A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dominion is a science-fiction series with a plot and imagery that may disturb younger viewers. The show centers around a war between Biblical angels and humans, with a God that has abandoned the earth. Danger and menace are near-constant, and there are many violent scenes in each episode, including battles that end in death as well as sword fights and fist fights between people and supernatural beings, gun battles, and sudden attacks. Characters the viewer has gotten to know die suddenly; the viewer sees dead bodies and blood. We see simulated sex on-screen and nude bodies of men and women from the rear. There also are references to group sex. Cursing is mild but used to insult others: "You ass!" People of color are almost totally absent on-screen.
What's the story?
Borrowing elements of its plot from the angels-vs.-mankind cinematic thriller Legion, DOMINION picks up 25 years after the events of the movie and after an apocalyptic war. God has abandoned Earth to angry archangel Gabriel, never a big fan of humankind. He and his legions of angels have hunted humans to near-extinction, leaving some on the Earth to function as possessed killing machines. The few humans who are left are clustered in cities such as Vega, a walled city in the ruins of the old Las Vegas, and dependent on the protection of the sole angel who defected to their side, Michael (Tom Wisdom). But the humans face danger not only from the angels; after decades under the benevolent rule of Lord of the City General Riesen (Alan Dale), cunning politician David Whele (Anthony Head -- Giles from Buffy!) is working to anoint himself head of the city and its people by trying to bring about skirmishes between his followers and their rivals. One impetuous military man, Alex Lannon (Christopher Egan), may be the prophesied savior of mankind. But since he's having a dangerous affair with Riesen's daughter, Claire (Roxanne McKee), and is deeply bound up in Vega's caste system and unstable political system, he has other problems on his plate, too.
Is it any good?
Dominion displays an irritating lack of thought that will particularly chafe with sci-fi fans, who tend to be a smart and nitpicky lot. Vega itself seems like the kind of meaty setting that can sustain drama. It has a caste system, jargon, and political rivalries. But why, pray tell, if you're in one of the last outposts on Earth, would it be Las Vegas, essentially a barren desert with no water supply and where nothing can grow? Wouldn't one of the last human cities on Earth be located where you could, you know, grow food? And livestock? To eat? What are the people of Vega eating, anyway, while they're traipsing around having political intrigues in their clichéd Divergent robes and military gear?
And why, when humans battle with angels, do they fruitlessly fire with the same guns we have today? It's been a couple of decades since the angels descended to beat the humans into submission, right? In all that time, people haven't figured out that regular ol' guns don't really work on angels? And they haven't figured out anything that works better? Finally, why are there virtually no people of color in the cast? Did the angels target black and Asian people or something? Smallish details, sure, but it all points to a lack of coherency and deep thinking that's evident in the plot of the show as well, a mishmash of elements you've seen before, cobbled together from Star Wars-y space operas and other, better, dystopian dramas. Save your viewing time for smarter sci-fi.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about historical representations of angels. How are angels seen in various historical works? Does Dominion fall in line with these representations?
Why did the creators of Dominion choose to continue the story of the movie Legion on television instead of making a movie sequel? What types of storytelling does TV lend itself to that the movies don't? Is it more expensive to make a movie or a TV show?
How does Dominion indicate it's set in the future? Do people dress differently? Talk differently? Use different equipment or live their lives differently?
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