TV Review: ReGenesis season three premiere

Canadian series ReGenesis starts its third season on Sunday, April 1, but I’d never before seen it. So with the first two episodes for review – episodes that air back to back on the Movie Channel/Movie Central – I realized how clueless I was about even the concept of the show. I’d thought it was science fiction like Star Trek is science fiction. In fact, ReGenesis is science fiction in the most literal sense, a kind of non-police CSI about biotechnologist investigators.

Peter Outerbridge stars as David Sandstrom, who leads a team of scientists including the Rain Man-ish Bob Melnikov (Dmitry Chepovetsky), sexy researcher Mayko Tran (Mayko Nguyen), and Wendy Crewson joins the cast this year as virologist Rachel Woods.

The season two finale apparently ended with a series-changing bomb blast in the lab at NorBAC (North American Biotechnology Advisory Commission), which killed some characters and left the others with scars both physical and emotional.

The first two episodes of season three, “A Spontaneous Moment” and “Dust in the Wind,” are really a two-parter, opening six months after the explosion. David and Bob investigate another lab explosion in Utah, where six scientists appear to have spontaneously combusted, in a case that hits close to home for the grief-stricken team. Rachel has a side investigation of her own, conducting tests to identify her godson’s killer and facing her son’s wrath when the results aren’t what he expected.

Season three was hard to jump into as a new viewer, with the weight of the tragic explosion pressing down on every moment. If these episodes are characteristic, this is one nearly humourless show, not quite gritty enough for the number of “fuck”s per hour, and far from subtle. David is particularly hard-hit by the devastation of the lab, and we know that because he’s drinking, taking drugs, yelling, swearing, and hallucinating. If he had a puppy, he’d be kicking it.

Even newcomer Rachel is saddled with that tragic story, and Crewson is saddled with pouring out a synopsis of her character’s life for the benefit of the audience. The exposition-heavy dialogue has the show telling rather than showing even those small moments meant to convey emotion. For example, lab interim director Westin Field (Greg Bryk) is profoundly affected by a phone call for his dead colleague. We know that because he tells Rachel, who takes the role of sudden, intimate confidante to these virtual strangers.

I’m admittedly not a fan of the crime genre, but there were few entry points for a new viewer in these episodes, even though there’s a self-contained mystery at the core. The science is an interestingly unique twist on the ubiquitous forensics shows, but in these two fraught episodes at least, the characters aren’t easy to get to know as multi-dimensional people I should care about.

This season, Showcase has taken over Global’s role as the non-pay broadcaster for ReGenesis. Season three will air on that channel after its run on The Movie Network/Movie Central.

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8 Responses to TV Review: ReGenesis season three premiere

  1. DMc says:

    Interesting review. The thing I’ve never understood about Re:Gen is some of the strange directorial tricks they do, like those weird camera rewinds. Do they help or hurt your enjoyment of the show?

  2. Diane Kristine says:

    They did a fast-rewind thing once in each episode and it confused me – I thought it was a signal the character was going back in time, like life had a redo button. Turns out it was just a meaningless transition between scenes, and seemed gimmicky because it felt like it was something they figure they have to throw in once an episode.

    The split screen obsession bugged me even more, though at least it didn’t make me look for meaning where there was none. There seemed to be no point to the split screens most of the time – it allowed them to focus on two equally boring shots at the same time.

    The visual style of it felt like they were trying to be distinctive for distinctiveness’s sake, without worrying about clarity or meaning.

  3. wcdixon says:

    Man….that was a tough watch.

    Anger issues. Lots of anger issues.

  4. Diane Kristine says:

    Yours or the David character’s, Will? I know I had my own anger issues after watching it.

  5. wcdixon says:

    All David’s…and Outerbridge is such a nice guy too. Oh right, he’s playing a character.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think it is difficult to approach the premiere without having watched the first two seasons given how much the characters have been developed over the 2 seasons prior. I find the camera rewinds and split screen to be fine, but probably a personal preference for some

  7. Anonymous says:

    For example, lab interim director Westin Field (Greg Bryk) is profoundly affected by a phone call for his dead colleague. We know that because he tells Rachel, who takes the role of sudden, intimate confidante to these virtual strangers.

    Truly, the exposition can be awkward on this show. But in this particular instance, you find out that those two characters have a particular reason why they feel comfortable confiding in eachother.

  8. Diane says:

    Sure, but my point there was more that for that scene to be more effective, you really have to see the guy’s anguish, not just be told about it.

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