12 Monkeys – The Series: Season One Review
May 14, 2015 § Leave a comment
Sorry I took a bit of time away because the reason for that is… I saw a horrible, horrible show. I will get to that one next time (along with few others) but in the meantime, how is my take on 12 Monkeys as a television series? Uh, it’s not great but surprise to say, the show would have worked better if it’s called anything else. I already brought up the fact that I’m a fan of the movie and my issue with the show prior to its episodic airings and honestly, I did watch the show with the open mindset and not get into the “property is ruined” kind of situation. After 13 episodes, the show is just attempting to be its own thing and um, it kinda worked.
The first reason why I say this is the plot development on the show. Now the show is basically James having his mission to avert the outbreak that nearly caused human extinction which includes Cassandra in the mix. And really, that’s what 12 Monkeys results into. It abandoned the tale of a time traveler who is doing research even by going the wrong time and goes straight into the man who might save the future. Granted, he did get sent to the wrong time in a couple of episodes but nothing major that results him being placed in the mental institution which I’ll get to in a second.
And the part of the mental institution. He did went there but by choice instead of by accident since he’s looking for Jennifer this time rather than how the outbreak occurs and that’s following the time her father died by the power of creating a paradox. After that, he just went to various missions to stop the virus and that’s it. Alright, the way I remember about the movie is that it has its own sense of paranoia that involves both James and Kathryn and that part is almost absent. I say almost because a hint of it is there with Cassandra but the hint is mostly about the red forest mumbo jumbo that I disliked.
Now I’m getting to the Army of the 12 Monkeys thing and oh, it started it off interesting but somewhat ruined in the end. When James encountered few characters associate with them like The Slender Man (still calling him by that) and Olivia (Alisen Down) but in the end, it’s revealed that the army turns out be twelve infants born in 2015 and grew up to be… the blue man group fan club! Actually, they are somewhat a cult who wants to keep a steady, casual time loop in their timeline and don’t want James or anybody else alter it even if it results into an upcoming outbreak. I would have said it was an interesting twist but instead, the revelation is handle in a weak way possible.
But if there’s one good thing about the plot of the show – it’s the time travel aspect. Now it’s mostly okay with James traveled from 2043 to 2013 or 2015 but it got off interesting when he appeared in an alternate version of 2043 and also confusing since let me put this way, he traveled back to his present but didn’t have enough time to save Cassandra in 2015 and what happened when he went to his time period? Cassandra died early, the virus is released early and James Cole of this “new” timeline got killed years earlier which is the confusing part because really, he went to 2043 despite his counterpart being dead before that date and he didn’t get blinked out of existence? Yeah, you could call it delayed ripple effect but still.
Another interesting thing about it is the aging process on one of the characters. You see, one episode has Jose trying to stop James in 1987 but instead got stranded in that time period and remained alive through today while never seemed to age at all. Yeah, if you go to the past and get stuck there. You might be immortal but you look like it. I just hope that part was not forgotten in the next season though. And the reason why Jose is stuck there and trying to stop James. He found out he has a son he never knew in 2043 and decide to not have the timeline changed which results him to be somewhat associated with the Army of the 12 Monkeys. Now that one is a better twist than who the army are in my opinion.
Moving on to the acting and what to say. Both Aaron and Amanda did a good job as James and Cassandra (and before anybody mentioned it, yes, I get the name change being related to the Cassandra complex but still, it’s not worth changing anyway). Emily did well as Jennifer and Kirk is awesome as Jose but the best role in the series is Barbara Sukowa as Katarina Jones and she really wins the show. Maybe it’s her accent or her attitude but I like her and it’s strange that she’s one of the few cast members that made me watch all those episodes. Lastly on the positives, there’s Todd Stashwick as Deacon and he’s awesome in the show as the antagonist and I can’t wait to see more of him in the show since dammit, he once played Dale in The Riches. He may be a recurring character but he should appear more.
As for the others, I have not much care for Noah Bean as Aaron and he didn’t buy it for me but he only has one season worth of appearances so I probably not gonna miss him in the next season. There’s also Olivia as played by Alisen Down who’s very less interesting, monotone and looked like she did her “sleep acting” the same way Kristen Stewart did for the Twilight saga. She’s probably the worst character in the show thus far and I don’t take her seriously to be honest. I would say Željko did well as Leland but he only appeared in few episodes and that kind of makes me sad, I say the same for Xander Berkeley as Colonel Foster who’s a surprise for me since I didn’t know he appeared in it until I watched it.
Lastly, there’s The Slender Man himself. Now Tom Noonan can act even in a creepy tone and I sort-of see it but at the same time, I didn’t and forgot about it afterwards. I don’t know why but he just doesn’t do it for me and is hardly scary as the name I’m calling him. He remained nameless even until after James sets off another Paradox which killed him. Will The Slender Man or The Placcid Man reveal his actual name in the near future, I don’t know but time will tell (no pun intended of course).
So above all that, will I watch the second season? Yeah, I would and it may not be good but it’s not bad at the same time. It’s at least better than the previous movie-to-television adaptations like Teen Wolf or Napoleon Dynamite. I don’t know if Terry himself liked it or not (he did mention it’s not a great idea) and lot of his motifs and style is missing but honestly, it’s one of the movies he did that’s written by somebody else. It at least is better than the upcoming The Brothers Grimm television series that the film’s screenwriter Ehren Kruger is involved in. Yeah, I am not watching that one. Besides, I never liked that movie anyway.