Take the ‘science’ of Outbreak, and mix it with the claustrophobia, isolation, paranoia and freezing temperatures of The Thing, and you have Helix – Syfy’s science fiction thriller show, created by Cameron Porsandeh. With its first season proving to be a big hit with audiences watching on DVR, the show has earned a renewal for a second season.
The premise of the show sees a small group of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, travel to a remote and mysterious scientific research facility in the Arctic. They are tasked with investigating and resolving a potentially deadly outbreak of an unknown disease. As the situation spirals rapidly out of control, the complexities of relationships and the suspicious agendas within the groups trapped together are gradually revealed.
Taking in aspects reminiscent of zombie-themed narratives, and featuring global and local politics, workplace complications and good old-fashioned corruption, Helix is an intriguing show that carefully treads the fine line between quality drama and cliché. Its atmosphere and tone are highly effective, being intermittently punctuated by either violence, horror, or the brilliant use of cheesy elevator music. It all serves to create the uncomfortable feeling that we could all be just one power-crazed pharmaceutical evil genius away from terrifying and irreversible global catastrophe.
The show – which never shies away from a shocking character death – stars Billy Campbell (The Killing), Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine), Kyra Zagorsky (Supernatural) and Jordan Hayes (House At The End Of The Street). Having premiered on January 10, 2013 to an audience of 1.8 million, the 13 episode first season demonstrated a rapid increase in viewership across DVR audiences. Shattering network records in that area, the show was then seen to average 2.1 million total viewers.
Generating such impressive ratings means that fans of Helix can look forward to returning to the ice-bound petri dish next year, with 13 all-new episodes.