Sunday, April 9, 2023

The Ark

Since the cancellation of Stargate SG-1, the Sci Fi channel's programming has deteriorated considerably. It's gotten so bad that I quit looking at the channel's listings. So I nearly missed The Ark.

Unfortunately, this show's is off to a poor start.

The Premise

The Earth can no longer sustain human life. So mankind builds arks, puts the best and brightest in suspended animation and sends them out to colonize new worlds.

Still a year from their destination, something strikes Ark 1, killing the command crew and forces the junior officers out of suspended animation prematurely. With another year in their journey, little food, little water, and a barely functioning ship, the junior officers have to step up and save themselves. 

Except that the crew, supposedly comprised of Earth's best and brightest young people, immediately devolve into petty high school-like rivalries and arguments over who's in command. The dialog also often contradicts the 'best and brightest' premise. Angus, the chief agriculturalist says he's not a scientist, in spite of having a degree in agricultural science. Alicia, a computer genius who was originally assigned to work in waste management, has to explain basic astrophysics concepts to the new captain and the navigator. 

In the third episode. The ship is in danger of colliding with an asteroid. In spite of the water shortage,  no one asks for an analysis of the asteroid's composition until they see from their window that the asteroid has a tail. This is very bad science. In the real world, even a comet totally composed of ice wouldn't have a tail this far from a star.

The show starts to improve in the seventh episode, where they find Ark 3 disabled and the crew dead, They also discover that in the years since they left Earth, the ark program developed faster than light travel, and the later arks can travel faster than Ark 1. They later find video records showing that Ark 15 had attacked Ark 3, surmise that probably attacked Ark 1, and is racing ahead to their destination. 

The poorly written dialog and all the petty dramas often made me cringe. But each episode so far has ended on a cliff hanger that made me want to watch the next one. And starting with episode 7, each episode has revealed a bit more of a potentially complex fictional universe. This gives the viewer the impression of something bigger come. So in spite of the poor start, this show has potential. I'm going to keep watching, hoping it continues to improve.


  1. Agree with you. There are some unlikable characters (and annoying ones, too), but that is what kept me watching until the end of season 1. Angus is kinda cute though.

  2. Thank you for your very perceptive review. I’ve noticed a lot of bad science, but I overlooked that a comet in interstellar space wouldn’t have a tail. In fact, between Sol and the Centauri System, there shouldn’t be stars or planets, and if there were, they would’ve been mapped by the 22nd century. Like you, though, I’ll keep watching despite the teen level dialog and drama. For me at least, the series has grown on me.

    1. Thank you for your comments. Astronomers believe there are planet-sized objects roaming freely, not orbiting any star. These objects are called "rogue planets". They're dark and very difficult to detect. But they are not planets because, by definition, a planet is a celestial body that orbits a star. But you're correct about there not being any stars between Sol and Centauri.

  3. The Ark concept hasn’t been done well in a while and undo this is no different. The acting is not bad, the biggest problem is the dumbed down writing, dumbed down (best of the best) characters and wrong science on multiple levels, they also seem overly juvenile and petty!
    But the idea of an Ark ship with lots of reoccurring problems to solve does make for interesting TV

    I guess I’ll keep watching but it’s insulting to write dumbed down sci-fi this for Sci-Fi fans only to leave out good high quality characters, good science and best practices that would be needed for this time of colonization mission

    1. Yes, the quality of writing on all network and cable TV shows has deteriorated since 2007. The only decent writing these days seem to be on streaming services. --- or in books.