Solid miniseries are becoming old hat for Sci Fi Channel, even when tackling a premise as well-traveled as the fictional Bermuda Triangle.
But despite some inconsistencies, there are enough twists in The Triangle — as much a mystery thriller as anything — to keep viewers guessing throughout all of its three nights.
As with Steven Spielberg Presents Taken, Sci Fi has turned to the big screen for its talent, tapping producers Dean Devlin (Independence Day) and Bryan Singer (X-Men), X-Men director Craig R. Baxley as well as a network stalwart, Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon.
The main plot centers on billionaire shipping magnate Eric Benirall’s (Sam Neill) losses of ships and men to the legendary Triangle. Seeking answers, he uses his money to assemble a team — deep-ocean scientist Emily Patterson (Catherine Bell), meteorology professor Bruce Geller (Michael Rodgers), psychic Stan Lathem (Bruce Davison) and tabloid journalist Howard Thomas (Eric Stolz) — and offers them $20 million to find a geometric solution.
Elsewhere in South Florida, Greenpeace activist Meeno Paloma’s (Lou Diamond Phillips) speedboat — and the whaling ship it was chasing — are both wrecked by a wave of energy, leaving him the only survivor. Upon recovery, he experiences a slew of disturbing memory inconsistencies, including a two-year-old son he swears he’s never met.
A plane crash finally leads Benirall’s team toward discovering what the triangle is — when the group bluffs its way aboard a Coast Guard ship to examine the wreckage, they find a two-year-old plane that appears to have aged about 50 years, and only a 50-something woman who claims to be 6. Upon returning home, each team member experiences hallucinations of their own.
And that’s where the supernatural story turns thriller and the pace picks up. The group learns that their experiences spark from a series of electromagnetic disruptions caused by a naval experiment gone awry — one that threatens the very existence of the planet.
Those disruptions also help the writers paint themselves out of some plot-twisted corners.
Alas, some elements aren’t quite so easy to work through. Though most of the principals are excellent, the acting among secondary characters can be a bit spotty. And the script takes too long to connect Phillips’ sidebar story to the primary plot.
The Triangle doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of Taken. Nonetheless, it’s a compelling story told in an engaging manner for most of its five-plus hours.
The Triangle debuts Dec. 5 to 7 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sci Fi Channel.