Two weeks ago, a new action fantasy TV show called “Dominion” came to Syfy in the UK (it already finished in America, with season 2 on the way). It’s central premise is that at some point in the future, mankind ends up fighting angels, who it turns out are their greatest enemy. This sounds like it makes absolutely no sense, but trust me. It gets much worse than that.
The story of Dominion goes something like this. Twenty-five years before the events of the story, God apparently disappeared, and the archangel Gabriel blamed mankind for it, so he decided to lead the other angels to exterminate mankind. That alone sounded like a good concept, but here’s where things got side-tracked. According to the story, very few “higher angels” fought in the war, while the “lower angels” joined Gabriel and descended to Earth and started possessing people. What? Some time after that, the archangel Michael rebels against Gabriel, and fights in the name of mankind. The story sees mankind surviving in fortified cities such as Vega (obviously a rebuilt Las Vegas) until a chosen saviour emerges to end the war for good.
I know that only three episodes have aired in the UK so far, but they’re all quite similar and unimpressive, so I’ll just talk about the show itself. In my opinion, the show had a decent concept, but it was executed rather poorly, and I have a few reasons why this is the case.
First, it shares its premise with the movie Legion, which isn’t bad by itself, except the guy who made Legion and directed the pilot episode of Dominion is Scott Stewart, who I know for making the unequivocally crappy comic book flick Priest, which I named and shamed as one the worst comic book films ever made. If that’s not a bad sign, then I don’t know what is.
Second, for a show that is supposed to be about angelic warfare, there’s an awful lot of time spent on exposition, and not a lot of it is really necessary. Also, Vega’s political system seems to act as though American democracy didn’t even exist to begin with, but then again, what about American values could realistically survive in a post-apocalyptic scenario? I mainly mentioned this because the terrible arranged marriage story arc, which is utter nonsense.
Third, let’s talk about the angels, because this is one of the major issues in the show. The lower angels in Dominion are nothing like angels at all. In fact, when they’re found in possessed humans, they act like stereotypical demons. This completely defeats the point of the show being about angelic warfare, and serves only to subvert the traditional Western view of angels, which has already been subverted many times before, and in better ways. My only conclusion is that the writers assume that we’re all idiots.
Finally, I’d like to talk about Gabriel, his army, and the so-called Black Acolytes. The Black Acolytes are essentially a cliché evil cult that worships the show’s version of Gabriel, who is completely unlike the Biblical Gabriel in every aspect. Where was the passage in the Bible where Gabriel killed one of his own? I doubt you’ll find it, because it doesn’t happen in the Bible. I also find the existence of the Black Acolytes in the story to be painfully unnecessary. The plot didn’t need more layers of complexity.The acting in Dominion isn’t good enough to keep me interested in the rest of the overly complex plot that may as well have been written by a hack director.
In conclusion, Dominion is a disappointment, but it’s more than that. It’s a confused mess written by people who, in all fairness, tried as hard as possible to make something good, but didn’t really know what they wanted. To enjoy it would require you to not so much suspend your disbelief, but to have it hanged, drawn and quartered.