After watching the pilot for Halle Berry’s new Extant, there’s no denying that Sci-fi stalwart Steven Spielberg (Extant’s executive producer) has happily put his fingerprints all over this intriguing project. With hits like Close Encounters of the Third Kind to A.I: Artificial Intelligence, Spielberg has created a neat little niche that when done right, is done really right.
Berry is back on our screens for this first time since 1991 (she was in the Dallas spin-off Knots Landing) playing astronaut Molly Watts who, after returning from a 13 month solo space mission, discovers she’s pregnant. A case of immaculate conception or something more paranormal? This piece of surprising news for Molly pushes us right back to her solo space mission where we see clues littered about that may or may not offer up some answers.
As noted earlier, Spielberg has his fingers all over this project and themes of robotic children assimilating into society (just like A.I) are explored, namely with Molly and her husband John (ER’s Goran Visnjic) who, unable to conceive naturally, have their very own mechanical and somewhat creepy son named Ethan (Looper’s Pierce Gagnan) who goes from being sweet and adorable to asking to have his batteries recharged and then off to practice his facial emotions in the mirror.
The future that Extant offers up is a very clean cut, simplistic and technologically advanced future, but this future is nothing not seen in Minority Report and other like movies/tv shows and the battery operated child is a little more Chucky than A.I’s David who just wanted to be loved. In the end, Extant is a little bit Aliens and a little bit A.I mixed together with a dose of Rosemary’s Baby. It’s watchable and sure, some of the situations are laughable (Molly wanting to completely ignore the fact she somehow got pregnant while in space) but Extant does deliver a hefty dose of “what just happened?
Now that all of the main networks (CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC) and some cable networks (TBS) have given us their new pick-ups for the 2014 Fall season, I’ve trawled through all the trailers (that were available…come on CBS, pull your socks up!) and complied a list of what I think could be ratings hits (like last years The Blacklist) and what could be cult sleepers (Orphan Black anyone?)
The Mysteries of Laura (NBC)
The question begs…is this a comedy or is it a drama? I don’t think NBC really know either hence the somewhat confusing trailer offered up but that said, this Debra Messing led dramedy could have something going for it if you look at it like it could be ‘had Miss Congeniality had a husband and children’ type of way.
Secrets and Lies (ABC)
If you recently watched an Aussie show with the same title, then you’ll have an idea of what to expect. This Secrets and Lies is based right off our very own production with Ryan Phillippe stepping into Martin Henderson’s shoes playing Ben, a man who finds the body of a little boy and suddenly becomes suspect number one. Added bonus – a very toned down Juliette Lewis playing cop.
How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)
This will be the fourth major program by Shonda Rhimes to make it’s way to ABC – Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Private Practice plus How to get Away With Murder and the trailer already looks a whole lot more interesting than the 6 seasons of Private Practice that was given to us. There’s sex, blackmail, murder and Viola Davis..it’s an easy win.
CSI: Cyber (CBS)
There’s no trailer yet but for those who caught Patricia Arquette’s recent guest gig on CSI will have already gotten a taste of what to expect. Yes, it’s another CSI spin-off but this time, it’s all about cyber crime which is very current and ‘hip’ and we all like Patricia Arquette right?
Granted, I’ve never really been exposed to much of Maggie Q’s work and the premise of her character as being a sort of freelance anti-stalker specialist who knows some hand-to-hand combat skills is a little off but the trailer offered up by CBS actually adds suspense and intrigue of what’s to come. Ignore Dylan McDermott here, he’s always annoying to begin with and usually takes some warming up to.
Madam Secretary (CBS)
Why CBS chose to give us a trailer that looks like it gives us the entire first episode in the space of five minutes I’ll never understand. I was excited by this right from Tea’ Leoni’s addition to the cast and while it’s different to see her in such a serious light, the political theme is working well for shows like Scandal and The Good Wife.
State of Affairs (NBC)
I’m wondering if we’ve had enough time to actually like Katherine Heigl again? I’m still in that mid-swing where i’m starting to come around again and if there are others like me, then hopefully this show will bring us competently back. Apparently this will have a Blacklist-cum-Homeland-cum-Zero Dark Thirty feel to it (there’s the depiction of Middle Eastern descendants as terrorists – of course) and Alfre Woodward plays the President of the USA.
American Crime (ABC)
Desperate Housewives Alum Felicity Huffman makes her return to series television along with Timothy Hutton in this dark and racially charged legal drama that follows those involved and affected by a murder and ensuing murder trial.
The last time FOX attempted a series based off a mogul and his ’empire’ they gave us SKIN (2003) which only lasted 3 episodes before being cancelled. Here, instead of porn, Empire gives us music and what i could only assume to be a nod to Lil’ Kim and starring Terrence Howard. Could Chris Lilley’s S’Mouse fit in here? Probably, but at least it looks better than Skin ever did.
Fresh off the Boat (ABC)
Yes, the title is a bit…..Cougar Town/Trophy Wife (and possibly racist though it depends who you ask) but Fresh Off the Boat looks like the funniest of the new stuff coming our way and while the show is a focus on a Taiwanese family making the adjustment to living the American Dream, clearly Constance Wu (as mum Jessica) is the one to watch for.
The Odd Couple (CBS)
It’s been a tough run for Matthew Perry the last few years. His last handful of projects (Studio 60, Mr. Sunshine and Go On) all tanked and the only thing people really watched him in recently was his guest gig on Courteney Cox’s Cougar Town but now, his fourth attempt at a show could be his lucky gig. It’s a TV remake of the classic movies (Jack Lemon and Walter Matthou or Tony Randall and Jack Klugman) and see’s Perry teaming up with Thomas Lennon who we last saw in the terribly horrible Sean Saves the World. I can only assume this will be better than Sean failing to save the world.
It’s a little bit Seinfeld, it’s a little bit Friends, it’s a little bit of a 90’s comedy throwback. Mulaney is an ensemble comedy about a stand-up comedian and the “friends and mentors who lift him up, hold him back and push him around” including Martin Short. Here’s hoping Short contains his zany like Robin Williams did in The Crazy Ones – but then again, that didn’t turn out so good for him.
The Whispers (ABC)
I was so enamored by Lily Rabe as the Stevie Nicks loving swamp witch Misty Day in AHS Coven that seeing her all professional and business suits is a little shocking but here is in this creepy new paranormal-esque show with creepy kids that clearly see something the adults can’t.
Based off the DC Comics Hellblazer series, Constantine follows a supernatural detective who finds himself defending the world from dark and eerie forces. It’s a little bit Supernatural meets True Blood meets Penny Dreadful.
The Flash (CW)
Spin-off from the cult-ish Arrow and another DC comics star, The Flash get’s his own show and judging by the trailer, die hard comic fans will be pleased with the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance of legendary bad guy ‘Reverse Flash’ plus there’s the addition of The Flash’s alter-ego Barry Allen’s love interest Iris West.
I’ve already talked about Halle’s new sci-fi drama but now Extant has officially been picked up to series by CBS, they’ve given us an extended trailer which also fills us in more on her creepy prophetic child. A woman on a 13 month solo space mission returns to earth and finds she’s pregnant – impossible right? Not in space!
So what takes your fancy? Is there something you’ve seen which I’ve not added to the list – and if you mention the new shyte by TBS…I will shoot you.
The 13-episode drama focuses on Berry as Molly Watts, an astronaut who’s trying to reconnect with her family after returning from spending a year on a solo space mission. What happens to her in space lead to events that will ultimately change the course of human history.