I just watched Ascension on Netflix.
Spoilers, Sweety.. It is really hard to discuss this show without giving something away. Please consider watching the miniseries before reading, and come back.. It's only 6 episodes long...
The show reminded me of many Joss Whedon series like Firefly and Dollhouse which really aren't made for broadcast television. They are smart, and have longer stories that evolve where you really don't have a clue what the show is about until many episodes in. And like those shows, there is a superheroine that really surprises the audience.
The 6 episodes are in 3 2-part chapter pairs, with some pretty amazing reveals at the end of each chapter.
Chapter 1 ends with the revelation that the ship never took off, and that this is an experiment being held on earth. What is the experiment? Is it really about learning about the human impact of multi-generational space flight?
Chapter 2 ends with the X-men style superheroine girl reading someone's mind, after clearly exhibiting many other traits that suggest that she has evolved well beyond what we are currently aware of.
Chapter 3 ends with someone having really "gone into space" -- but not through a spaceship, but possibly by teleportation initiated by accident by the superheroine. And it seems the man who's father was behind this multi-generational project predicted that this power could evolve.
Chapter 4? Will we ever see one? There are some very interesting possibilities of where they could take this type of story. More government conspiracy type stuff that this was really about evolving a biological weapon? Or a more positive spin of a new era of human space exploration without the environmental impact? Or maybe for once an X-men style evolution of humanity where the normals encourage rather than hunt down the genetically advanced -- with the results of the experiment used to further enhance all of humanity (ya, I know -- highly unlikely storyline).
And who was that honey-pot agent really working for who said the child must be born? That didn't seem like a throw-away line, but the beginning of a new thread in the story. We are supposed to believe she works for the same agencies, but I'm not sure.
I suspect there will be others like me that really loved the show, but that it won't have "mainstream" appeal. This is where more niche programming can come in, and where broadcast alternatives like Netflix really shine.
Oh, and this is Canadian -- produced in Montreal -- did I forget to mention that? Yes, Canada comes out with some pretty great programming, but only a few survive. Out of Vancouver in the SF category we saw great things from BSG, the whole Stargate franchise, and Sanctuary. We have a crew in hibernation with Stargate Universe that could be woken up, and Sanctuary could be resumed at any time -- two shows I would love to see new episodes from.
Unfortunately I suspect Ascension will be left like Defying Gravity (Vancouver) -- great potential that never makes it past first season. On the chopping block when it really started to get you hooked....