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Atlantis: 105 “White Lies” Spoiler-Free Review

atlantis 105 (4)

Reviewed by Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.

Atlantis, oh how I want you to be good. Imagine if it really was half decent: a Saturday teatime programme that’s actually not that bad and not a case of style over substance, oh that’d be great. Unfortunately this isn’t the case as Atlantis is creeping sadly downslope and although White Lies is better than last week’s dire outing, it’s still not fantastic.

Jason, Pythagoras and Hercules, or ‘the gang’ aren’t the centre of attention here and so the spotlight is shifted to the royal palace where Ariadne discovers some startling home truths. Mark Addy, Robert Emms and Jack Donnelly are on usual form, with Addy providing rotten laughs for the kiddies. Donnelly may haven taken his shirt off (again) but I rather glaze over at those bits. Hercules has acquired a new pet and like with Oedipus last week he bonds with it. It’s just Atlantis shoehorning in more lamentable gags.

Sarah Parish brings some proper meat to the particularly lacking feast as the delightfully wicked Queen Pasiphaë. Pasiphaë faces off to her husband, her stepdaughter, the Oracle, any Atlantean citizen that she comes to blows with. Parish revels as the nasty monarch and at times it appears she’s the only good thing about the show.

Last week I said, “I’m really hope that Atlantis succeeds in becoming primetime viewing for families but with each week it gets more and more unlikely.” With particular emphasis on that last part, these are still my feelings. White Lies tries desperately to be more adult and mature (there are a few darker moments: torture, etc.) but the show’s feet are firmly rooted in the kiddie market. Its first few episodes set it out as a television show for children and it’s going to be hard for it to break away from that.

The plot of White Lies is a bit more interesting than usual. A messenger sneaks into the city and conveys news of Ariadne’s brother to the princess herself. Apparently he’s alive and kicking in the hills after being accused of treason. (Again we have another character previously unmentioned that has made an appearance). Ariadne, rather than doing the dirty business herself, recruits our lead trio to set off and meet this mysterious brother.

Jason and Ariadne’s lingering looks finally blossom into something as Jason leaps to defend her at a number of points. Their romance is still incredibly clumsy but at least it’s advanced from sultry stares. Jack Donnelly and Aiysha Hart should try and give the impression of two deeply in love but they both seem more like they’ve guns to their heads.

Verdict: 6/10

White Lies is a step up from last week but no real improvement and Atlantis still remains a totally ‘meh’ series. That’s the only word that encapsulates my feelings for it. Meh. Really Atlantis, you could be so much better.

Note from the writer:

Hello world,

I’ve got an announcement to make. I’m no longer going to be doing spoiler-free reviews of Atlantis for obvious reasons. I’m really not enjoying the series and what I can gather from the Internet, the public aren’t either. I hope you understand my reasoning and if you’re a fan of Atlantis I hope you enjoy the rest of the series.

Thanks,

Patrick.

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  • http://www.wynneinwriting.wordpress.com/ GoodYear92

    It’s a real shame that you won’t be doing these reviews anymore. I haven’t watched a single episode of Atlantis (it looked like utter rubbish to me right from the first advertisements, if I’m honest), but I’ve been really enjoying reading your reviews, regardless (and it’s not just because they’ve affirmed a lot of my own presuppositions of the series, either). In fact, they’ve been some of my absolute favourites on the site at the moment. Have you got any plans to review anything else in the near future?

    • PK-S.

      Thanks for your kind words, James. I’ve found my Atlantis reviews to be substandard and I wasn’t really enjoying writing or watching it. What’s the point of continuing then, I thought.

      I’m reviewing The Escape Artist, which begins next week (I’ve seen episode one, it’s fantastic) and that’ll continue for three weeks. And on Monday I’m covering the second series of Wizards vs Aliens.

      • Joel Mole

        I didn’t think your reviews were sub-standard at all but I look forward to your future reviews.

  • TARDIS44

    I agree about Atlantis, it’s not what Merlin was. I have yet to be grabbed by it with its weak storylines and barely-formed characters and, unless it’s finale proves to be something, I will unlikely continue to a second series

    • Nimueh123

      So agree!
      I am waiting with abated breath for episode 5 in the hope for improvement.

      • TARDIS44

        Series 2 has just been commissioned. That could be interesting…

        • Nimueh123

          Seriously. They must confident enough about it. Mind the viewing figures have been alright. Not great, but good enough, it seems.

