[Season 1 !Season 2 ]
In modern times, a young man takes a mini-sub to the bottom of the ocean. His mini-sub gets sucked into a sci-fi vortex, and he wakes up ... in Atlantis!
The protagonist falls foul of the city guard, but befriends a couple of locals - Pythagoras (the Triangle guy) and Hercules (Mark Addy - Game of Thrones ). He also gets his fortune read by the Oracle (Juliet Stephenson).
Unfortunately, the King (Alexander Siddig - Star Trek DS9 ) has a lottery, and the loser gets sent to the Minotaur. Naturally, one of the main characters gets sent to certain death.
Somehow, this seems reminiscent of the sitcom Plebs - but all you need for a sitcom is three stupid men, and that is what this show centres around.
The three Plebs go into the woods, in search of a young woman who went missing there.
Jemima Rooper is the damsel in distress.
Jason picks a fight with a haughty git who turns out to be the High Priest of Poseidon (or something). The King sentences the Three Plebs to the Bulls ... Although why Poseidon, god of the sea, cares about bulls is never explained.
Weren't they sentenced to death in the Maze in the first up? Wasn't the Minotaur a metaphor for just this kind of contest? Isn't it a bit excessive to use exactly the same storyline again with only one fresh up between them?
Luckily, Jemima Rooper is still around from the previous episode. And the Princess still fancies Jason. A pity the Queen (her wicked stepmother) is in league with the Poseidon priest.
The Plebs are out hunting in the woods, when they discover an abandoned baby. They take it home, but naturally people come looking for it.
A foreign King and Queen pay a visit to the Palace. The wicked stepmother is involved in a conspiracy, and the visitors may be involved.
Hercules (Mark Addy) still has a thing for Medusa ( Jemima Rooper ). Talk about unlikely couples!
A stranger infiltrates the Palace to get a message to the Princess. She gets her handmaiden to carry a response, and hires the Plebs to guard her. Yet again, they get involved in city politics and end up getting chased by the Palace Guard.
The comedy subplot this week involves Hercules and his prize-winning racing beetle.
Hercules (Mark Addy - Game of Thrones ) finally wants to make his move on Medusa ( Jemima Rooper ). But he takes the easy way out and gives her a love potion. The witch responsible is called Cersei - this should have been a clue to him!
The Princess is about to announce her engagement. Jason refuses to stand aside, so he signs up as a contestant in the Games. No Bulls this time - just man on man action. But the scumbag fiance is the undefeated champ, and he will not pass up the opportunity to kill Jason.
The Plebs leave Medusa alone, as always. They sign on as guards on a trading caravan, to make their way across a desert to a distant city.
Pythagoras' brother comes along too. The fellow is obsessed with getting revenge on whoever killed his father. Pythagoras homself is unhappy about this. Is there some guilty family secret at work?
The brother unleashes the magical wrath of the Furies. This will not end well.
A loan shark kidnaps Medusa in order to force Hercules to pay his debts. Instead of a ransom, the villain wants Hercules and Jason to go on a quest. They must descend to Hades, realm of the dead, and retrieve Pandora's Box.
With Jason and Hercules drugged into a deathlike stupor, Pythagoras is left in charge of their lifeless bodies. But in a comedy of errors he manages to lose them, so he has to go around the city trying to find them.
It is a bad idea to leave Medusa alone with Pandora's Box.
Hercules goes looking for Medusa. Jason and Pythagoras go looking for Hercules.
Herrick ( Being Human ) gives them some advice - for Herc to save Medusa he must sacrifice his own life. The others must avoid letting him know this.
The Plebs are starving. Hercules has extended all their credit in the food market, and spent all their cash drinking away his sorrows. The only Quest they can get hired on is to guard a granary from rats.
Jason tries stealing bread from the pigs. When this fails, he loots meat from a mysterious shrine. Then he becomes acutely perceptive, aggressive, and starts waking up naked in strange places like in American Werewolf in London .
The director is Alice Troughton. She has done three different shows in the Dr Who universe (including Torchwood, Sarah Jane Adventures ) but despite this coincidence she is apparently the only Troughton not related to Patrick!
The King (Alexander Siddig - Star Trek: DS9 ) is dyng of a mysterious illness. Cuo Bene? Nobody realises that the wicked queen is poisoning her hubby. But Jason still has three days to fulfill his bargain with the Witch Circe (pronounced Cersei).
Will Jason kill the arch-villainess? He has had no trouble killing people in previous episodes, even though he is a product of Middle England - gun control, knife control, fist control.
Will Jason kill the witch (a powerful allly), and condemn his GF the Princess Ariadne to suffe at the hands of the wicked Queen?
