The wind beneath your wings? Or a piping hot mess on your windshield?


God has left the building. In His stead, the hosts of Heaven have grown restless and decide that humanity is responsible for the Divine absence. Enraged, archangel Gabriel (Carl Beulkes) declares all-out war on mankind, enlisting the help of low-level spirit angels who need to snatch bodies in order to take on corporeal form. Aligned against him is Michael (Tom Wisdom, 300), brother and fellow archangel. With his help, humans manage to survive the genocide, building up walled city-states amidst the post-apocalyptic ruin.

The crown jewel is Vega, where Michael calls his home. Amidst the political jockeying and unsavory power plays, usually involving the slippery Senator Whele (Anthony Head), a young firebrand soldier named Alex (Christopher Egan) is carrying with him a secret, which could prove to be the game-changer in the ongoing war between angel and man.

Dominion is loosely based on the Paul Bettany vehicle Legion, but for all intents and purposes the show is its own organism. Which is probably for the best because that movie was cherub guano. Regardless of its shaky ancestry, Dominion intrigued me.

I’m a sucker for Judeo-Christian-inspired fiction, no matter how “off-book,” so to speak, they go. God-fearing bro that I am, I’m more than happy to provide a wide theological berth for something with angels and demons and whatnot–providing it’s actually entertaining.

So I was cool out of the chute with Dominion’s absentee God set-up as well as having angels making the move from touching people and hanging around baseball outfields to relentless slaughter. Unfortunately, as primed as I was, I couldn’t quite connect to the show’s vision.

The last thing I want to do in reviews is dictate how I would make a movie or TV show; after all, I’m just a chump hacking away on my keyboard. I didn’t put the years of elbow grease into formulating, pitching and filming a show. But allow me this one mulligan: Dominion would have been so much niftier if the writers opted for a grittier, more-grounded approach to the angel-pocalypse.

As it stands, the production design is hugely ambitious, the CGI-slingers crafting ornate, futuristic settings. Add to that, the look of the show takes on that shiny, too-clean look that just bellows out “SyFy show.” There is much computer effects work and while there are some strong points–I actually like the angel wings rendering–a fair amount comes up short.

When the action does venture outside of the walls of the city, into the desert wastelands, things pick up. The action is more visceral, the effects more believable and the show’s atmosphere feels a lot more post-apocalyptic and dangerous.

Regardless, what’s done is done, so to focus on the here and now, I’d give Dominion a modest endorsement. As Alex, Christopher Egan is saddled with the unenviable task of portraying The Chosen One, and all the tropes that entails (denial, self-doubt, rebelliousness, whining). The character gets more juice during interactions with Michael, which represents by far the most interesting relationship in the show. Michael takes on the Mr. Miyagi role and the duo’s interaction pays off with some of the most memorable moments. On the periphery are some less interesting threads concerning the Senator and his son and some dull Vega politicking. As a villain, Gabriel is okay, a bit on the nose perhaps with his slicked-back hair and endless monologuing about how much man sucks, but hateable nonetheless.

It all builds up through eight episodes to a decent finale that left me interested enough in the teased events to carve out some time for Season 2. And, really, that’s a win, even if in my gut I knew this show could have been a whole lot more bad-ass.

The Blu-ray: an impressive 1.78:1, 1080p treatment brings color and clarity, but betrays some of the more budget visual effects work; the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround mix churns the generic score nicely enough. The extras offering is lean, highlighted by a Blu-exclusive alternate, extended finale, some deleted scenes and a gag reel.

verdict
Dominion isn’t a dud, but with that gonzo mythology I still feel like it could have flown to greater heights.

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Universal, 382 mins, NR (2014)

A/V
1.78:1, 1080p
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)

SUBTITLES
English SDH


EXTRAS
Alternate Ending
Deleted Scenes
Gag Reel

ACCOMPLICES
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3079768/

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