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Post-apocalypse in play -- yet again -- in Syfy's Dominion


The archangel Michael wings it over humanity in Dominion. Syfy photo

Premiering: Thursday, July 19th at 8 p.m. (central) on Syfy
Starring: Tom Wisdom, Christopher Egan, Roxanne McKee, Anthony Stewart Head, Alan Dale, Carl Beukes, Luke Allen-Gale, Shivani Ghai
Produced by: Vaun Wilmott, Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer, Scott Stewart, Michael Litvak, David Lancaster

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Whether on big-screen or small-, the future is rarely a nice place to visit and you definitely wouldn’t want to live there.

Now it’s gotten so bad that even the Creator has gone MIA. Syfy’s new Dominion, set in 25 A.E. (After Extinction), sets its table with four screens worth of printed exposition, beginning with, “Twenty-Five years ago, God disappeared.”

Everyone needs to get away once in a while, but that’s a pretty long vacay. In His absence, “the archangel Gabriel, who despised man, led an army of lower angels in a war of possession against mankind.”

Furthermore, “acting alone, the archangel Michael sided with man against Garbriel, helping humanity fight back against the angels.

But wait, there’s more: “Out of the ashes of war, the survivors gathered into fortified cities. Vega is the greatest amongst them.”

Vega used to be Las Vegas. And amazingly, the Bellagio fountains still work amid all the battered slot machines and crap tables. It is not known yet, however, whether Wayne Newton’s facelift survived.

Dominion, which launches with a 90-minute episode following Thursday’s Season 2 return of Defiance, is a big jumble of good, bad and yet to be determined. Complex tattoos are also integral to the plot, making something of a comeback after figuring prominently in the first season of Fox’s Prison Break. Syfy additionally joins advertiser-supported cable’s bare backside brigade after TNT dipped its beak earlier this month with Murder in the First. FX may have to counter at some point with new vistas in exposed body parts.

Two of prime-time’s old reliables, Anthony Steward Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Alan Dale (Lost), vie for control of Dominion’s walled-off, heavily secured Vega. The uniformed General Riesen (Dale) is nominally still in charge, but power-seeking David Whele (Head) yearns to push him out.

“We’ve done our jobs too well” in protecting Vega from the outside, Whele carps. “Vega has grown complacent. And lazy.”

And also dependent on the super powers of archangel Michael (Tom Wisdom), who in the early going administers three lashes to young soldier Alex Lannon (Matt Damon resembler Christopher Egan) after he sneaks out and ends up being hotly pursued by some of Gabriel’s hissing henchmen and women.

“You know the rules and why they exist,” says Michael, playing God. “Everything in Vega has a purpose. It’s how the city survives.”

Alex also has a secret amorous relationship with General Riesen’s beautiful daughter, Claire (Roxanne McKee), who’s supposed to be marrying Whele’s callow son, William (Luke Allen-Gale). William talks a lot like Vincent Kartheiser’s Pete Campbell character from Mad Men. He also has the weasel gene.

The sinister Gabriel (Carl Beukes) is only fleetingly seen in Thursday’s premiere episode. But he now has a whole new line of limited edition angels who can appear to be humans. The better to sneak into fortresses such as Vega for the purpose of gaining intel and maybe even killing a little on the side.

During the course of Dominion’s launch, viewers also will meet Alex’s estranged father, Jeep (Langley Kirkwood), and learn the identity of “The Chosen One,” on whose shoulders rests the fate of the human race. That is unless God returns to take remedial action after perhaps first bellowing, “What the hell’s been going on here! I take a quarter-century off and you all go bat poop!”

Dominion perhaps has the makings of a passable post-apocalyptic tale. But it can also be over-wrought and half-baked, with a premise that never really delivers any of the implied biblical goods. Instead it’s another variation on futuristic good vs. evil, with an array of monstrous looking winged protagonists that could just as easily be bats from a badly bungled science experiment.

Dominion’s opening night close-out is strictly same-old, same-old, with one of the mysterious tattoos translated to read, “Beware of those closest to you.”

Cue the ominous music. Wow, what a twist.


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