Surface, Threshold and Invasion

This Fall TV season saw the premier of three shows about aliens: Surface, Threshold and Invasion. Let me give you a quick rundown on them…

Surface is about a female marine biologist (or something like that) who runs afoul of an unknown invertabrate while in a mini-sub, deep in the ocean; a man goes spear gun fishing with his brother who accidentally spears a huge underwater beast and is dragged really deep after losing his oxygen tank; and a boy finds a weird egg in the water. It turns out the government already knows about the beasts and is quick to start shutting people down… but they don’t want to be shutdown.

Threshold is about a weird 4th dimensional object that appears to a bunch of buys on a Navy ship and messes with their DNA. A woman who consults for the government on contingency plans is called to action as her plan, called ‘Threshold’, that details first contact with aliens is put into play. She assembles a team and starts looking for the missing crewmen while trying to stop them from using the alien signal to bioform and terraform our people and planet.

Invasion takes place in Florida, and during a big hurricane, a bunch of lights fly up out of the sea and it appears that in a bodysnatcher-like way lots of people have been infected or replaced by aliens. As the town recovers from the devastating storm, weird stuff beings to happen.

Okay… from the initial descriptions, I put my money on Threshold for the win. For one, it had no kids. Invasion is practically about families, and one of the three main people in Surface is a kid raising an alien which is just all too ‘E.T.’ for me. Threshold sounded like a solid story about a government organization assembled to face an alien threat. That’s why I’m so disappointed that it has sucked so far. I mean, this week, which is the 7th or 8th episode of the season, finally revealed that the alien signal is terraforming as well as bioforming, something I assumed from the get-go since it was manipulating people on a genetic level and plants aren’t so different. Plus, it had all the actors… Charles S. Dutton, Carla Gugino, Brent Spiner, Peter Dinklage and even William Mapother who did a great job as Ethan on the first season of ‘Lost’, and Brian Van Holt who I just saw on DVD in ‘House of Wax’ where he did an excellent job. It’s these people that keep me watching the show at all… the plot is moving forward so slowly though. Ugh.

I also had good hopes for Invasion. I love a good bodysnatchers movie, and this one had a cool twist in that the people who’ve been ‘snatched’ aren’t really sure what’s going on themselves. Then there is the lynchpin of the story, that the town sheriff is also one of the snatched, but he got snatched years ago, so he’s kinda sheparding the newly snatched into dealing with what has happened. To top it off, the show is created by Shaun Cassidy, whom I gained massive amounts of respect for back in 1995 when a little known show called ‘American Gothic’ hit the air, about a sheriff who might be the devil, a boy who might be his son and the product of a rape, and all the ways in which the sheriff controls the town. I loved that show, so I just knew this one would be good, even if it ended up getting cancelled after one season like ‘American Gothic’. But again, I was let down… again this past week was the 7th episode or so, and finally the story started actually going somewhere. Maybe it’ll get better. In the meantime though I think I’ll go buy ‘American Gothic’ the complete series on DVD.

This brings us to Surface. I would have bet hard earned dollars that this show was going to blow. Dinosaurs in the ocean? Come on, we can do better than that! The whole plot just seems so… silly. And yet, by their 7th episode they are in full swing. We’ve seen the baby alien, we’ve learned some of its abilities, we’ve seen glimpses of the big ones and the wreckage of what they can do, we’ve got a full blown government conspiracy to cover up their existance and even the government turning on their own leading scientist when he begins to feel they need to start going public. We’ve got families being broken apart and the whole thing is spiralling on a collision course with something… I’m not sure what yet exactly, but this show is definately going somewhere.

So that’s my review of the alien shows this season…

One comment

  1. Tom says:

    I think you nailed it on the head. I never watched Threshold, but I slogged through the first four episodes of Invasion, hoping that the hot blonde doctor and the great William Fitchner would be enough. Nowhere near. But Surface has mad boobs courtesy of the doctor, above-average CGI a boy and his dino hijinks, and tonight’s episode had full-on, crazy electrical storm mating season plane crashes with the sea monsters. I was dubious at first, but now I’m hooked.

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