogue of the season… I loved it.)

Uriel’s plain weird, but fun; Arika’s not really my cup of tea, but she’s haughty enough; if pretty boys are what you’re after, I’m sure Alex will be enough for you (even without the whole Malex thing – perfectly understandable – slowly growing over at Ao3). Some faces are, like Uriel, just weird – Becca and William for starters, both with an interesting character arc – but all of them fit lovely into the backdrop of over-the-top Las Vegas interiors.

And yes, I do come off as a bit shallow here – but one must find stuff to like in one’s tv shows before the cast and crew get a grip on what they’re actually doing, which more often than not happens later in the first season. Sure, there are always exceptions – Blacklist being a brilliant one – but most of the time… yeah.

So, what are you going to do the next time you have 45 minutes to spare between your regular tv shows fix…?