Riveting Riffs Logo One  Beacon 23 - Season One Review
Beacon 23 Review Photo One

Beacon 23 streaming on Amazon Prime and MGM+ has many of the traits of low budget series and films. Let us set the background first. The series is very loosely based on Hugh Howey’s novel, about a beacon, which is the interstellar equivalent of earth’s lighthouses of ages past. It acts as a warning of danger to other ships passing through that particular sector of space. As you may have guessed, the 23 designates there are at least 22 others and the fact a Beacon 24 is mentioned suggests at least one additional one.

Before we attempt to justify our opening statement, let’s focus on some of the brighter spots in the series, which is set 200 years in the future. Barbara Hershey appears in one episode of season one and even at seventy-six years of age she is both beautiful and a very good actress. Lena Headey whom many know from her performances in The Game of Thrones, is the star of this show and her performance far exceeds both the script and most of the other actors. The story’s premise is not the issue here, it is the flawed script and whether it is the performance of the actors or the manner in which they were directed this they are incongruent.

There are better ways to relay a two-hundred years history of others who inhabited the beacon than to dedicate full episodes, in a very disjointed manner. Is this the life of Bart the AI drone or is this the story of Astra’s (Headey) and her lifelong relationship with the artifact. It is supposed to be the latter.

There are two other performances we think merit a double thumbs up, Sydney Ozerov-Meyer as Grisha, the mother of Astra (then known as Parsim) when she was a child. She portrays a character who is believable, without the over-the-top acting of many of the others in the show. We would like to have seen more of her, and maybe we will in some capacity in season two. Natasha Mumba as Harmony, the personal AI for Astra is also quite good.

Now if you have watched the show, you will note that we left out mentioning Stephan James the other star of the show who plays Halan. It is difficult from this perspective to know how he was directed, but this is a case of less would have been more for this character. In some of the more subtle moments there are glimmers of a good actor, so that leads us to wonder aloud if he was directed to act in this manner. Yes, we are aware that Halan is an AWOL soldier who suffers from PTSD. That brings a certain amount of intensity with it, but not constantly. There needs to be ebbs and flows to the character. There is very little that is authentic in this performance and again we want to emphasize this may not be as much on the actor as it may be on how he was directed.

There were too many villains introduced in this series. It seems like every episode has a new villain or villains and again it detracts from continuity in the story. To make things worse, with this being 200 years in the future one has to think that the execution of force or defending oneself would be much more sophisticated than the props used that remind one of the very first Star Trek series from the 1960s. While we are making that comparison, the set also reminds us of the original Star Trek series in terms of how fake it looks. There is no way to sugarcoat that one. We live in an era of special effects and significant technological advances and even if this had been a palatable script, putting actors on an impoverished set does not give them a fighting chance to hold the audience’s attention.

We watched all the episodes of Beacon 23 twice, and the flaws were even more noticeable the second time. What was also noticeable is how much Lena Headey carries this show and how vital Natasha Mumba is to the show.

Let’s hope for season two of Beacon 23, scheduled to make its debut on April 7th, that the writers flesh out the other characters more and that if directing was the reason for so many questionable performances, that they learn from those errors.

Photo of Lena Headey courtesy of MGM+. Protected by copyright ©

#Beacon23Review #LenaHeadey #BarbaraHershey #FilmReview #RivetingRiffs #RivetingRiffsMagazine #NatashaMumba #SydneyOzerovMeyer

This review by Joe Montague published March 24th, 2024 is protected by copyright © and is the property of Riveting Riffs Magazine All Rights Reserved.  All photos are the the property of MGM+ unless otherwise noted and all  are protected by copyright © All Rights Reserved. This review may not be reproduced in print or on the internet or through any other means without the written permission of Riveting Riffs Magazine.