Helix Review: Syfy’s latest series is a edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that will freak you out.
If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been looking forward to Helix and have even done an interview with the show’s executive producer Steve Maeda and series star Kyra Zagorsky. When this show was originally announced, I knew I would tune in, and boy, am I glad I did. Because Helix is freakin’ awesome. You want a thriller that will leave you breathless at the end of the road? Watch Helix. Just trust me. Do it now. In fact, I’m keeping this review spoiler-free for those of you still on the fence.
To start with, Helix is a show about a contagious outbreak that starts in a small lab in the Arctic. Think The Thing meets Contagion. This disease is, obviously, of mysterious origin, but it’s also deadly. For those it doesn’t kill, well… they become something else. What that is, though, is anyone’s guess. The Arctic setting leads to the isolation of the show, although many of the characters seem somehow entangled with each other. In that way, it almost feels like Lost, but with more familiarity.
These characters are interesting, thanks to some great intelligent writing and some fantastic acting performances. Billy Campbell was made for the role of Dr. Alan Farragut, the head of the CDC team that comes to investigate the outbreak. I loved Kyra Zagorsky as his ex-wife and an equally intelligent and interesting character, Dr. Julia Walker. Add the rather green Dr. Sarah Jordan (Jordan Hayes) to the mix, and you’ve got the world’s smartest love triangle. The other characters are equally as well-played and well-written with a great performance turned in by Catherine Lemieux, easily playing my favorite character on the show, Dr. Doreen Boyle.
Add to that a great sense of macabre humor, especially in the choice of music playing in the background. When the first scene opens with Burt Bacharach, you know you’re in for a rather weird and freaky time. Similar music choices punctuate other scenes, particularly brutal ones, and the irony of the upbeat music versus the gore splattered on the wall makes things perfectly surreal.
Where this series truly excels, though, is the gore factor. You want to see some freaky stuff? It’s right there… at the beginning of the pilot episode, even before the opening credits start. There is enough blood and guts here for an Evil Dead movie and it brings a level of scary to the outbreak situation that you wouldn’t expect. In fact, if you are easily squeamish, be prepared to close your eyes through many scenes. Me? I loved it. You don’t get to see this sort of stuff on TV often, so let’s revel in it, shall we?
To sum up, Helix is the full package of science fiction meets horror meets thriller meets mystery meets adventure, etc., etc., etc. And it’s all tied up in a very smart, very gory and shocking package.