Helix (TV series)
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''Helix'' is an American
science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, Parall ...
horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic books focusing on h ...
drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a ...
television series that aired on
Syfy Syfy (formerly Sci-Fi Channel, later shortened to Sci Fi; stylized as SYFY) is an American basic cable Cable television Cable television is a system of delivering television programming to consumers via radio frequency (RF) signals tra ...

Syfy
from January 10, 2014, to April 10, 2015. The series followed a team of scientists from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the national public health agency of the United States. It is a United States federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services The United States Department of Heal ...
(CDC) who traveled to a research facility in the Arctic to investigate a potential outbreak of disease. While there, they find themselves stuck in a life-or-death situation that could decide the future of mankind. The executive producers of ''Helix'' were
Ronald D. Moore
Ronald D. Moore
,
Lynda Obst Lynda Rosen Obst (born April 14, 1950)Lynda Obst
Steven Maeda Steven Maeda is an American television producer A television producer is a person who oversees one or more aspects of video production on a television program. Some producers take more of an executive role, in that they conceive new programs and ...
, and Cameron Porsandeh, with Maeda serving as day-to-day
showrunner A showrunner is the leading producer Producer or producers may refer to: Occupations *Producer (agriculture), a farm operator *Film producer, oversees the making of films *A stakeholder of economic production *Executive producer, contributes to t ...
. On April 29, 2015, Syfy announced that the show was canceled after two seasons.


Plot


Season 1

Researchers from the
CDC CDC may refer to: Organizations Government * Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous Unite ...
, led by Dr. Alan Farragut and Dr. Sarah Jordan investigate a viral outbreak at an Arctic bioresearch station, only to discover that it has disastrous and wider implications for the entire world. Proscribed genetic engineering research is being done by the Ilaria Corporation, the company running the research station, most interested in preventing exposure of their activities, rather than simply resolving the outbreak. Attempts at quarantine result in mutiny and attempted escape, and communication with the outside is mysteriously cut off. It is unclear at first whether the goal is to develop a bioweapon or to transform humans in some way. It is discovered that there are two variants of the virus: the first, Narvik-A, is fatal with no cure; those infected with the second virus, Narvik-B, become dangerous, violent, Zombie (fictional), zombie-like Vector (epidemiology), vectors, spreading the infection to others, with a small percentage eventually regaining some normality if treated, as it seems several characters have already been infected and cured. Those cured seem to have the ability to control the infected. The outbreak is revealed to have been a cover story to recruit Julia Walker as an unwitting test subject by deceiving the CDC personnel into creating an anti-viral "cure", to benefit the Ilaria Corporation's objectives. After becoming infected, Julia is cured by the station director, Hiroshi Hatake, who reveals he is her father, quasi-immortal and over 500 years old, as indicated by his bright silver eyes. He had created the Vector virus as a means to activate dormant genes within Julia to give her a similar variation of immortality. Ilaria, which is run by a similar group of immortals, wants the virus in order to exert control over the world. Ilaria's Chief operating officer, Chief Operating Officer, Constance Sutton, arrives with a mercenary army, and despite a protracted resistance effort by the CDC and base personnel, butchers most of the staff before abducting Julia. A cliffhanger, set almost eight months after the pilot episode (on Day 235), shows Alan meeting with his brother Peter somewhere in France, following a massive outbreak of the virus, to plan a border crossing. Alan is apparently oblivious to the fact that his brother is actively working with Ilaria and that Julia is an active member of Ilaria's immortal Board of directors, Board of Directors.


Season 2

Set once more in a remote, isolated place, this time the island of St. Germain, inhabited by members of a religious community going back several generations, the second season takes place approximately fifteen months after the events of the first season, with regular sequences showing events taking place an additional thirty years later on the same island. Alan, who has been interrogating and then killing immortals in his search to rescue Julia, has been discredited by the CDC. Peter leads the three-member team investigating a new outbreak on the island. In the future, Julia is on a quest of her own.


Cast


Principal

* Billy Campbell as Dr. Alan Farragut * Hiroyuki Sanada as Dr. Hiroshi Hatake (main season 1; recurring season 2) * Kyra Zagorsky as Dr. Julia Walker * Mark Ghanimé as Major Sergio Balleseros * Matt Long as Dr. Kyle Sommer (season 2)


Recurring

; Seasons 1–2 * Jordan Hayes as Dr. Sarah Jordan * Neil Napier as Dr. Peter Farragut * Meegwun Fairbrother as Daniel Aerov/Miksa and Tulok * Luciana Carro as Anana (credit only in season 2) * Amber Goldfarb as Jaye and as Jane Walker * Catherine Lemieux as Dr. Doreen Boyle ; Season 1 * Jeri Ryan as Constance Sutton * Robert Naylor (actor), Robert Naylor as Spencer Sutton / The Scythe * Julian Casey as Dr. Victor Adrian * Patrick Baby as Dr. Philippe Duchamp * Chimwemwe Miller as Dr. Joel Haven * Miranda Handford as Dr. Rae Van Eigem * Leni Parker as Dr. Tracey * Vitali Makarov as Dr. Dmitri Marin * Alain Goulem as Dr. Bryce * Tamara Brown as Dr. Sulemani * Eric Davis as Dr. Graf * Alexandra Ordolis as Blake * Helen Koya as Thea / Willa * Christian Jadah as Lt. Klein * Anders Yates as Gunnar ; Season 2 * Steven Weber (actor), Steven Weber as Brother Michael * Alison Louder as Sister Amy * Severn Thompson as Sister Anne * Clare Coulter as Sister Agnes * Sean Tucker as Landry * Jim Thorburn as Caleb * Sarah Booth as Olivia * Cameron Brodeur as Soren * Kayla DiVenere as Lizzie * Patricia Summersett as Lt. Commander Winger * Julian Bailey (actor), Julian Bailey as Lt. Humphries * Matthew Kabwe as Maxwell * Cristina Rosato as Leila Weisner


