After almost a year-long wait, postponed slightly by Doctor Who's eight series, Atlantis is back on television with a regenerated second series. From the moment "go" there's a genuine change in its appearance and style and it's nice that the series starts with a bang and also links nicely with the finale last series.
The opening half was far stronger than its second half, mainly because there was a lot of mystery around the story and some intriguing development, such as hidden betrayal and also some interesting additions, such as dragon-like creature flying through the night. The second half was ruined by repetitious fight scenes and an anti-climactic cliffhanger, which left me open-mouthed, and not in a good way. Nevertheless, there's a definite step up from last year's premiere which seems to have a mix of its original appearance and some new flavour to give it a bit more intrigue.
Standout performances, as usual, were from Sarah Parish and Mark Addy, who both contrast each other in characters. Jack Donnelly has also had a slight development, this time he brings some maturity and experience to Jason, which he probably learnt from his first series. Unfortunately, most of the cast struggled to step forward, probably because of some weak screenplay from head writer, Howard Overman. Robert Pugh, however, who played the vicious and cunning Sarpedon was sufficiently subtle to allow an eerie appearance and stature - and the welshman certainly proved his worthiness as an actor in famous shows such as Game of Thrones and Doctor Who!
On that note, the continuing downfall for the series is its lack of originality and ability to take a step out of the box. It continues its cliched extravaganza, with different characters blurting out obvious observations such "don't look down", "embrace your destiny", and many others which I haven't dared to remember. If the show is to progress successfully, the writers need to understand that if they want to attract a broader demographics, the script is a paramount addition to the series.
Otherwise, the concepts are all there, with some great visuals and some sparkling new ideas. The idea around the Palladium is quite mythical, and to be absolutely honest, I like it. Some scenes may look similar to Atlantis' predecessor, Merlin, but we can forgive them for that - Wales only has so many caves. Also, the closing army does resemble Lord of the Rings in some aspects (not budget, obviously), but once again, it's family fun, so we don't care.
Overall, the premiere to the second series shows great potential, and I just hope the second episode can build on the success. It's also important that the minor characters get sufficient development in order for the audience to care enough about them. A step in the right direction for Atlantis, though, despite its flaws, and I'm pleased that it managed to create a second series!