Monday, August 9, 2010

Review: Ark

There are some awesome things to be found on Hulu.  They have a fairly good selection of the latest sci-fi shows, for example, and one of these is Ark.  Hulu has 9 'mini-sodes' available right now, the longest clocking in at about 8 minutes, the shorter ones coming in at around 3 minutes.

The Premise: Two very different people, from different eras in modern history, find themselves suddenly aboard a ship, without any clue why they've been taken or where they are.  If it sounds a bit like Stargate: Universe, the premise is basically the same, only there's no action that predicates their sudden appearance on the ship.  I'm a big fan of the "what the hell just happened and where the eff are we?" genre of sci-fi: it leaves a lot of possibilities open for the story and allows you to figure out what's going on along with the characters.  It can be difficult to make the punchline discovery of what's going on really satisfying, but in this case it's the journey that's important.

The Pros and Cons: Since the episodes are presented in short clips, it means everything has significance.  There's really nothing in the way of fluff, and the story is pushed along by increasingly dramatic discoveries and events.  The ship is a jumbled amalgamation of habitation area and dusty corridors filled with doors that don't always work and screens that track where the characters are, filled with numbers and symbols that do a good job of making everything seem alien and disorienting.

However, since the episodes are so short, some things are necessarily sacrificed.  Character development is the big one.  We see aspects of their lives before they arrived on the Ark, but there's not much in the way of connection to either of them.  This is not a character-driven story, at least not yet.  Further, while it's good to enjoy Hulu while it's free, the advertising is rough for Ark: 30 seconds to a minute of ads for a 3-minute episode is not a good exchange.

Apparently there's also a graphic novel being released along with the episodes, although I haven't seen it yet.  I'd give Ark six of ten stars, and I'm interested to see where the story goes.

More about Ark >


  1. Where the hell am I and how did I get to this blog? And who took my raincoat?

  2. It wasn't bad! It seems like it has pretty high production values for such short segments.