Canadian biotech drama ReGenesis has everything you'd want in a TV show—a cranky, Prius-driving scientist who makes House look congenial; bio-terrorist ebola; plastic-eating bacterium that nearly destroy the world; gene-tampered hockey players; and a short-haired, pre-Juno Ellen Page selling the hell out of a goofy ongoing emo clone/twin subplot. Everything, that is, except easy access: despite critical accolades, it's barely been shown in the U.S. and impossible to find on DVD. Fortunately for us non-torrenters, Hulu is now showing the first two seasons. Below the jump, we give you clips, fun facts, and all the info you need to start enjoying what Warren Ellis called a "terrific show."
ReGenesis takes the disease of the week approach shared by a show like House, M.D. (which premiered at roughly the same time as ReGenesis, interestingly enough) and marries it to the split-screen, big-stakes, world-in-jeopardy sweep of 24. Each episode, the Toronto-based scientists of fictional organization NoRBAC (The North American Biotechnology Advisory Commission), led by brilliant grouch David Sandström (Peter Outerbridge), find themselves up against some new formidable threat, such as an unnatural combination of Ebola and Camel Pox, and use a blend of ingenuity and scientific research to solve the problem. (One of my favorite things about ReGenesis is whenever anyone comes out to a seemingly-impossible result with their testing, they're told they've made a mistake and to re-do their work again and again—which is the reaction you'd expect from real scientists when faced with such a scenario.) The science consultant for ReGenesis is Aled Edwards, who oversees the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) from Toronto, Canada and is a Professor and Banbury Chair of Medical Research in the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research at the University of Toronto, which may be why the science feels like science, and why the tech talk goes the extra mile to be clear even when dealing with complex topics: Another tremendous appealing part of the first season of ReGenesis is Ellen Page as David's daughter, Lilith, who spends most of her time stuck in a very emo subplot about an ailing son who believes himself to be a clone of his deceased older brother. It's not just that Page has the looks to make a geek's heart skip a beat—short hair, flawless skin, a forehead wide enough to do double duty as a battering ram—it's that she imbues her character's shrugging inarticulacy with James Dean-like layers of sensitivity. Additionally, Xenophile Media won an International Emmy for Best Interactive Program for the ARG it produced to tie into Season Two, as well as awards for Season One. I'm never sure how long the shelf-life on a good alternate reality game actually is, but you can see for yourself at the site for NoBAC. Even cooler is the page set up by the Ontario Genomics Institute that breaks down the science of ReGenesis episode by episode, concept by concept. Finally, we admit that Warren Ellis, in the same post from which we pulled his above quote, notes that "Season 2 [of ReGenesis] wasn't nearly as good as 1." (Hulu only put up Season 2 last week, so we'll take his word for it.) But Ellis also ended up watching—and commenting—on all four of ReGenesis' seasons, which shows how absorbing this bio-mystery TV series can be. We'll take it over David Caruso and his sunglasses of justice any day. [ReGenesis on Hulu]