Friday, July 11, 2014

Extant - Re-Entry

Created by Mickey Fisher, the first episode of CBS' new sci-fi series stars Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods who is slowly readjusting to life after spending 13 months isolated on a privately-owned space station. Her family life back on Earth is far from normal even before her return as her husband (Goran Visnjic) is a robotics inventor obsessed with creating human-acting artificial intelligence the prototype of which he has created as the pair's son Ethan (Pierce Gagnon). Of course life on the space station wasn't any more normal as somehow Molly got herself impregnated by some kind of alien apparition taking the form of her long-dead first husband (Sergio Harford). Cause, you know, in space shit happens.

"Re-Entry" introduces the core characters of the show including Camryn Manheim as the doctor who discovers the alien pregnancy and, against all sense of reason or the immediate physical well-being of her friend, decides to keep Molly's secret as well as Hiroyuki Sanada as an entrepreneur who agrees to fund the work of Molly's husband but is far more interested in what happened during a 13-hour gap in the space station's logs.

Despite its solid cast Extant begins to loose its way fairly early as it strays from the more interesting ethical dilemmas of creating human-like robots taught to feel in favor of a conspiracy-laden tale involving Molly's hallucinations, back-room meetings, and alien ghost babies. Berry does her best to sell the concept, and her acting is better than the writing deserves, but I'm not buying. The first ends without drawing me into her world or the maze of lies and deception she'll likely have to traverse to uncover the truth about what really happened to her on the space station and what is growing inside of her.

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