Well haven’t done one of these
in a while ever. I recall reviewing a book once upon a time, something I thought I’d do more of, but never a film, let alone a tv-series. Not just a review, either, but a magic trick kiddies — after five episodes, I’ve got this sussed, so I am going to predict what happens in the remainder of the series!
A few peremptory remarks to begin with. I am no newbie to the lies Americans tell about themselves (ie. I read the news), more pointedly, their self-mythologizing. It’s always the US against the world and ***surprise!!*** guess who always comes out on top. So it shall be in this series. But maybe it’s understandable, coming at a time when Americans are losing confidence, that they feel the need to remind themselves they’re still the global good guys. How prescient, then, in this new Cool-War climate of Russian sabre-rattling, that the enemy of choice in this tv-series (yet to be aired on Australian television, to my awareness) are the dastardly Russians. Somebody is accurately reading the compass of US anxiety, and it has swung north to the Моско́вский Кремль.
Being American, the moral presupposition is that God is on their side. The righteousness of everything Americans do is assumed, and even reinforced by the “fallen” Master Petty Officer, who confers messianic status upon their mission and their leader, Tom (lets call him Moses for fun) Chandler. I predict, that our shaved Moses, whose rugged leading-man looks and macho-yet-sensitive-conflicted-family-man-of-action surprised me not at all, will sport a full-faced beard at least once in this series. just to make the biblical parallels obvious. It happened to Tom Mason in Falling Skies, but of course they’re channelling Abraham Lincoln in that series, so that makes it totally different, right?
But let’s cut to the chase: after watching five episodes of Season One, I am utterly confident that most if not all of the following will occur:
The captain will track down his wife and kids. Tragically, his wife will die in his arms, but happily his kids will survive to become an annoying yet spunky complement to ship’s crew, and a vaguely awkward obstacle to his growing and undeniable love-interest in the person of the pouty Dr Scott, the English paleo-something virus-hunter. If they weren’t meant to be partnered up later on, we would never have been subjected to the weary old “they clashed terribly when they first met” trope. More on the saucy doctor later. We will learn to hate thee captains kids, trust me, unless director Michael Bay feeds them to sharks, in which case I will send him cash-money and a congratulatory haiku for surprising me.
While women will die (that’s how they make US tv-series ‘edgy’ these days) no women will die violently on-screen. If a woman dies, 90% likely she will be a Caucasian woman, probably a redhead. She definitely won’t be African-American (because America is sorry) UNLESS she goes rogue — all renegade females, irrespective of colour and/or cuteness, must die. They won’t kill off any of the non-rogue cute ones because they will need them to repopulate the Earth, right? In light of all this, the vitally important (red headed) Chief Engineer, who has already taken shrapnel to the leg, should be very nervous, whereas the doe-eyed brunette who pushes buttons in “comms” apparently, can kick back and enjoy a cigar.
Being post-apocalyptic, hundreds of millions of children will die off-screen, but not one child will die violently on-screen — this is where realistic writing just flaps out the window on big, fat, cowardly albatross wings. Without the presumption of a world filled with rotting children, this is just a farcical remake of Gilligan’s Island with guns and a pouty Englishwoman with too much plastic injected into her body. If we want a tear-jerking yet thoroughly sanitized moment, we will have a cast member discover the strangely un-rotted bodies of his/her children, just to remind us how big-hearted US Navy personnel really are. Keepin’ it real people.
Despite the terrible global pandemic, during which you would think the moral/ethical etch-a-sketch would erase fairly rapidly, all the comforting universal constants that made American society great will prevail: good will always triumph over evil, and love conquers all. This means that the undisciplined cry-baby teenage leader of the Special Forces will unite with his doe-eyed “comms” girl, who will of course turn out to be a death-dealing bad-ass warrior ninja babe (hey, why does that sound familiar…?). Who can hear a 12-gun wedding salute? I am hoping for a random ricochet that gives “comms” girl the third smoking eye she so richly deserves. There was that one scene, where a black man sat next to her on a rock, igniting the laser-eyed wrath of Special Forces Boy, but we’ll have no truck with any interracial nonsense on this show, thank you very much.
The captain, for all his steely discipline, will lose the ship and retake it with much ninja action and expenditure of their luckily-infinite supply of very killy bullets; on which point, the superior military training and marksmanship of US personnel will account for at least twenty dead, faceless goons for every single loss of their own. Each US death will be accompanied by much weeping and sombre musical overtures. Attempts will be made to recover every body, and burials at sea will be caught by a snappy aerial pan around the poop-deck showing ranks of sombre warriors at attention, flags being folded, the usual hokey shit.
