Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hitting the Threshold

I've just finished watching a marathon run of CBS' cancelled drama, Threshold. It was part of a wave of sci-fi/alien invasion shows that were popping up like wildfire at the time and one that I initially wrote off. I guess when I looked at Invasion, Threshold and Surface, I did the ol', "meh, just some more X-Files wannabes". The irony is that I have since gone back and I actually find redeeming qualities to all of these shows, now.

Threshold told the story of a a team of scientists who are trying to stall an alien invasion. Through their advanced technology, this unknown race is terraforming and bioforming us to be more like them. It was created by ex-Trek writer/producer, Brannon Braga, and is executive produced by Blade writer, David S. Goyer. Normally I would stay away from any show that had Braga attached to it post-Trek, but Goyer's influence is definitely felt, and I have to believe that Rick Berman had a lot to do with how badly things went for Roddenberry's franchise.

Anyway, it plays on the whole body snatcher style of thrills and you hear the "one of us" phrase a few times but, overall, I found the characters in the show to be worth investing some time in. Carla Gugino is believable as an analyst who deals in worst case scenarios, and Charles S. Dutton as her boss is just great to watch. I've loved Charles since I first saw him in Alien3 and he raises the bar to anything he is attached to. Of note is the character of Dr. Fenway who is played by Brent Spiner. I always wondered if he would be able to shake Data and do something dramatic without the android being upfront in everyone's mind. I gotta say, he pulls it off. I really enjoy watching him do his thing. Certain behaviours are familiar but he's doing a whole new character here and it works.

The show ran 13 episodes before being cancelled and with the exception of the pilot (which tried a little too hard to make an impression quickly by playing off every cliché known to the genre) I enjoyed every last one of them. It didn't end with a cliffhanger like some retired shows, but there were a few major plot points that were revealed right at the end that we'll never know the answer to. Some niggling things that I would like some resolution to. Alas, it will never happen.

Maybe I should try interviewing one of the show runners some day and ask where it was all going.

So, there you have it. Try the show if you haven't and you have a chance. Forgive the pilot its transgressions and, at the very least, wait around for the episode where Gugino is running around the Threshold headquarters in a turtleneck sweater before pulling the plug on this one.



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