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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 5 January 2015
A fabulous new series. I hope it is renewed for a second season. The building revelation about the past of the main characters is really gripping. This isn't just another take on the Andromeda Strain, but a real gripping series that builds on each previous episode to a great cliff-hanger.
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on 9 August 2017
strange, but interesting. I hope the second season too.
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Do you remember "Lost"? How it built up a complicated web of secrets, hints and mysteries... and eventually, we found out the creators had NO plan in place, and were just making it up as they went along, leaving huge swathes of the story unexplained?

In a sense, "Helix" is the heir to "Lost's" throne. This series feels like it has been made up with no particular plan in mind, and with half-a-dozen genres that it bounces between like a Ping-Pong ball -- we have rage zombies, realistic epidemiology, sci-fi diseases, lots of soap-opera backstabbing, and villains who pop in and out of the story whenever things threaten to get boring.

Dr. Alan Farragut (Billy Campbell) and his team -- including his ex-wife Dr Julia Walker (Kyra Zagorsky) and his adoring student Dr. Sarah Jordan (Jordan Hayes) -- are dispatched to an arctic research base to investigate a potentially deadly outbreak. But Farragut's real reason for going is that his brother Peter (Neil Napier) has been infected with a weird virus that makes you ooze black goo. Peter also broke up Alan's marriage by sleeping with Julia... which makes the whole thing less awkward than you would expect.

It's immediately obvious that Dr. Hiroshi Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada) is hiding something about this bizarre new disease, especially since the infected people show bizarre new powers. And after Julia is infected -- but somehow does not turn into a rage zombie -- Alan begins to uncover a horrifying conspiracy linked with the completely and utterly evil Ilaria Corporation (corporations are always completely evil in bad horror!) which could wipe out the entire world.

At times, "Helix" is like watching a soap opera -- we have sexual affairs (past and present), a fatal brain tumor, kidnapped children, secret parents, long-lost family, cold-blooded murder, redeeming love, tragic backstory involving alcoholism, and other hackneyed plot elements that just fill up space. Nobody is here to see Alan and Julia awkwardly talking about why she slept with his brother -- we want rage zombies vomiting tar into people's mouths.

But admittedly, the first few episodes of the show have promise. There are a few interesting characters (Dr. Boyle, a chubby quirky mortician) and a series of hints that all is not as it seems (Hatake's glowing blue eyes). Consider the chilling image of frozen, screaming monkeys lodged in the ice outside. But then Boyle is killed, and we're left with a cast mostly made up of stiff, thin-lipped, expressionless white people whom we have little reason to like. It's like watching a Twilight movie.

But as the thirteen episodes wind on, it becomes painfully obvious that there was little planning -- or if there was planning, then they bungled the delivery. The disease seems to change from episode to episode, depending on what the writers want, as do its effects. The infected people themselves just sort of... vanish whenever they're not convenient to the story. And whenever things get too boring, some villainous corporate types will show up to gorily kill people at random, and then be awkwardly and abruptly dispatched. And there's a weird subplot about one of Hatake's underlings spending time with the long-lost family of ANOTHER underling, and... it's all very dull and ultimately unnecessary.

And when the writers finally vomit out an explanation for what's going on, it's too little too late -- large chunks of the conspiracy were never really properly explained. It feels like the creators -- including Ronald D. Moore -- just threw in everything they thought would be cool, and then patched it together later into a hasty, unsatisfying explanation.

The saving grace of this show is respected Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada. While his accent occasionally makes it hard to tell what he's saying, Sanada shines like a lighthouse in the middle of all the more mediocre performances -- in his hands, Hatake is a conflicted and complicated character, doing terrible things but also stopping the far more terrible menace to humanity.

"Helix Season 1" is a big goopy tar-colored mess -- it's hard to believe that this was produced by the same guy who gave us "Battlestar Galactica." Perhaps the second season will be an improvement.
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Serious problems at the Arctic's Disease Control Centre. Dr. Alan Farragut flies in to investigate. Also involved are his former wife Julia and his lover Sarah. Amongst those needing urgent attention is his brother Peter, very near death. Experiments to create a cure-all virus have gone horribly wrong - many of the workforce crazed and on the rampage, craving blood.

