Atlantis Disappears Beneath The Waves Yet Again

The BBC has cancelled Atlantis. The second series, whose final seven episodes will air in the spring, will be the last of the mythology-amalgam action series. Billed as a replacement for Merlin, and coming from that show's Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy with Misfits creator Howard Overman, and as the fill in for the chunk of the year where Saturday tea-time wasn't Doctor Who's venue, the series never took off in the way the BBC hoped it would. It was critically disappointing, and did not illicit the international response that either the Time Lord or the Boy Wizard either had (meaning, it wasn't as big in America).

Personally, I pretty much hated it. I reviewed every episode of the first series (go ahead, look them up in the archive), which was enough to make me steer right clear of the second. Despite a novel concept of approaching all of Greek mythology as having taken place in one place, pretty much simultaneously, the show was marred, in my opinion by several things: bad writing, bad editorial oversight, and just being plain bad. The show was never as edgy as it thought it was, was never as funny as it thought it was, and was never as clever. It over relied on padding and an eternal reverence of status quo, clearly had no long term plan despite acting as thought it was an arc-based programme, and had no idea how to pace itself. I've heard mixed reviews of series two that suggest while some things were improved upon, others collapsed in on themselves. I can't speak to those charges, as I flatly refused to waste my time with the series after series one, and don't see the need to catch myself up now.

I've bemoaned the cancellation of worthy series (like Ripper Street) in the past, shows that were worth continuing if only for one more year. Atlantis was never one of those. In my opinion, series two was overly charitable on the BBC's case, and now that they've fixed that, they can spend that money someplace more worthy. And Mark Addy can find work on a series worthy of his talents.

Via Den of Geek.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


  1. Lets hope Overman gets another gig; Misfits was one of the most inventive and engaging UK shows of the past decade (notwithstanding that the premise could be relatively accurately summed up as "Skins plus Heroes"), and the Dirk Gently adaptation, while uneven and clearly suffering from the limited budget, was far better than we probably had right to expect. So it'd be a shame if a setback like this dims his previously rising star.

    I had never gotten around to watching Atlantis in part because of your (and others') less-than-positive reception of the show, but also because Overman never actually wrote an episode of Atlantis. It makes me suspect his involvement was much like Ron D. Moore and Helix, where the involvement was in the development process but much less in the actual writing and production portion, although I could be wrong.

    1. I loved Misfits. One of the best examples of maintaining the quality of a series despite frequent cast changes, and keeping a premise fresh long after a gimmick should have run it's course.

      Atlantis just never worked. I don't know what the editorial arrangement was behind the scenes, but it didn't work. It seemed like a weird combination of too many cooks, and no one in the kitchen. I suspect that Overman's intent was to make the series darker than a tea-time Doctor Who fill-in was ever meant to, and some episodes reflected that inclination. But there was never a sense of structured direction guiding the series, and it's cancellation isn't that much of a surprise.

      I hope Overman, and Capps and Murphy, move on to better shows that they can exert a more focused control over, and give us another Misfits or Merlin. Anything would be better than Atlantis was.