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The Ark - Everyone Wanted to Be on This Ship - Review

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The Ark doesn't add anything overtly new to the sci-fi genre but over the course of the first episode, it proves - at least to me - that getting a new spin doesn't matter. What the Ark does is deliver a solid setting and story that does exactly what it sets out to do. It's reliable storytelling and I'm hopeful for big things in its future especially as it's co-created by Dean Devlin who was also involved in the making of the popular Leverage franchise.

The main story of The Ark is set around a spacecraft that suddenly meets a disaster that kills all the highest ranking members on board, leaving the rest of the crew to scramble to fix every problem that arises so they can survive. And there are a lot of problems.

In fact one of the best things the pilot does is throw problem after problem at the characters like some kind of cataclysmic, life-or-death game of dominoes. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong and there's a lot of doubt and panic, sowing the seeds of tension into the foundation of the character dynamics early on. It also serves to mean that some characters who could have been annoying - and almost were like Alicia and Angus - get their moment to shine, making them more tolerable and needed parts of the crew. 

By the end of the episode, the core cast have dealt with the loss of their entire command, a worrying food shortage, a sudden threat to their oxygen levels and some fraught leadership tension. And the episode still manages to top things off with a murder, hopefully setting the stage for a show that has some real stakes when it comes to survival. We've already had one loss in the crew from the dropping oxygen levels and I hope it's a trend that keeps up instead of everyone always miraculously pulling through. 

It's also feels pretty obvious to me that the cause of the ship's damage is from a saboteur, if only because it was the only option they didn't consider when they were reasoning their way through fuel explosions and stray asteroids. 

The seeds of that particular mystery are sown by our unfortunate murder victim who hinted to Garnet that he isn't the only one with secrets or the only one who lied and deceived their way on board (and she apparently has a secret herself regarding the mysterious Denise). He also raised an interesting point earlier in the episode, questioning why the late Commander Ingram wasn't put into cryo in the same bay as the rest of command. 

SyFy shows can often be a little hit or miss when it comes to execution of storytelling and atmosphere but so far it's a promising start. I for one can't wait for more clues on the identity of the murderer/saboteur and judging from the preview shown at the end of the episode, it's only going to get twistier. 

What did you think of the pilot episode? Hopeful for its future? Sound off in the comments below!

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