Some form of a US new world government will arise from the ashes, phoenix-style, because (let’s face it) that’s what always happens, and Americans get anxious unless there’s somebody American in charge. I’d like to think it could be a woman, but I am guessing not. In 2015, looking forward, it’s probably going to be a black guy with military credentials, who will confer honours upon Moses and his crew for some daring “action” and set them perplexingly irrelevant missions which, in time, will reveal a Russian mole within the fledgling government! OMG! Damn those pernicious Russkies are everywhere!
This next one’s a no-brainer, and so obvious that I am embarrassed to “predict” it at all — the super-killy virus will get aboard the ship. Qualifier: it’s already on the ship, of course, but under strict quarantine. How it gets out is the drama. I can’t imagine the pouty English paleo-virus-hunter dropping a test-tube and letting it loose, so it will have to be as a result of Russian subterfuge or, more boringly, an accident. I guess one of the crew could become infected on land and bring it home, but that is unimaginative writing. Of course, it will be the pouty-one who really saves the day. After all, she has all the motivation a girl could ever want: imagine some dratted virus killing off the world’s supply of plastic surgeons? Who would administer her juvederm? It’s unthinkable.
At least one main character will gets shot/stabbed/harpooned by a narwhal on the last episode of the season, because we can’t have a cliffhanger ending without (threatening) to send one of our beloved down to Davey Jones’ locker. I am reckoning, for maximum impact, it can only be Moses himself or the pouty English doctor. Which leads rather nicely to my next prediction:
Rona Mhitra will take her top off. Perhaps after she gets gored in that freak narwhal-incident I just predicted. And I am talking a decent amount of boobage here, but not so much that your average prurient American prime-time viewer would go “Oh my god!” clutch their heart and reach for their Bible. Some saucy cleavage, at the absolute bare-minimum. We may also have to suffer through an inordinately exploitative shot of her standing (panting) in an wet singlet top or t-shirt (probably grey). “Oh my god you’re good! The modern Nostradamus!” That’s what you’ll all be saying when it happens, but trust me, Rona Mhitra always takes her top off. She likes her bewbs.
There are no ugly Americans on the ship — it must be like part of US Naval recruitment policy or something. If there are any ugly people, they will work in the galley or man the bilge-pumps or something, or they will be the faceless (because who would want to ugh see them) bodies hurling through the air when the Russian torpedoes strike home. Hell, if we have to repopulate the Earth let’s get it right from the start! No fuglies! We already know from Mad Max: Fury Road how important supermodels will be in the post-apocalyptic world.
The guy they picked up at Guantanamo Bay — “Tex” — is a badboy because he has a beard and long hair. Obviously. He is the antithesis to the captain, but dammit he gets the ladies! In fact, at some point he will become the only serious contender to Moses’ growing affection for the pouty English doctor, leading to much angst and manly jaw-clenching between the pair. We will all be on the edges of our seats wondering which way it will go, does she succumb to the wolfman’s virile animal charms, or the allure of the subdued yet intensely hunky captain? Can she have “that” conversation with his hostile yet ultimately accepting (“Its okay, our new Mommy is soooo much hotter!”) kids? I will be going to the refrigerator when they run this scene, let me know how it goes.
All spies must (eventually) die. Goes without saying. We do not reward treachery on US television.
The captain will continue to make tactically unsound decisions on the basis of “it’s the right thing to do by God!” and include himself on every derring-do mission. In the last episode, both he, the irreplaceable doctor, and his XO went on the same fraught mission! I laughed so hard at the ridiculousness, that a little bit of wee came out. But if the kill-ratio is running 20:1 in his favour, I guess he can afford to play Rambo whenever you like. He’ll cop a bullet here and there, but Moses will pull through and guide his motley crew of
Israelites civilians and Navy personnel through to the promised land.
So there you go. Has to be said — the parallels, not merely biblical, but with preceding popular series like Battlestar Galactica, must mean this narrative in particular resonates somewhere in the American psyche, because the momma-bird keeps on regurgitating the same stinking fish for its young to consume, day in, day out, with no complaints. Me, I think it’s time for a change. Where is the genuine moral ambiguity. At least British actors have crooked teeth! Nope, it’s got to be as sickly sweet as momma’s home-baked apple pie.
Anyway: fourteen predictions. I also read palms for a fee. Let’s see how I go.