Review: ´The Ark’ makes a plea for mutual trust to save humankind

Future Earth has gone to hell in a stinking, toxic, burning handbasket. Entire continents are up in flames, the atmosphere is either unlivably hot or fatally poisonous, and what’s left of human governments is as good as finished. Superstar tech bro Jeff Bezos no, sorry, Elon Musk no, sorry, Steve Jobs no, sorry, Will Trust (really, that‘s his name) has funded a space colonization project that will send a dozen generation ships in various directions to search for the next home of our species. The first of these ships, the Ark 1, has been traveling for about five years until it suddenly reanimates its frozen occupants. A mysterious accident has killed their commanders and damaged the engines, and the few people left have to figure out what happened, where they are, how they’re going to survive for the remainder of their journey, and how they’re going to rebuild society from scratch.

With this premise, it sounds like the newest Syfy production The Ark should be a delight to watch. And at times, it is; these characters have to improvise on the fly with every bit of brains they’ve got in order to deal with brutal life-or-death choices under unforgiving circumstances. But often, especially in the first couple of episodes, it’s difficult to get into the tone that the series wants to adopt. The urgency of the stakes, literally the survival of the human species, doesn’t quite fit with the light-hearted dialogues, the melodramatic characterizations, and the silly brand of humor that fill the scripts. But if you manage to get used to the tone, you’ll be rewarded with a profound demonstration of how civilization can be saved if the ages-old exchange of hostilities is abandoned in favor of an exchange of goodwill…

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