Beacon 23

Beacon 23

A generic psychological thriller that doesn't take advantage of its unique sci-fi setting

5.2

TV Show

United States
English
Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Science Fiction
2023
Lena Headey, Stephan James

TLDR

I can't explain why, but "The Lighthouse but in space" sounds like the pitch for a low-budget regional theater production.

What it's about

On a remote space station, two strangers grow suspicious of each other's reasons for being there.

The take

Though it features strong talent in front of the camera from Lena Headey and Stephan James, Beacon 23 ultimately doesn't do enough to draw us into what should be a tale of tense paranoia. It throws us directly into the story without nearly a clear enough idea of what's at stake—which may be part of the genre's appeal to some, but even our protagonists possess little to latch on to at the beginning. Even if the constant ramping up of the situation, with new secrets and betrayals revealed at every turn, is entertaining on a base level, the series just can't overcome the blandness of the overall story and of the dull, metallic greys of its production design.

What stands out

Lena Headey and Stephan James obviously have to carry much of the show's emotional urgency, but the most interesting characters to keep an eye (or ear) on are actually those who aren't physically there. Natasha Mumba's AI assistant character, Harmony, and Wade Bogert-O'Brien's sentient statistical AI, Bart, add somewhat of a new flavor to this kind of story. Their presence obviously feels indebted to the likes of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey or the android characters from the Alien films, but they're still welcome additions that help make character interactions more unpredictable than they already are.

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