Atlantis will return to BBC One this year. Here are some of our hopes for the fantasy adventure drama’s second series…
1. Hercules the Hero!
It is fair to say that we’d quickly had enough of Hercules as a figure of fun. After thirteen episodes it has become abundantly clear that the big man is the best thing about this show. At various times he has risen to the occasion with his warmth and loyalty, being brave to the point of self-sacrifice as well as a credible romantic hero too.
Comedy does not need to come at the expense of the drama, so we would like to see more of Hercules as a mentor to Jason and be spared the plots that see him as an idiotic, drunken oaf. Most importantly, let’s all try to forget about that pet dung beetle nonsense from ‘White Lies’ shall we?
2. Jason – a man out of time?
If Jason truly hails from the modern day, why does he talk like someone from a period drama? Even now this still bugs us and it seems like a squandered character point. The only occasions his displaced status have been referenced, other than in his general lack of knowledge, have been in double-takes at names and when he knew not to stare at Medusa. Why bother to make him from our time and then not use it?
Given Jason is fairly devoid of personality, he could be endearing himself to the audience with some knowing pop-culture references. Equally, he ought to be trying to implant some idea from home to turn a profit!
3. A female hero please!
Although the tale plays out in ancient times, there really is no reason for the cast not to contain a strong, heroic female. While Ariadne has been granted the odd moment to shine, she remains primarily an object of adoration for Jason to protect and save. Medusa on the other hand enjoyed an introduction and was shown to be resourceful, before becoming the target of Hercules affections and heading to an uncertain fate.
The introduction of Atalanta (Nora-Jane Noone) in ‘The Price of Hope’ at least looked promising with her impressive physical prowess and devotion to the goddess Artemis. Please may her path cross with Jason again quickly?
4. Keep the shocks coming…
Bumping off Korinna, Ariadne’s loyal maidservant, in ‘The Rule of Engagement’ really showed that Pasiphae meant business. Equally, the finale’s revelation of Jason’s parentage was an impressive, game-changing revelation.
Let’s have more of that and less predictability… Pythagoras as his Dad’s killer in ‘The Furies’ was telegraphed in miles ahead of time, first by the Oracle and then in some pretty unsubtle conversation.
The first half of the series saw Pythagoras criminally underused, left in the shadow by Jason’s acrobatics and a lovelorn Hercules. As a character, he was at least afforded some depth by the introduction of his brother and their sad family back story in ‘The Furies’.
Given he has the destiny of becoming a great thinker we look forward to more ingenious problem-solving, like his taking the lead in ‘Hunger Pangs’ where he saved Jason from becoming a werewolf – as well inventing the clock in his spare time!
Robert Lindsay’s superb, if brief, appearance as Dedalus in ‘The Price of Hope’ offered plenty of sparkle. As well as his spiky manner, it was interesting to see Pythagoras cast in the role of student to a complicated mentor and we look forward to glimpsing more of this relationship. Let’s pick up on that line about his wayward son Icarus and get him back pronto!
7. More scripts by Richard McBrien
‘Twist of Fate’, the tale which dealt with the story of the baby Oedipus, was a well-constructed mix of drama, comedy and well-handled action. His other episode, ‘The Rules of Engagement’, managed to blend a fighting contest with political intrigue. Of all the writers in this first series, McBrien seemed to be the one who nailed the tone perfectly.
8. King Minos
When he came back miraculously cured at the end of the finale, Minos was on blazing form yet poor Alexander Siddig has been woefully underused so far. We did, however, at times catch a glimpse of a weak man who had taken the throne and was fearful of the consequences.
He was frequently manipulated by Pasiphae, but it would be great to see him standing on his own and wielding his power. Both as Ariadne’s father and the husband of a wayward Queen, as well as the ruler of Atlantis, there is surely plenty of potential to get him more involved – and Jason is well and truly on his radar, not only as the killer of the Minotaur and victor of the Pankration, but as his daughter’s saviour too.
9. The Pythagoras/Hercules double act
In a fairly average episode like ‘Hunger Pangs’, taking Jason out of the equation for a while forced the other two to pull together and save the day. Yes, it was ramshackle, but it was also entertaining and you could see why these polar opposites are friends.
There is great potential for comedy which simply comes from the pairing of this odd couple, and it need not be at the expense of either of them. Equally, their fears as they discuss Jason’s magical status can be a great way to discuss what the audience must be feeling… they had surely nailed Jason as ‘Touched by the Gods’ way back in the fourth episode.
10. Defying the Gods
Jason’s two fingers to the Gods at the end of ‘Pandora’s Box’ was a thrillingly dramatic moment which made plenty of sense if he is meant to hail from our increasingly secular time. Why would he be so worried about predictions, portents and fate?
We’d like to see it built upon… nuts to the Oracle and the unseen forces of the Gods – let’s see our heroes carve their own path!
Watch the Atlantis launch trailer…
What are your hopes for Series 2? Let us know below…