Origin premieres November 14th on YouTube Premium.
[Ed. Note: Being that TV and City is on a bit of a hiatus, this article has not been edited.]
By John Baker
It all seemed so good. People looking to put their dark pasts behind them, or simply seek a better future, could have that opportunity a mere five light years away from earth.
But in this YouTube original series, that optimism, and the trip a few of them are taking to realize it, is about to face a real life or death test. And some of the passengers won’t make it.
“Origin” is a taut, suspense-filled sci-fi series that gives up its secrets episode by episode – but not without plenty of questions and uncomfortable answers. This chilling new adventure is from the producers of “The Crown” and “Lost.”
A group of travelers aboard the spaceship Origin are rudely awakened nine days away from their ultimate destination – the planet Thea. Concocted by the Siren Corp. as a way to start the colonization process of another planet, Project Thea offered unique and exciting opportunities to those who chose to make the journey. Unfortunately for our small band of travelers, the trip doesn’t go as planned.
And that’s where the real terror and revelations of this show start to kick in. As our small group regains their senses after being awakened from their long sleep, the process of putting all the pieces together begin in earnest. And the answers they put into their personal and collective puzzles isn’t always very enjoyable.
As “Origin” starts to unwind, it offers a lot of the best qualities of tense sci-fi. There’s a mystery to each person on the trip and with the help of flashback backstory segments, we get a look into the motivations of each as to why they signed on to the Thea Project. Many are escaping unhappy pasts or tragic circumstances and each of the main characters has a skeleton or two in their closets. And now, they are being hunted.
The good ship Origin collided with something, which prompted the early wake-up call for our group. It also opened a window that something alien used to gain access to the ship – and its people. Turns out, our alien invader embarked on a killing spree within the ship, forcing a mass evacuation that left our small band virtually alone aboard a ship that was still headed toward Thea.
The survivors are trying to sort out their burgeoning relationships, discover where they are, and come to grips with the full realization that they are most definitely not alone on this ship. It’s a gripping series that delves into the often dysfunctional lives of those left on board and an assortment of bad and misguided attitudes that slowly slide away as friendships and alliances are forged. Whom to trust and when becomes a central theme of the show.
“Origin” offers plenty to like as a sci-fi offering. The humor is pretty limited, but if you like tense drama and often-grisly discoveries aboard ship, the alien antagonist, as well as multiple puzzles that need solving while dealing with often contradictory personalities, then “Origin” has plenty that you’ll like.
The return to the screen of Tom Felton is always a welcome sight. Felton plays the foul-mouthed Logan, who seems to have a very hard time keeping himself under control – until we find out why. While Felton is the biggest star you’ll recognize, the ensemble cast offers very distinct personalities and surprisingly useful abilities.
The work of Johannes Haukur, Johannesson, Siobhan’ Cullen, Aidan Whytock, Adelayo Adedayo, Nin Wadia, Kyoji Unno, Tara Fitzgerald and the others who cross our paths during this journey are nearly always on-point. This is a show that will draw you in then make you jump in your seat a bit. The story is interesting and the surprises many as the survivors hope to survive long enough to either defeat the alien presence among them or just get safely to Thea. Unfortunately, the alien entity can take up residence within the human form, so smoking it out and killing it becomes a very difficult assignment. And the trail of broken and bent bodies it leaves in its wake is a sobering reminder of what these folks are up against.
“Origin” is an interesting look at the human condition under stressful conditions and uncertain pasts. The reveals of each or our heroes is a fun look into what makes them who they are now, and why they act the way they do under this type of stress.
Most were looking at Thea as a place to start over again and forget (or at least put away) some pains from the past. In the end, the journey to this new paradise may be even more painful than the past they are trying to escape.
I give Origin a B+.