Man, I really enjoyed SyFy’s new show Helix. I took a stab at it in the dark, not really knowing what I was in for and ended up with one of my favorite shows this season. So below, I have the top ten things that this show definitely did right after enjoying the finale of the first season of Helix. Also keep in mind this is a pretty spoiler filled list.
9. Sergio Balleseros
Look, the rest of this list has serious things that the show does perfectly, but what I had to include on here was Mark Ghanimé’s absolutely great character of Major Sergio Balleseros. Like, honestly there were a few episodes towards the middle where I wasn’t sure how attached I was to this show, and Ghanimé’s performance pretty much solidified my continuation of the show. His character went from skeptical soldier to evil antagonist to antihero to actual hero. Not to mention he’s nice to look at. There was a time when I literally watched the show for him, and that time was a beautiful part of my life.
8. Huge shadow company
I normally am one to roll my eyes at the idea of a shadow company, but one managed by immortals? Who saw that one coming? There was a lot of talk about aliens and I was definitely inclined to believe it, but after the season finale we just opened up a whole new can of worms. Ilaria is much more than just the Arctic Biosystems, and I am frothing at the mouth to know more.
7. A secret society
The society of 500 immortals sounds like something from a Grecian myth, but the fact that they are so shrouded in mystery only leads fans into more curiosity. So far we’ve only met four (maybe six if we count Spencer’s two sidekicks) of them and one has been more interesting than the last.
6. Slow reveals
We spent a lot of the season trying to figure out what was going on with the virus, and while there was a lot of speculation, I don’t think anyone expected immortals to be the answer. That being said, the slow reveal to who and what exactly Ilaria is was excellent. From Peter’s infection and transformation, to Julia’s revelation, to Ilaria coming into the Arctic Biosystems. As an audience member, I never felt like I was suddenly being dumped into a plotline.
5. Does great things with the trope
Not that I have anything against it, but SyFy has a tendency to play on just how cheesy a science fiction production can be. And in the cases of movies like Sharknado, it is a success and people can’t wait to see more of it. But Helix is a different story. They keep to many aspects of a classic sci-fi show, but they aren’t afraid to go past what you expect. And in many ways, their ability to do that is exactly what is so great about the sci-fi genre. You shouldn’t know what to expect, because the purpose of the genre is to suspend disbelief and to push the limits of what you can imagine.
4. That Bossa Nova
I hate a show that takes itself too seriously, and a show with a topic like Helix can easily get wrapped up in its own story and it ends up being more melodrama than action show, but offsetting that intense drama and suspense with spritely Bossa Nova music was the best choice the show runners could do to cut through any possibility of exaggeration.
3. Perfect Cast
I already kind of fangirled about Mark Ghanimé’s character, but this entire show had a star cast. Not only was the cast great, no one’s character felt useless or flat. Whenever it verged on being something stereotypical the show threw you for a turn that you weren’t expecting (or sometimes they did things you didn’t think they actually ever would consider). Notably, the performances of Hiroyuki Sanada’s Dr. Hiroshi Hatake and Kyra Zagorsky’s Dr. Julia Walker with one another were absolutely heartbreaking sometimes.
2. Contained setting
When I think about a good first season show, one of the most important things to me is the setting. A tv show set in an expansive setting where people are going all over the world spreads the story thin. Even an award winning show like Game of Thrones has a tendency to lose its newer audiences with its expansive world and countless houses and characters. Helix, without any of the support that Game of Thrones has with it’s decade of dedicated readers, does the right thing by containing the plot to the Arctic Biosystems. By keeping the setting small, we are forced to focus on the story. We can marvel at the beauty and terror of the arctic landscape, but it never really changes enough to distract from the story.
Oh man, that ending. The time jump to Day 235 sure took the story for a ride, but not only was it expected it took us to a place we wanted it to go. Comparatively to a typical show on television, the pacing of the show was incredibly fast. It isn’t unbelievable for us to be in Paris on Day 235 with Julia sitting at the head of the table at Ilaria. The only thing we can be sure of is the fact that we don’t have anything close to the full story.
With where the series ended, I think I need to rewatch the season and see what I missed from my first overview. I didn’t expect to be so taken in when I started this series, but it quickly pulled me in with such dedicated storytelling. I will be excited when Helix returns for Season 2 in the Winter!