Last week, I finished off my review by asking why BBC One show Atlantis so late in the evening, considering it’s clearly aimed at younger viewers. This time out, the show continues to make that case for me: this is a light-hearted three-men-and-a-baby episode where farting is of massive importance.
No, that’s not a joke – but nonetheless, it’s still better than the first couple of episodes. I’m not sure whether that says good things about this one or terrible things about them. Spoilers follow – watch the episode first on iPlayer if I haven’t put you off.
Mythological Heroes Get Wee In Faces
This week, ethical troublemaker Jason finds an abandoned baby and decides to take it home. As usual, this conflicts with the Royal Family, who wanted that kid gone. His long-suffering sidekicks Hercules and Pythagoras get involved thanks to the cuteness of the ickle baby, along with Hercules hoping to impress Medusa with his paternal side.
The resultant comedy childcare antics aren’t the worst thing this show has ever done – still not exactly tense, but they give the three lead characters a chance to demonstrate emotions beyond grim determination or exasperation as they try desperately to care for the infant. Jason is still the most boring even though we’re told repeatedly he is the chosen one, which remains an odd conflict, but he’s had worse weeks.
The Hercules/Medusa romance subplot is getting pushed hard considering how early on we are, but at least it gives those characters some sweet bits to do. I assume it’s all going to go wrong sooner rather than later, as they’re really leaning on those portents.
Three Men And Little Oedipus
Away from the knockabout childcare comedy, we get a few serious scenes at the palace, as the Royals look for the missing baby. They’re a jarring change of tone from the silliness elsewhere, which makes these characters look stiff in comparison – the Royal cast are treating this as a serious acting assignment, while everyone else leaps around like they’re in panto.
And then, after a few casual fart jokes scattered throughout, Hercules saves the baby towards the end by distracting the guards by breaking massive wind. Jason also does his trademark ludicrous athletics, but still – strange. Even Merlin never went quite that childish.
Oh, and in the myth-homage department – the baby is apparently Oedipus, so our heroes just saved one of the biggest incest-wankers in mythology. I’m not sure if this is meant as tragic or hilarious.
Atlantis remains an odd show so far, as they try to recreate the chummy laughs and knowing mythology references of Merlin, without quite being a direct rip-off. So far, it’s been a strange mixture, awkwardly leaping between tones, but the matey comedy episodes work better than the ominous ones, so this was alright. Next week could go either way.