The Plebs try to rescue the Princess before she is roasted in the bronze bull. Then they try to hide out among the lepers, ruled by John Hanna ( Spartacus ). Yes, poor old Batiatus has fallen greatly.
There is a twist revelation. It turns out that it might be a GOOD thing that Jason didn't kill the evil Queen!
It seems that last Season’s main plot has been concluded, and everything was tied up. The king is dead, and the pretty princess is now in control of Atlantis. The wicked Queen’s coup has failed, and she is technically in exile. All conflict should now cease ...
It turns out the wicked Queen has a secret army of 40,000 Colcheans. They besiege a remote border town. The Princess and her General (Vincent Regan – Lockout ) can barely trust their army to defend their own capital city. Instead, she sends Jason (the man she claims to love) and his sidekicks – Herc (the bumbling drunkard) and Pythagoras (the bumbling nerdy anachronism) – to do this Special Forces mission behind enemy lines. After all, they have no skills or training but they have always been lucky so far.
The heroes somehow manage to get across the desert and into the besieged town before the Princess orders them to do so. They then rescue an exiled dignitary from trained killers – even Pythagoras tries to do some fighting. Then they take the exile home, where the Princess trusts him despite him having absolutely no reason to show any loyalty to her family, because it was her now-dead dad who exiled him in the first place.
Jason, Herc and Pythag get sent on another mission – retrieve a magic thingy that guarantees the security of the walls of Atlantis. Without it, the superstitious army believe that the city will fall. To get to the enemy camp, our heroes must massacre a patrol of enemy soldiers. But can they bring themselves to kill a prisoner (Joe Altin – Game of Thrones ) in cold blood? And if they spare him, how will he repay their kindness?
Jason, Herc and Pythagoras must escape from the cave full of monsters, and make their way to the besieged city. En route they discover a major flaw in the enemy’s plan of battle. The Chaldeans have no supply chain, they rely entirely on foraging. Not only does this leave them unable to overcome a scorched earth campaign, it also means that they will turn the local population against them. And the Evil Queen will never be able to rule a hostile population, even one severely reduced by the slaughter of every village of farmers in her army’s path.
The Princess does not allow General Vincent Regan to execute deserters. No wonder her numbers are rapidly shrinking. Instead, the Evil Queen gives them free passage out of the city – along with their weapons and armour. Yes, she trusts the deserters not to lie, or rediscover their former loyalty to the Princess. There is far too much trust in this show.
The Princess does not want to be a tyrant like the Evil Queen. However, she decides she cannot marry the Hero (a champion of the People) for fear of alienating the Nobles (who still apparently favour the Evil Queen, despite her destroying their sources of wealth). And it seems that, deep down, power always corrupts.
The Evil Queen is on the run with a handful of survivors. Presumably everyone who took her side has been executed, there is no mention of prisoners – but then, there is no mention of mass graves or funeral pyres for forty thousand dead. The only real development is that Herc now knows the Queen’s secret.
The Princess picks Jason to be the City champion in some gladiatorial games. Not that the Greeks did this kind of thing – it was all nude wrestling, but the BBC would not go for that kind of thing these days. By strange coincidence, Jason befriends one of the other contestants on the games.
Pythagoras is mistrustful of the rival contestant, who has a mysterious past. The man fights with two swords, like Gannicus in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena . He also may have served time as a slave in the salt mines. But he claims to be a Prince who wants to marry the City’s lady boss.
The Princess agrees to wed the betrothed in his father's city, despite his admission that he and his father are estranged. This would be a surprise for the old man, when his prodigal son turns up at the city gates with a bride - and her army! Conversely, we must wonder what the Princess wants out of the marriage. Since her husband-to-be is an outcast, there is no political advantage. And her heart still belongs to Jason, because she will trust nobody else to be her personal bodyguard.
General Vincent Regan takes the Princess across the desert and into the Gorge. This valley, with its narrow width and high walls, is basically ambush alley. The Colcheans can sit at the top and shoot arrows down into the canyon all day long, slaughtering the Atlanteans' entire army. However, while the Colcheans are great archers they are terrible swordsmen. They close in for hand-to-hand fighting, and Jason makes short work of them.
The Atlantean survivors have to trek across the desert. Naturally, the army had the survivability of redshirts. The regular cast members are all unkillable. Vincent Regan, being a recurring supporting character, is somewhere in between. He gets injured, so we can have some exaggerated jeopardy.
As always, our heroes seek refuge in a cave. And as always, nothing good will be found in there.
Our heroes are trapped in a cave that doubles as a massive mauseleum The wicked Queen uses her magicks to animate all the corpses there. Yes, now Jason and his friends have to take on an army of Zombies.
