If you’re looking for angst, you’ll certainly find it in the pilot episode of Syfy’s new series, Olympus. The only problem is that it’s awfully hard to take it seriously.
Let’s take it from the top (quick note: before you cry spoilers, most of the plot points can be found on the Syfy website in the cast descriptions)
The show opens with a handsome young guy in leg restraints in Cyclops’s cave. Cyclops is sharpening his knife and seems to be in the mood for a snack. Handsome guy is of course motivated to get free, but he can’t reason with Cyclops. He is, however, super handy with rope. So Cyclops better watch it. After all, our Hero has got a mission: he was sent by Gaia to find the Oracle. Imagine our Hero’s surprise when he finds out the Oracle is a lady! Oh wait, there’s more than one lady, and they all claim to be oracles! What’s a guy to do?? I’m fairly sure you’ll figure out which one is the Oracle pretty quickly. So, now it’s time to get the women out of the cave of doom and hey, besting the Cyclops would just be icing. Luckily, our Hero is up to the challenge (of course he is.)
Meanwhile, King Midas and King Aegeus are duking it out with their respective armies. While swords and shields clash, Queen Medea(super powerful sorceress, and Aegeus’s wife) bleeds their son Lykos for visions, but they seem to lead nowhere. They’re trying to solve the riddle of the Lexicon (the secret code that allows man to enter Olympus.) It’s obvious that Medea is getting pretty pissy about this, and she doesn’t have a problem taking it out on poor Lykos.
The BIG DEAL here is obviously the Lexicon. Medea wants its secrets, and so do a lot of other people. After all, who doesn’t want to be immortal? As Medea plots and schemes, Aegeus is wounded ,and of course Medea sets out to flush out who’s responsible, even if she has to fudge the results a little. She’d probably love it to be Xerxes, who she hates, probably because he takes longer to primp in the morning than she does.
When we rejoin our Hero (his name is cursed and must not be uttered), he’s ushering the poor Oracle (the young, pretty one), via roped wrists, to a priest’s cave of doom to stand at the mouth of Gaia and have a vision about where the Lexicon is. She uses her vision mojo while they walk (through some super spooky woods) and tells him it could only end badly for him. Isn’t that always the case, though? But seriously, when she means bad, she means blood, screaming, and burning. Eeek.
Of course something revelatory is bound to happen when the Oracle gets to her destination, right? I’ll leave that up to you to experience, but there is nudity!
What I actually enjoyed most (aside from the costumes-and the Cyclops is kind of scary) was the Oracle’s banter with our intrepid Hero during their journey. I like the Oracle. She’s smart and savvy and isn’t afraid to stand up to a bit of mansplaining. She also hightails it at any opportunity, much to the chagrin of our Hero (and it made me giggle)-seriously, he’d turn his head for a second, and she was gone. Very fleet of foot, that lass. Also, the gorgeous Sonita Henry looks like she’s enjoying herself immensely in the role of Medea. She’s a powerful sorceress, she’s a Queen, she’s getting a bit on the side, and she gets to use her magic to root out those that would do damage to her kingdom.
I was eager to watch this, mainly because Syfy has been doing some good things lately: for me, most notably Twelve Monkeys, and I was willing to give this one a chance. I was also promised Max Headroom. Indeed, Matt Frewer is listed on the main cast page at the Olympus website, but he’s NOT IN THE PILOT. That was a bit disappointing, but I digress.
Olympus is about what you can normally expect from Syfy. They’re rather shameless about silly, leave your brain behind fare such as Sharknado, but they’ve also got quite a few unscripted shows I enjoy, like Face Off, etc. This is right on par with Sharknado, and if you’re ok with that, you’ll like this. There’s quite a bit of silliness here, and the special effects are…workmanlike. However, it’s obviously in good fun, and if you watch it with tongue planted firmly in cheek, you might enjoy yourself. You also might want to brush up on your Greek mythology, although they play it fairly fast and loose. As you do.
Olympus premiered April 2nd at 10/9c on Syfy.