Sunday, February 05, 2023

Silverpoint, on BYUtv

Kids vanish from camps all the time in TV series and movies (looking at you Camp Crystal Lake). The weirdly similar sounding Camp Silverpoint is a little different. Four kids reportedly disappeared in the nearby woods twenty-five years ago, before Bea’s parents, Daniel and Steph, established their summer camp. Every year, they sternly insist the campers never venture outside the perimeter fence. Of course, that is where the group of camp misfits finds the “artefact” that causes all the chaos in creator Lee Walters’ 13-episode Silverpoint, which premieres on BYUtv today.

Kaz is a rebellious foster kid, who tries to run away from Silverpoint. Not wanting to get in trouble, the rest of her “Dragonfly Tribe” follow after her. Louis is the sci-fi geek. Kaz is the pudgy South Asian kid and Meg is scared of everything. When they catch up with Kaz, they stumble over the thing. First, they pick up on the energy that seems to surround it. Then they discover it has the power to transmit matter.

Despite their issues and mistrust, they are all sufficiently intrigued to agree they will revisit and study the artefact. They are all acting so weird, Bea starts to suspect they are up to something. It is not easy being the daughter of the camp counselors. Nevertheless, she has gotten close to several returning campers. Unfortunately, she just discovered her friend Alice has been secretly hooking up with Finn, her not so-secret crush. As a result, she might be in the mood for a new circle of friends, like the clearly smitten Louis. However, the Dragonflies are determined to keep the artefact a secret between themselves, especially when they start experimenting with its matter transference. Unfortunately, they are not the only ones keeping an eye on the thing.

If a lot of sf fans had seen
Silverpoint when they were twelve, it probably would have been their favorite show. It is still possible to watch Silverpoint a vicariously appreciate its youthful sense of camaraderie and mystery. Waters and a battery of co-writers smoothly incorporate a whole lot of genre motifs, including Men in Black, “big dumb objects,” time travel, “the Matrix,” and matter transference in a brisk, engaging narrative.

Each half-hour (if that) episode advances the story considerably and ends in a cliffhanger, while still nicely developing nearly dozen characters. It is definitely economical story-telling. A few of the visual effects are also economical, in the wrong kind of way, but for older viewers, that gives it further nostalgic appeal (remember, the BBC original conceived
Doctor Who as a children’s show).

Oliver Cunliffe and Maya Silveston are both highly charismatic and believably neurotic as Louis and Kaz. Glen is often stuck in a comic relief role, but Krish Misra fleshes him out and humanizes him quite impressively. Jordan Adene shows potential leading man on-screen charm as Finn and D’Nico Greaves steals a number of scenes as Elliot, the conspiracy theory-spouting camper spying on the Dragonflies. However, one most surprising and rewarding aspects of
Silverpoint is the revelation of Pop Daniel’s complexities, nicely portrayed by Liam McMahon.

is unusually intelligently-written for a young adult-targeted science fiction series. For instance, episode seven ends with a huge game-changing twist that it never telegraphs. The camp setting also produces good vibes, as well as a vivid sense of disconnectedness from the regular adult world. It is a lot of fun, even for young-at-heart genre fans. Recommended for fans of mystery-object science fiction, Silverpoint premieres today (2/5) on BYUtv (and it also streams on Hulu).