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Warning: some gory scenes.

Some spoiler free thoughts:

I'm living in the midst of a deadly outbreak of H1N1 (there is also one case of H5N1, the first case of bird flu in North America) and a controversy over whether immunization for health care workers should be mandatory.

So for me, the most chilling scene in the new Syfy show Helix was Billy Campbell's speech about how pathogens can be unwittingly transmitted from individuals to health care workers to the general population. That's the pattern SARS took in Toronto; it's the pattern everyone wants to avoid now.

Helix isn't primarily commenting on specific health care issues. Its canvas is larger, and does a good job of converting societal and personal fears of pathogens, advanced technology, corporations and mortality into horror/sci-fi scares.

Campbell and co-star Kyra Zagorsky are excellent, and the remainder of cast is very good. Hopefully, they'll all get better dialogue in future episodes.

There are three women in principal roles -- Zagorsky, Jordan Haynes and Catherine Lemieux, who all play scientists (go geek girls!) -- which is great. I only ask that the show be less self-conscious about that and let the characters be characters, not merely tokens. Two of the women are vying for the attention of the male lead; at one point, the greater-than-size-2 woman calls attention to her own weight for no reason.

And maybe the inscrutable villainous Asian character won't always be inscrutable and villainous?
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