Atlantis will premiere in November, around the same time as the Doctor Who anniversary special, and although we don’t have more images or footage from the series online yet, we did hear a little bit and got a sneak peek at the recent BBC America section of the Television Critics Association’s cable press tour.
In attendance to introduce the show were creators Howard Overman (Misfits) and Johnny Capps (Merlin) as well as actors Mark Addy (Hercules) and Jemima Rooper (Medusa). While not there at the press tour, Atlantis also features Jack Donnelly (Dancing On The Edge) as show protagonist Jason, Juliet Stevenson (The Hour) as the Oracle, Sarah Parish (Hatfields & McCoys, Mistresses) as Pasiphae, Robert Emms (Kick-Ass 2) as the studious Pythagoras, and Aiysha Hart (About Time) as Ariadne. The show sees young Jason washing up on the shores of an ancient land where his allies include an overweight, overbearing Hercules, played by Addy.
The reimagining of a character like Hercules proves that, much like Merlin, it plays fast and loose with conceived notions while giving the audience a little bit of everything. “The tone of the show is very dark, but at the same time, we wanted to have fun as well, and that’s a way of sort of recreating the legend before it happens, so just as we’re having fun with the character, Jason, you know, with Medusa, we see her before she becomes a snake‑haired goddess. Hercules, in our minds, you know, he is a strong man, but he’s a good spin doctor. He creates his legend as the series progresses. He’s not a particularly brave man, but he’s utterly charming and has a great sense of humor, and he creates the legend of Hercules. And we like just playing around with the legends. That spoke to us good, rich territory for reinterpretation,” one of the show’s creators, Johnny Capps, said.
Co-creator Howard Overman seems thankful that there is such a wealth of material to get inspiration from. “I mean, basically it makes my job easier because, obviously, you know, the more we can steal from Greek mythology, there’s a vast treasure chest of stories and myths and characters we can draw on,” he says. “I’m sure there will be some Greek scholars who will get very angry about what we’ve done, but, you know, Greek scholars, I’m pretty confident we can take them,” he jokes.
With all that said, Johnny Capps assures that Greek mythology is something that all of the producers love. “Howard and I and Julian always loved Greek mythology, and we’re always trying to find an interesting way of telling those stories, and Atlantis gave us the backdrop to tell good Greek mythology,” Capps says. As for whether or not the series will eventually end with Atlantis sinking underwater, Johnny Capps is careful not to tell too much. “We couldn’t possibly tell you that. That would spoil the series,” he teases.
Atlantis premieres November 23 on BBC America.