Plague For Today
Release Date: OUT NOW!
2015 | 15 | Blu- ray/ DVD Creators: Terry Matalas, Travis Fickett Cast: Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo, Barbara Sukowa, Emily Hampshire
Monkeys for TV seemed like a pointless exercise. The 20- year- old time travel film is fondly remembered, sure, but it was also so rigidly self- contained – with a beginning, middle and end ( not necessarily in that order) – that no one has ever seriously mooted a sequel. Plus, there was little in the way of background mythology to expand upon. So why bother? Any television version was doomed to failure, clearly.
Well, no, as it turns out. Any worries that, robbed of director Terry Gilliam’s esoteric visual flair, Syfy’s take on 12 Monkeys would be just The Sarah Connor Chronicles without the Terminators or Continuum without the gadgets are swiftly swept aside, as the series aims instead for a hard SF version of Steven Moffat- style timey- wiminess.
The pilot episode tackles the broad strokes from the movie: as part of a ramshackle project known as Splinter, James Cole travels from a post- apocalyptic 2043 to various points in the early 20th century in an attempt to prevent the release of a deadly virus unleashed by an organisation called “the Army of the Twelve Monkeys”.
After that, the show ploughs its own furrow, creating a complex new mythology. We learn more about the devastated future world, the formation of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys and the virus. There are whole new subplots and villains and time- lines. Through it all there’s a willingness to give time travel and its paradoxes a really good workout until, with episode 11, the show delivers a game- changer that leaves you reeling.
There are problems. Aaron Stanford, a fine character actor, is oddly bland as Cole, playing the character in a constant state of high tension that robs him of charisma. The tone and pacing is a little one- note – unrelentingly dour and frenetic; a few lighter moments might help make the characters a little more endearing. A few of the earlier episodes sag as the extended mythology is set up.
And yeah, there are plot holes. But this is time travel. Spotting the logic gaps is all part of the fun.
Three audition tapes ( 11 minutes); 14 webisodes ( 13 minutes); a couple of deleted scenes ( four minutes); a gag reel ( three minutes). Dave Golder In episode two, Jennifer Goines ( Emily Hampshire) wears the same jumper that Jeffrey Goines ( Brad Pitt) wore in the film.
Barry wasn’t sure about Premier Inn’s new bed.