- Broken Base: The revelation this is all a gigantic simulation has turned off some audience members while thrilling others.
- Jerkass Woobie: Stockyards Master Stokes changed from a crude, booze-swigging Knife Nut who ran the ship's black market and tried to kill Gault to a hunted fugitive being chased by a giant conspiracy in an unfamiliar world.
- Older Than They Think: The plot (a fake Generation Ship is constructed in order to stimulate technological development by the people trapped inside) bears a striking resemblance to that of the 1965 novel Destination: Void by Frank Herbert.
- Causal science-fiction fans were surprised to discover the Epsilon Program was an actual proposal.
- Shocking Swerve: The ship is actually in an underground bunker, not in space.
- Win Back the Crowd: Syfy seems to be using this series to invoke this for the channel itself. Ascension is both the first space opera series that they've produced in years since Battlestar Galactica (as well as the first mini-series overall that they've produced since Alice back in 2009), and Syfy has been hyping it up as a return to form after several years of Network Decay. Whether or not this succeeds in the long run remains to be seen.
- Values Dissonance: Played with as some elements have Values Resonance like the fact a black man is second-in-command. Sexual promiscuity is rampant amongst the men, however, and shamed for women who aren't Stewardesses. Simultaneously, the latter wield great influence on Ascension. An entirely new caste system has emerged as well with the Lower Decks treated like vermin by the Upper Decks individuals.
YMMV / Ascension (Miniseries)