Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The New TV Show Review Challenge: Threshold

CBS's new show Threshold, which premiered with a two-hour movie on Friday, is a show I wanted to like more than I did. The cast is great. There are a lot of intriguing elements to be found in this show, but at the same time some things about this show kind of bugged me.

Carla Gugino of Spy Kids and Karen Sisco stars as Dr. Molly Caffrey, a brilliant contingency expert. One of her contingency plans, codenamed "Threshold," is put into play when a small naval ship comes into contact with an alien object. J. T. Baylock (played by Charles S. Dutton) runs a government faction that is responsible for dealing with this situation. A crack team of people is assembled (against their will) to work on this. They include Nigel Fenway (Brent Spiner), a brilliant microbiologist and "aging hippie," Arthur Ramsey (Peter Dinklage), a master of communication and language, and Lucas Pegg (Robert Patrick Benedict), a top-notch engineer. They are joined by Cavennaugh (Brian Van Holt), who helps provide protection for the team.

The object in question is an indescribable floating thing that folds into itself while flashing bright light and emitting an unusual sound. Most of the crew on the ship has disappeared when the Threshold team arrives on the scene. Only one member has survived and he definitely has some issues. A mysterious image is burned onto the electrical equipment in the ship. Three of the team members, Molly, Lucas, and Cavennaugh, all watch a video of the object and are affected by it, similar to how the crew members were. Over the course of the double-length episode, various things are revealed about the object and how it affects people. The sound it emits apparently causes peoples' DNA to mutate and makes them have unusual dreams about "trees made of glass." The lone survivor found on the ship develops superhuman powers such as appearing and disappearing at will, gaining extra strength, and resisting multiple gunshots. There are also other survivors from the ship who have also gained the same abilities. The end of the episode has people being drawn to an element of the alien signal...and they don't know why.

The cast of this show is very good and is made up of solid, reliable performers. Sci-Fi fans will especially enjoy the appearance of Brent Spiner, who played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The story is interesting enough, but at the same time, I felt that the show was trying a little too hard to be mysterious and edgy. The scenes of roaches and fish turning in circles seemed more ridiculous than ominous. With people affected by the alien sounds getting special powers, I hope the show doesn't become a show focusing on just the "mutated-human-of-the-week." Also, I am interested in seeing how they deal with the three main characters being affected by the alien sounds.

At best, Threshold could become a new Friday night sci-fi staple a la The X-Files. This cast is certainly capable of handling whatever they get thrown. However, it all depends on the story development. This show can go from interesting to gimmicky and silly in a heartbeat. I think I will give it a chance and see what happens.

1 comment:

  1. Rut ro. I think my hubby will find this a good replacement for the Sci-Fi Friday shows that are about to go into repeats!