I caught up with Paradox last night, intrigued to watch yet another sci-fi show starting on the BBC. Unlike Defying Gravity of which I knew nothing about, I was somewhat wary of Paradox.
Firstly everyone was comparing it to Minority Report which could have just been an unfair simplification of Paradox, or worrying signs of unoriginality.
Secondly it has Tamsin Outhwaite in it and she's not exactly the most animated, likeable or indeed talented actress out there.
Thirdly it's a UK drama. I don't mean to have a go at British TV but we try, and generally fail, to produce TV as gripping, as well-written and as slick as the USA. We always go for grit over style and ex-soap stars over unknown but exciting talent.
Anyway, I watched the show and it was alright. All three of my fears were sadly confirmed in varying degrees of accuracy. Outhwaite was passable, the script was pretty dire and the whole concept wasn't exactly startling new. It's unfair to say that Paradox is merely a rip-off of Minority Report when in fact it's derivative of pretty much any sci-fi that has incorporated time-travel or seeing the future.
Donnie Darko, Twelve Monkeys, Minority Report, Next, Paycheck have all covered ground that Paradox retraced. These are just the first five films that popped into my head. Add to these the TV shows and hundreds of books that have done similar things and it's not looking good. The last three are even all based on short stories by PKD. It doesn't have a gimmick or neat idea to make it stand out so it seems unlikely that we'll remember Paradox in some decades time.
But forgiving it these foibles, oh and the annoyingly clichéd broody, unsociable genius that was the scientist, it was pretty entertaining. The ending, though not perfect was far better than I was expecting and came as something as surprise to my cynical eyes. Perhaps this show will have to rely on shocks and keeping the viewer guessing in order to keep us watching.
I think I'll watch the next episode just because. For now I'm unimpressed with Paradox but I was entertained.