The three-day SyFy Channel event, Ascension, debuted last night.
I first saw promotions for the show during San Diego Comic Con, where the SyFy Channel decked out Mary Jane’s Cafe at the Hard Rock with Ascension-themed decor.
I had no idea the show would be what it is. And I love it.
The concept is simple: In the 1960s, a super secret plan was realized which sent hundreds of Americans into space aboard a giant ship. The 100-year mission was to arrive at a new planet capable of sustaining life. Several generations of inhabitants would make the journey: those that were there for the launch, those in the “middle”, and those who arrive at the new planet after 100 years. The “Middle” generation has to deal with the psychological impact of being born and dying on board a ship, with no option of leaving, and no possibility of a return to Earth.
We meet the residents of Ascension in the 51st year, when a suspicious death delivers the ship into uncharted internal strife. The most startling aspect of the show is that the Ascension residents are now second-generation residents, but they can only refer back to Earth’s history as it was in the early 1960s. That means they left Earth before men walked on the moon. They are advanced…and yet they are stuck in the Kennedy-era.
Meanwhile, back on present-day Earth, we meet the man who originally engineered the whole idea (he’s in a senior care facility), and his son, who is trying to protect his father’s legacy. When a student approaches him claiming that the Ascension project is in fact a reality, the son blows him off, stating that there is no truth to the project at all.
However, Ascension is real…but it’s not what it seems…. The twist is a game changer.
Watching Ascension is like watching a long episode of The Twilight Zone. The Cold War and racial/social tensions exist as they did in the 1960s even though 51 years have passed.
Part Two airs tonight on Syfy. I’ll discuss more details as soon as the show has aired. This is one show that should remain spoiler-free!