SyFy’s latest series, paired with Defiance, is DOMINION. A sequel to the 2010 film Legion, though not having seen the film, I can say the show seems accessible without it, this is the story of a world overrun by angels. It’s been 25 years since Michael (Tom Wisdom, 300) stood by humanity against his brethren. Now, he lives in the most secure city in what was once known as the United States, Vega (nee Las Vegas), watching over an unstable peace that is on the verge of collapse.
DOMINION is a dystopian future for mankind, a genre that is all the rage, but injects religion into its origin, too, asking viewers to accept the God and his winged followers are not only real, but once again involved in the happenings on Earth, Old Testament-style. There’s a vibrancy not unlike the Greek gods in how Michael, Gabriel, and the others are presented, and the city of Vega feels like the Roman Empire at its height, albeit with some modern technology. Basically, it’s a mish-mash of many things, repackaged in a way that works pretty well.
Michael himself comes across as alien. His demeanor is otherworldly, his actions not exactly matching those humans around him. They regard him as someone to be respected, but he doesn’t rule over them, making for an interesting dynamic. It’s hard to tell exactly what Michael’s motivations are, other than serving the larger goal of protecting the men and women around him. With such an obtuse character one of those central to DOMINION, it should making for an interesting chemistry.
Those familiar with the movie should remember Jeep (Langley Kirkwood, Invictus). Roaming the countryside for the past fifteen years, struggling to understand the tattoos covering his body, Jeep brings in greater mystery to the proceedings. His son, the chosen one, is hidden away, though viewers will probably be able to see the obvious reveal coming from a mile away. What they may not see ahead of time is where the plot will go from this starting point.
The enemies of Vega are an army of angels led by Gabriel who want to upset the balance of power and finish what they started, wiping out all humans. With one particular warrior that looks too much like Iron Man, Gabriel is stationed quite close to the city, setting the stage for numerous battles, though making a long, drawn-out war seem unlikely.
The danger to Vega may be more from within, though. One of the ruling family’s patriarchs, David Weel (Anthony Head, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), has his own ideas about how the government should change, wanting to solidify power into a dictatorship. His rival is General Rysen (Alan Dale, Lost), the current man in charge, who favors democracy and the erosion of the strict caste system that current exists. These two represent the opposite sides of a coin, and while it’s clear from the onset that Weel is the slimy one and Rysen is noble, if things get too bad, Weel could end up being the leader Vega needs.
As well-developed as Weel and Rysen are their children. Weel’s son, William (Luke Allen-Gale, Monroe), doesn’t necessarily fall in line with his dad, having his own belief system, which includes a faith in the chosen one, something his elder scoffs at. Claire Rysen (Roxanne McKee, Game of Thrones) does respect her father, but doesn’t feel understood by him. These are not just two copies of their parents, and the interactions of the four together make for a tenuous blend of alliances and blood ties, one that seems to be interesting and fresh, rather than stock and stale.
Rounding out the cast are: Alex (Christopher Egan, Kings), a soldier that Claire loves; Arika (Shivani Ghai, EastEnders), a representative from another city; and Becca (Rosalind Halstead, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason), Michael’s human ‘companion’ and member of the ruling council. Plus, there’s an adorable impoverished orphan.
The pilot gets a few things wrong, such as telegraphing a couple big plays and making a bad guy or two a bit over-the-top. But it also gets a lot right. There’s a great mix of complex personalities, a visually impressive setting, a new take on a bleak future, and plenty of intriguing unknowns to engage the audience. I find it quite entertaining, and am definitely tuning in to see how the first season unfolds, as the trajectory isn’t quite made known in the initial hour-plus.
DOMINION airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on SyFy.
CHIEF TELEVISION CRITIC | Creator of and writer for It's All Been Done Radio Hour live show and podcast. A voracious reader wanting to tell stories of his own, Jerome began writing around the age of 8 and hasn’t stopped, both original works and television reviews. Lives in central Ohio. Favorite current shows include The Walking Dead, Jessica Jones, Flaked, Outlander, and Archer.