Despite their magical origins, these zombies follow the Romero rules. They eat the flesh of the living, and tend not to use weapons. A bite from them becomes quickkly infected, and turns the victim into a zombie. However, they are killed with a stab to the heart rather than a more graphic trauma to the head.
Jason must team up with the wicked Queen's shield maiden.
The Princess is on her deathbed, because the knife that stabbed her was cursed. Jason and his friends go on a quest to find the witches from Clash of the Titans (1980) , because they are the only ones smart enough to know the cure. It turns out to be the blood of the one who made the curse.
The Witches specifically order Jason not to kill the Wicked Queen. His two friends already know the secret reason she will not kill him either. Yes, everyone in the room knows Jason's secret except the man himself. That does not stop Hercules from trying to persuade Jason to kill her.
Jason gets to confront both the Queen and the Shield Maiden. He may want them dead, so his girlfriend can inherit the throne her father usurped, but somehow he cannot bring himself to do it. He senses a bond with them ...
Queen Ariadne wants to marry Jason. But first the Oracle (Juliet Stevenson) must get permission from the gods. But for all the Oracle's soothsaying abilities, she does not forsee herself getting abducted ...
Wicked Queen Pasiphae is still around, somehow having survived the previous episodes. She plans to execute the Oracle using an intermediary. Yes, Medusa ( Jemima Rooper ) is back.
The villainess knows the prophecy that if Jason marries Ariadne and takes the throne, Atlantis will be destroyed. So ironically she is trying to save the city.
Someone has to take the blame for the Oracle's death. Jason is convicted without trial and sentenced to be burned a live in the bronze bull. Hercules keeps Medusa ( Jemima Rooper ) hidden - after all, if he ratted her out he would merely be trading one life for another. Also, Jason has risked everyone else’s life to save Ariadne often enough, so it is only fair if Herc can return the favour.
Herc plans to rescue Jason single-handed. Of course, this plan is doomed to failure. But it is now more acceptable to trade two lives for one, so they could possibly sell out Medusa now.
The wicked Queen manipulates the senate, and turns the political elite against Ariadne. Now, with three lives in the balance (not to mention the fate of the whole city) is it not time to sacrifice one life?
Pasiphae controls the army as well as the priests and politicians. There are too many to fight (and in a democracy, the villain would win). Jason must kill them with a super-weapon, before they take a vote!
Medusa ( Jemima Rooper ) realises she must make the ultimate sacrifice. Will she hand herself in to the authorities to stand trial for the death of the Oracle? Will she testify that it was Pasiphae who coerced her into participating? Well, it is too late for that. Instead she has Pythagoras steal Pandora’s Box from the temple, so she can get her Gorgon superpowers back. This means she will be able to walk into the city and turn everyone who tries to stop her into stone. But instead, she offers Jason the chance to use her severed head as a weapon.
Pythagoras still has a couple of friends in the city - Daedalus (Robert Lindsay) and his son Icarus. Not only does this set up a future storyline, it also lets us learn that Daedalus has invented gunpowder!
Jason and his friends go on the run. Our hero is now a bloodthirsty killer - his response to the Empire Strikes Back revelation in the previous episode is to fall to the dark side! Hercules is also riven with emotion, blaming everyone (including himself).
Pythagoras is the only one still thinking on his feet. He goes back to the city, where he asks the priest for help. It turns out that the new Oracle's powers are as great as the old one's, but the really important fact is that her father already knew what the old Oracle knew. The key is John Hanna ( Spartacus ), last seen hiding out among the lepers.
Unfortunately Daedalus (Robert Lindsay) is on death row after the previous episode. This gives the villains some leverage on his son Icarus.
Jason turns himself in to save his friends. Passifae cannot execute him directly, so she sentances him to fight in the gladiatorial games.
As a leper, Jason's father (John Hanna - Spartacus ) can work in the arena as a collecter of the corpses. This is of limited use to Jason, whose open wounds might easily be infected with Leprosy if his father gets too close.
Medea saves Pasiphae from committing filicide, which would incur the wrath of the gods. Pasiphae does not see this as a favour, however, and Medea ends up putting herself in self-imposed exile. However, she does Jason one last favour. And so what it Atlantis is destroyed by the Gods and everyone is killed? Medea will be back home in Colchis when that happens!
Jason profanes a temple of the gods in his plan to commit matricide and take the throne by force. What could possibly go wrong?
Jason and Ariadne must retake the city and restore their unelected dictatorship. Their first step is to kill any political opponents. Their next step is to neutralise any opposition from the military. Wow, what lovely people.
However, the story is set up to carry on into a third Season. Yes, even though that Season was cancelled by the BBC there is still a setup for the great quest for the golden fleece. Almost a pity we will never see it. Almost, that is.