A great setting. An intriguing premise. Hopes are high, especially at the start. Sadly the series soon begins to unravel with unbelievable contrivances, almost as though the plot is being developed on a whim. It is best not to ask questions as implausibilities mount: characters turning up out of the blue (including those thought to be dead), motivations forever changing. Add extraordinarily complicated (convincing?) family relationships and so many secret agendas it is hard to keep count.

Some viewers may have reservations about the choice of music - as when jauntily accompanying horrifying carnage. Appropriate? Gimmicky? Trivializing? An irritant?

Hiroyuki Sanada impresses as the Centre's head, Dr. Hatake. In contrast, the portrayal of ruthless fixer Constance Sutton is an embarrassment - the role reduced to decorative posturing.

Quite simply, the series does not seem to know what it is at. The Centre itself literally appears to have hidden depths. (By the way, how could the lowest section be the oldest part? Think about it!) Is the Centre a front for something else altogether? Are top level sinister forces masterminding? Can there even be an alien connection?

Season 2 may reveal.

13 episodes, each representing a new day. Two commentaries, the second better because more focussed. Behind the scenes features. A gag reel.

Only occasionally are there glimpses of potential with genuinely scary moments. Perhaps best enjoyed if treated as harmless escapism, a bit of a laugh - unintended admittedly.

Not disliked, but regretted. So easily it could have been much better.
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on 20 May 2014
This is actually a very clever little series with some great dramatic devices. I really like the way it has developed in a totally unexpected and intelligent manner. . . I could be pedantic and point out some of the poor plot devices, but they are few and far between so on balance, this is a five star review!
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on 22 December 2015
Gave up half way through. Got complicated and disjointed and sometimes daft as each episode came and went. Lost interest in the plot and the characters ( but liked the big blond woman who was a bit feisty and mouthy, shame she was dispatched early) who were stereo typed and whiny. Can't imagine what a second series would bring, except the decision to axe it, which really should have come after this.
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on 25 April 2014
So lets recap. Its Canadian , so it gets round the draconian "axing after three episodes" American policy.
It has the quite scarily talented Ronald D Moore (from BSG) as executive, so it has some strong backroom support.
It bravely decided to develop completely on its own - without the pilot needing approval.

And amazingly , ITS BEEN RENEWED FOR A SECOND SEASON!!!

Yeah, Helix - against all the odds , a punchy little Syfy conspiracy show. Proof that you dont need star power through a season - just the right level of curiousity to get you through. Its not going to win any awards for originality (nasty virus spreading from the Arctic ice base) , but its well acted without the characters being typecast ( great support from Jeri Ryan) , tense where it needs to be , gory without being slock etc etc etc.

im about 2/3rds through at the mo, so look forward to where the end of year takes us and on into Series 2.
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Helix - DVD

This was recently screened on Channel Five, they pulled it halfway through and, perhaps inspired by viewer complaints, it resumed on Channel 5* after a lengthy mid season break. I have recently finished watching the series on catch up.

The series was recently commissioned for a follow up which will premiere in Winter 2015.

The scenario is fairly familiar, an arctic setting, a mysterious outbreak that turns people in nifty running zombies that spew out black gunk. However it is all done with a jaunty attitude and plenty of inventive twists. Although it never quite lives up the promise of the best bits, it never gets that dull. Worth pointing out that this is horror light, unless you are very young, you are unlikely to be unduly scared by this. There are plenty of plot holes, ropey CGI and inherent daftness, but that is not what you watch these things for.

I stuck with this throughout, not a given for new series, and if you are into daft science fiction running zombies in a arctic setting then this is entertaining good natured stuff.
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on 19 September 2015
I liked the first two episodes, it had a promising plot with an interesting isolated location all nicely heading towards some claustrophobic chills. A kind of bacteriological Island of Doctor Moroe. Then it just turned into a mess. The characters dull and interchangeable and popped out of the bargain bin at central casting. The plot meandering and propped up by poor characters introduced for convenience but with no real substance. I persevered as best I could but never made it to the end of the series. A sorry mess.
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on 26 August 2014
Very good series. I really enjoyed watching the first season and I am waiting for the second one to come. I would recommend it to anybody that likesScience fiction.
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