Friday, May 13, 2005

Revelations of Revelations

I watched the new television drama Revelations for the first time the other night. When I first saw commercials for Revelations, I had assumed that this was the start of a new trend of Christian programming on NBC. Unfortunately, it seems like this might be the sort of fashionable pseudo-Christianity that seems to exist exclusively on television.

The portion of the episode that I watched had five interlaced plotlines. In one, a male scientist and a female nun are searching for a boy that has been kidnapped to be used as a sacrifice by a satanic cult to speed the arrival of the Antichrist. Additional tension in this plotline is driven by a Lovecraftian scholar/mystic who is the only one who can save the boy but who can never save the boy unless he gets a new source of funding to continue his research.

Obviously, the scientist's job is to state the scientific perspective for the audience when necessary while developing a growing respect and admiration for his companion's faith, courage, and convictions. The nun's job is to challange the scientist with evidence of the supernatural (which the show will abundantly provide) while respecting the scientist for his enlightened use of scientific techniques to further her spiritual quest. In this instance, the nun wants to work with the scholar, since only he can find the mystical key to save the boy, while the scientist thinks the scholar is trying to defraud them (no scholar worth his salt actually needs money to pay his grad students to keep the work going).

The second plotline is the show's creepy badguy who just happens to be some kind of nearly-unkillable satanic homunculus who always seems to know everything; if the scientist and nun are Dana Scully and Fox Mulder from the X-Files, the homonculus is the "Cancer Man". This guy spends his days in jail using his Hitleresque charisma to seduce his fellow prisoners over to the Dark Side.

The third plotline is that the apocalypse is coming, as evidenced by the episode's simulated terror bombing of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. If you're faxing a shocked, angry letter to the producers over that, fax one for me also.

The fourth plotline is the teenage boy who appeared to be willingly spending time with the satanic types. In his few scenes, an older man guides him through some kind of ritual incantation before asking the boy to kill a rabbit with his bare hands. I didn't see any evidence that they had been playing Dungeons and Dragons beforehand, so I assumed that it was rabbit stew for dinner that night.

The final plotline is about an unconscious girl receiving care at a convent who incessantly, automatically scribbles whenever you stick a pencil and notepad into her face. Since she's unconscious, she must know some critical information, which is why the convent is under seige by the armies of Satan. And in the true paranoid style of American politics, the convent can't even call the police because even the police are working for Satan. When the Satanists launch a surprise attack on the convent to kidnap the girl, the mother superior attempts to euthanize the girl before she can be captured.

Let's recap. We have a nun who's running around researching mysticism and magic powers, an evil satanic homunculus (as my friend Brian might say, "I've got homunculi in me"), a Jewish terror attack on a Muslim holy place, a teenage boy who is involved in that horrible, evil practice called "hunting", and a mother superior who adopts a "scorched earth" policy to opposing Evil.

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