Development

The series pitch idea was developed by Cameron Porsandeh, who then submitted it to Sony Pictures, where Lynda Obst revised the idea along with Porsandeh. Sony then asked if there was a major science fiction television writer he would like attached as executive producer, and he suggested Ronald D. Moore, who joined the production team and pitched several new major concepts. The pilot script was written by Porsandeh, and while Moore pitched several key ideas he did not write the script itself. As Porsandeh explained:
So I took a stab at it and we sent it over to Sony [Pictures Television] and Lynda Obst, she takes a real interest in science, she did ''Contact (1997 American film), Contact'' and really sort of prides herself on the subject, and she saw something in it. So I developed it over at Sony for probably about six months. Then they said "if you could work with anyone on this project, who would you want to do it with?" And I said, "Ron Moore" sort of like it's a fantasy, sort of like "who would you want to date if you could date anyone," and I threw his name out the way you would throw a movie star's name out. They sent it over to him and he was interested so he got on board. Then together we came up with an overarching mythology that would extend over the course of the entire series, then he and I together pitched it to Syfy.
Porsandeh stated that a major feature of the series is that each episode represents the events of a single day within the story: thus the entire thirteen episode first season takes place in under two weeks of in-universe time. According to Porsandeh, ''Helix'' did not make use of flashback scenes to give details about character backstories, the way the science fiction series ''Lost (TV series), Lost'' did. Instead, a key point is that viral infection at times made characters feverish and hallucinate (which is a real-life symptom of several infections). Thus certain characters experienced hallucinations, i.e. reliving particularly traumatic past events. The distinction Porsandeh pointed out is that a flashback is presented as objectively true, while the hallucination scenes in ''Helix'' are presented from the characters' feverish hallucinatory states, and thus their Unreliable narrator, unreliable narration will contain several errors which do not match events as they actually occurred.


Episodes


Season 1 (2014)


Season 2 (2015)


Home media

The first season of ''Helix'' was released in DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats on June 30, 2014, for DVD region code#2, Region 2 and July 1, 2014, for DVD region code#1, Region 1. The Blu-ray Disc features two exclusives: ''Writing the Tension'', an inside look at the process of writing a serialized thriller, and ''Fabricating the Plague'', state-of-the-art effects techniques used in conception of the virus' appearance in stages to creating the right amount of gore for the plague. Both media formats contain commentary on the pilot episode with Billy Campbell and Cameron Porsandeh, commentary on "Dans L'Ombre" with Campbell and
Steven Maeda Steven Maeda is an American television producer A television producer is a person who oversees one or more aspects of video production on a television program. Some producers take more of an executive role, in that they conceive new programs and ...
, four featurettes, deleted scenes, and outtakes. Season 1 and 2 were available on Hulu and in some Netflix regions but not all. As of 18/06/20 Hulu is no longer carrying it. It is available, with commercials, on the Roku Channel on Roku devices.


Reception

''Helix'' received generally positive reviews from critics. The first season holds a 79% critical approval on Rotten Tomatoes and 67% on Metacritic, while the second season has not been reviewed enough on either platform for a consensus. The critical consensus for season one described the show as "effectively creepy and oozing with chills" and that the show "unexpectedly digs deep into its world and its characters, with a suspenseful plot that continues to pique interest as it advances." Gail Pennington, for ''St. Louis Post-Dispatch'', said of the first season: "you like this kind of thing or you don't, and I don't, particularly, but Helix is very involving." Reviewing the first season for ''The New York Times'', Neil Genzlinger praised the acting. He felt that cast was "led admirably" by Billy Campbell as Dr. Alan Farragut, saying "Mr. Campbell is one of the busiest actors around" and despite the fact that "an abundance of work can sometimes lead to performances that feel phoned in", it doesn't feel that way here.


See also

* Biological warfare in popular culture * Genetic engineering in science fiction * Immortality in fiction#Science fiction, Immortality in science fiction * PEPCK-Cmus mouse *


Notes


References


External links

* *
Official Helix Showcase Canada website
{{Syfy Shows 2014 American television series debuts 2015 American television series endings 2010s American science fiction television series English-language television shows Serial drama television series Syfy original programming Television series by Sony Pictures Television Television series about viral outbreaks Television shows filmed in Montreal Television shows set in Atlanta Television shows set in the Arctic Zombies in television 2010s American drama television series 2010s American horror television series Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in fiction Television series about genetic engineering Transhumanism in television series Biological weapons in popular culture Science fiction horror Psychological horror