NATHAN BEVAN ON THE BOX.
OK, so Atlantis is being billed as a sword and sandals alternative to Doctor Who, something to tide us over until the Time Lord's 50th anniversary episode airs next month.
Unfortunately, even one of the Gallifreyan Tardis botherer's ropiest episodes - and the last series of Doctor Who had more than its fair share of those - is still light years better than this mythed opportunity.
And Atlantis could have been so good too, reviving for today's generation the same childhood thrills we'd all experienced courtesy of Ray Harryhausen's old-school, stop-motion monsters in classic movies like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
But instead it squandered its chance with some dodgy CGI, even wobblier dialogue and that fat bloke off The Full Monty.
The only moment of intrigue came right at the start, the first episode unexpectedly kicking off in the present day with our coiffeured, six-packed hero Jason staring balefully out to sea as though auditioning for a sexy ad for Ginsters pasties.
Turns out his dad had mysteriously vanished beneath the waves back when Jason was still a pup, the only clues to his fate being the wreckage of his boat lying amidst the coral reef many fathoms below.
So off Jase goes in his James Bond-like mini-sub to find out more, only for a blinding light to appear from out of the Mediterranean murk about 10 minutes in and render him unconscious.
Next thing you know he's waking up half naked and covered in baby oil on what looks like a beach in Kefalonia - yeah I know, we've all had it happen to us at some point in our youth.
Anyway, it wasn't long before he was bumping into Hercules, Pythagoras - cue cruddy gags about triangles - a minotaur and a two-headed lizard, not to mention Medusa herself.
All that was missing was a winged horse, a golden fleece and the young Kirk Douglas from Spartacus - that's how fast and loose the scriptwriters were being in their interpretation of ancient legends.
Oh, there was also a wildly over-acting Juliet Stevenson as The Oracle, a soothsayer who tells Jason he'd actually been born in Atlantis but had been transported to Earth by his father not long after they'd...hang on, wasn't "Oracle" the name of his dead dad's boat? Hmm, this isn't going to end up being some sort of Life On Mars, "it was all just a dream" show, is it? Surely Jason's not going to wake from a water pressure-induced coma to find he'd had some unresolved Oedipal complex all along? I do hope not.
Not that I'll still be watching come the finale anyway, Atlantis' first outing having been more akin to a porcelain throne than Game of Thrones.
In fact, it was a creaky, Greeky, sub-CBeebies cast-off that came across as all the more laughable for having been broadcast at the inexplicably late time of 8.25pm on Saturday.
Lord alone knows how Bruce Forsyth must feel about Strictly following that utter load of tosh.
Uncomfortable, I'd wager - after all, he's old enough to have gone to school with Pythagoras and probably remembered he still owes him five denarii.
Hercules (Mark Addy), Jason (Jack Donnelly) and Pythagoras (Robert Emms) in Atlantis
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|Publication:||Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Oct 6, 2013|
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