    • Joel Mole

      I wish people should stop comparing this to merlin. Yes, this isn’t merlin. Just appreciate what we got. Ok Atlantis isn’t perfect but it isn’t bad either. Just watch the finale and if it sucks don’t watch it (I’m glad that’s what you’re doing)

      • TARDIS44

        To be fair, the BBC did launch with labels “replacement for Merlin” and “like Merlin…”

  • Joel Mole

    It’s a shame you’re not doing these anymore. m actually one of the few who like Atlantis (having barely watched Merlin, That’s quite an achievement). The plots are interesting enough and it is early on in the first season. If the finale is a let-down, I probably won’t continue, but for now, I’ll continue watching. The one thing that annoys me on those Atlantis haters is that they compare it to Merlin. Merlin (from what I watched) isn’t a bad show and neither is Atlantis. Ok there are a few problems (CHARACTER EXPANSION PEOPLE!!!!!!) but overall it’s a decent flick. I do hope someone else is willing to write these spoiler-free reviews as I have enjoyed them (who knows… next week could be fantastic).

  • The Watchful Guardian

    I’m sad that you’re not going to be doing these any more. Still if it was becoming a chore, probably the best decision.

  • ShalkaDoctor

    Isn’t the point of being a reviewer that you experience what you consider good and the bad? Surely that gives you the best experience as a writer?

    For the first few episodes you gave this show quite a lot of praise. You even said you felt some people were being harsh and it just was a fun Saturday night show (paraphrased). So what has changed so drastically? You got one or two what you consider bad episodes and you throw in the towel? Just seems a bit odd to me. Or were you lying early on?

  • Nimueh123

    What a shame! You really must have suffered! But I agree, I think there is no point if your heart is not in the show (even a little bit :))
    Will miss reading it. Enjoyed all your writing!

  • Magiciarty

    It’s a shame that you won’t be reviewing Atlantis anymore, Pat; I always looked forward to these reviews. Hopefully you’ll have some more in the bag soon. Everything I watch on TV seems to be either ending or just becoming really bad.

  • Steve Willis

    I keep watching Atlantis with optimism that it’ll get really good.

    I feel like the gang are presented in a way that we are meant to *really like them*.
    But I don’t. I really like Pythagoras and Medusa (because she’s the only regular female none-royal character, so I cannot compare). Hercules is a sexist biggot with a warm nature, and I find his relationship with Medusa weird. Not because of the age gap. But because of Hercules’ misogyny… I don’t like the comedic tone in which the show treats this. Yes it’s a ‘laddy’ thing to do in real life to mock male-slinkers mates… but it’s not a positive quality. Although misogyny was more common in older times. Jason is the main character and I never like Main Characters, in less they’re Arthur Dent.

    I like the Queen. The princess is fairly flat. She has the ‘disobedient teenage/young daughter role with good intentions’, but I feel like she needs more. It could be due to where the character is in society. She is forced to be very ridged.

    I just often expect characters to be more interesting by this time. This isn’t an American series where character development is strung out so very long. Usually with British series you’d expect developments to happen sooner. However in Merlin, they never really progressed past the Arthur-Merlin mockfulledbromance.

  • 4th Jack

    If you want to become a reviewer you have to be able to watch things you don’t like, or it’ll be a fake, bias review. I think Atlantis is excellent and a breath of fresh air from Merlin. Yes, Merlin was a great show, but if it had continued another series then the viewer ratings would have dropped dramatically due to tedious plots and locations. You’re allowed your own opinion of Atlantis, of course. But you shouldn’t give up on it because ‘you aren’t enjoying it’. If I were you I would continue to review Atlantis. But that’s just my opinion…

  • PӨᄃΚΥDӨП

    Well, I may be in the minority, but I’m loving Atlantis! I say this every week, but I love greek mythology, and I think Atlantis is exactly what Merlin was to Arthurian legend. It might be taking some time to get going, but I’m honestly enjoying it. I want to see where it goes. Also, the humour has sort of become a bit of a guilty pleasure for me (aside from the baby scenes, those were just bad).

    It’s a shame you’re not doing these any more, I really did enjoy reading them, but it’s understandable that a ‘meh’ program would be pretty boring to review.

  • 4th Jack

    The BBC doesn’t JUST focus on Doctor Who. It’s more diverse. At the moment Doctor Who is doing fine on it’s own. Make a spin off and they’ll cut the budget a lot on Who. Merlin was a great show. But, if it had continued another series then the viewing figures would have dropped. The plots were sometimes becoming tedious, and the locations were always the same. It kept building up stories that were too predictable in the end. We knew that Merlin would win every time. There wasn’t much more for Merlin to go on. The magic had been revealed and the main villain killed. If they said, ‘oh no, Merlin! There is a greater evil force, greater than Morgana herself’ and then said to be continued in Series 6, so many would stop watching. It would be boring. It was a fantastic show, but just leave it at that. But, I do also believe it ended rather badly and think that the writers should write a novel/ storybook explaining what happened after the final ep, and clearing up some plot holes.
    Give Atlantis a chance. You say that Merlin wasn’t very good at the beginning, but Atlantis has also only just began. If it is bad in two or three series then I may agree with you. But at the moment Atlantis needs to be nurtured and find it’s legs in television….

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