12/13/2014 11:05 pm ET Updated Feb 12, 2015

'Ascension' Is a December Rarity; It Doesn't Have a Christmas Theme

TV Review Jackie K Cooper
"Ascension" (Syfy)

"Ascension" is a new mini-series on the Syfy Channel that shows a lot of promise. It is a story about a manned spaceship on a one hundred year journey to a new planet, that is also a murder mystery. Both facets of the show are interesting and so you get the best of both worlds. Whether or not you want to devote three nights to it is up to the individual viewer, but it moves quickly and the story is intriguing.

When the show starts the ship has been in route to the new planet for fifty-one years. People on board the ship have adjusted to the life they have to lead for the most part. However all is not perfect and in the very opening scenes a murder is committed. A young woman is shot and killed. The Captain (Brian Van Holt) wants to keep the murder a secret and say she died accidentally.

He assigns his First Officer, Aaron Gault (Brandon P Bell), to investigate. One of the mysteries of the mystery is how did anyone get their hands on a gun, as the ship is supposedly weapons free. In a short time Gault has a full list of suspects but no conclusive killer.

At the end of the first night's episode some startling information is revealed that makes "Ascension" a story with a twist. I didn't see it coming and that is always a good thing when a show is trying to entertain me.

The main negative is that no one in the cast particularly stands out. The acting ranges from interesting - Tricia Helfer as the Captain's wife - to abysmal - Van Holt. Just about everyone else falls into the okay range in the middle. One actor who does draw interest is Brad Carter. He plays the "butcher" who lives in the lower levels of the ship. He is a dangerous individual who was involved with Lorelei (Amanda Thompson), the murdered woman.

There are enough twists and turns to keep the plot moving, and the idea of having six hundred people contained on a spaceship with a mission to keep humanity alive is a good one. The murder investigation keeps this from just being a space adventure, and the surprise twist I mentioned is a good one.

December is a time when there are many reruns on the major networks. A new mini-series from Syfy is just what Santa needed to bring. It will be a perfect show to watch as the weather turns cold so mark it down on your viewing calendar.

"Ascension" airs December 15, 16 and 17 at 9PM on the Syfy Channel.

Jackie K Cooper