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Atlantis: Trailer Breakdown

By Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.

As the days countdown to the BBC’s new fantasy saga Atlantis, I’ve decided to take an in-depth look into the recently released trailer.

First of all, if you missed it, watch the trailer below:

Please note: I’ve excluded a handful of scenes from this breakdown but nothing particularly major or relevant.


We begin with another excellent use of the ‘Original British Drama’ byword, this time it’s printed onto the floor of a dusty courtyard as our lead walks over it.


And the figure seen in the first shot reappears, showing up behind a mysterious hooded person. Instantly we can tell this is going to be our soothsayer or prophet for the series. Sounds a bit Merlin-y, doesn’t it?


Oh, why look. It’s a topless bloke striding along self-consciously. Did you know they’re in Greece?


“You were drawn here by forces so powerful that they stretched between the worlds.”

Our hooded figure is finally revealed to be a prophet, wouldn’t you know it? And it’s Juliet Stevenson! Tick ‘big star number one’ off your list.


I wonder what’s scaring this fellow? From later pictures he, and those behind him, appear to be in a cavern of some sort (still sounds a bit Merlin-y).


It’s most definitely a cavern. I’m surprised John Hurt hasn’t cropped up yet.


Here’s one of our couple-of-the-series but they don’t look particularly in love.


Atlantis has been forever teased as being a big-budget and expensive series but I must admit that I’ve not been completely bowled over by the special effects.


Here’s the scared-looking man again, this time even more frightened. And he’s still in the cave; perhaps he’s awoken John Hurt.


Our hero, Jason does a very elaborate move as he jumps to avoid a flurry of arrows. There’s something special about this bloke, isn’t there?


Again with the clunky CGI, this shot is very unconvincing. Also this Jason fellow must be magic because nobody can jump like that and survive.


I’m fairly sure that this shot was to show all the naysayers that they didn’t film it entirely in Wales.

“It’s okay, we promise, it wasn’t all shot in a basement. Look, look!”


The scared-looking man establishes that his name is Pythagoras. Considering the lead is called Jason I was rather expecting something like Dave or John.


And I have grave news about Pythagoras. He’s the comic relief and apparently showing him clutching his nose after being hit by a branch is meant to be funny. Atlantis is trying too hard.


Ah, the habitual running-through-trees shot. Be it Doctor Who or any other programme, there’s always one of these and they’re always gratifying.


“Whoever heard of a hero called Jason? Now Hercules, that’s a name to father a legend.”

Finally, somebody concedes that Jason isn’t a very mythological name although from my own knowledge and a quick Google search I can see that Jason was the son of the king of Iolcos and quested – along with the Argonauts – to find the Golden Fleece. Could Jason of Atlantis search out the fabled fleece?


And now he’s taken out some helpless guard. Jason’s rather a violent person, isn’t he?


Ah-ha, some royalty. But where’s Anthony Head? Now I’m just nothing short of disappointed.


“Have you no respect for the Gods?”

It’s Greek Anthony Head (Alexander Siddig) and he’s not happy with somebody.


It appears the portly man that was raving about Hercules has been in a spot of bother. And Pythagoras too. I’d have thought better of Pythagoras.


It appears that the trial scene leads to someone’s head on the chopping block. But who, I wonder?


I have a funny feeling that this is hinting that a second series has already been commissioned.


“He is of no consequence” this radiant woman whispers, referring to the hero Jason. I have a feeling her words may return to bite her come the finale.


And here’s another scene showcasing Jason’s ability to menacingly yield a weapon. I hope Jack Donnelly’s not like that in reality.


It is the cave from Merlin! I’ll bet anyone that they tried to lure in John Hurt with a hefty fee but I fear he was off being ‘the Doctor’.


From the looks of this shot, this chap’s still in the cave but what’s he seen?


And we’re back in the soothsayer’s chamber although her official title is the Oracle. She’s still speaking divinatory gobbledygook.


This one’s tricky to analyse. Could this be some ceremony of sorts?


Although it’s a wish based on a stereotype, I’d really like there to be a coliseum in Atlantis and this shot looks rather promising.


What has upset this woman so much? From earlier pictures it appears that she is a queen and wife of Greek Anthony Head.


Here are a couple of terrifying big cats, adding to my hope for a gladiatorial fight.


Who is this bearded fellow and what does he have against this other man?


I do like a folkloric creature and this two-headed Komodo dragon is just up my street. But where did it come from?


Why, it’s a young Neil Gaiman? What is the author so terrified of?

Oh, and tick ‘big star number two’ off your list as well.


It’s only a blooming Minotaur! And in John Hurt’s cave. My, he won’t be happy.

But how will young Neil escape this horned menace?


By throwing his flambeau into the camera, of course.


And finally the title: Atlantis. It’s rather misleading, isn’t it? When I first heard about the series I expected something set under the sea rather like the Disney animation. But no, we’ve got something in ancient Greece and despite my criticisms of the series; I’m looking forward to it. Yes it’s essentially just Spartacus with a lot of inspiration from Merlin but it might be good. We have to try these things and see what they’re like.

Besides it’s got Neil Gaiman in it so it should be fantastic.


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  • TARDIS44

    Glad to see the writer of this wasn’t biased or a lover of Merlin at all…

    • PK-S.

      I saw one episode of Merlin. I’m no fan of it, and this isn’t an opinion piece.

      • TARDIS44

        Not a fan of Merlin??! You should get into it, it’s awesome

  • The Oncoming Dougal

    I really don’t have high hopes for this, but I really enjoyed the snarky trailer breakdown, more please!

  • Fadedeathdave

    I think the ‘wife of Greek Anthony Head’ actually played a monster who married Anthony Head in a two-parter of Merlin ages ago, not certain though

  • SuperCalebxy

    “I’m fairly sure that this shot was to show all the naysayers that they didn’t film it entirely in Wales.”

    To be fair, Wales has an exceptional amount of castles and is very mountainous (particularly North Wales).

  • Knowles2

    Seem more about Greece than Atlantis.

  • Nimueh123

    OMG I giggled through the whole of this brilliant commentary. It is sooooo true.

    ‘Also this Jason fellow must be magic because nobody can jump like that and survive.’ He probably IS magic but he has to keep it a secret.
    I am sure the cave set must be the same as Merlin’s – it is virtually identical. As are so many of the ideas they seem to be using. (Naked torsos being one!)

  • Steve Willis

    I didn’t know the Greeks had coliseums where people murdered each other/beasts.

    I thought the Greeks had entertainment, which the Romans then borrowed and corrupted it by adding blood.

    The Greeks had boxing. But the Romans thought the best way to improve the sport was to give each combatant knuckle-dusters.
    I agree with the Romans.

    Maybe the shirtless hinting-coliseum shot is actually before a Greek drama performance. A drama with a topless man in it.

  • The Gentleman

    I to have high hopes, I do like Merlin and this looks to be a fitting successor.


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