Published on October 31st, 2014 | by Ari Nellen0
Ari recommends Extant the TV Show
I haven’t had commercial television in about 4 years.
My viewing is based solely on what people recommend to me so I can seek it out. So this is my gift to you, watch Extant.
(But because I didn’t know about it until Wednesday night you may have already seen it on channel 10.)
Why should you watch Extant? Well the first reason is Halle Berry, the second is Goran Visnjic and the third is robots and aliens (maybe). Read on for some minor spoilers.
Extant is about a POC woman (whooh!) who goes to space alone and some crazy shit happens and now she’s pregnant. Molly and her scientist partner John, after some hesitation from Molly to tell her husband she got pregnant in space, get gung ho about finding out how you get space preggers. It’s reminiscent to me of a kind of modern X-Files, where Molly sees visions that she believes are ‘real’ in some sense, and John her scientist partner is trying to help her, trying to believe her or convince her to seek medical health. Oh, and probably aliens. At this stage I can’t decide if it’s aliens or future robots or future humans (or all three).
The ways in which Extant differs from The X-Files is no romantic tension between Molly and John (they’re married for one) and all the scheming happens in very white light and so seems less sneaky and evil. Seriously if I could change one thing about Extant to make it entirely better would be to have all the bad guys cast in shadow, talking on phones instead of in person, whispering and pondering and being entirely more mysterious. Maybe they could have the e-cigaret vaping man! It does, after the first few episodes, feel like a poor mans X-Files. But I’ve just seen a ‘The Russian’s’ scene so I’m looking forward to it ramping up the meta plot (I’m only 4 episodes in).
Molly and John’s child is a ‘human’ robot and he is super adorable. I love that every scene sort of switches between the kid is going to murder every last human or be sweet and misunderstood. While Molly isn’t the greatest mum, she’s never portrayed as a bad person for that, and that’s important. Pretty much every episode passes The Bechtel Test because Molly’s cool-ass doctor friend Sam (Camryn Manheim) is a woman and they’re both waist deep in talking about the conspiracy. Oh, and the science/theory of mind hasn’t made me want to barf yet. So, what more could you want?!
The major downside of Extant is nothing seems really real, in that very fake future where everything is very very clean and expensive looking, even in a gambler and recovering alcoholic’s house. Like a lot of the recent ‘future’ TV series coming out, V and Continuum for example, everything seems too shiny to be believable and you tend to spend a lot of time willing disbelief. Also unsatisfying is that some characters make terrible decisions and unlikely considering how practical and calm you need to be to be an astronaut. Though to some extent you can imagine reasons why each character might be acting a little stupid.
Look, don’t expect Extant to be hard hitting or even clever. Expect this to be a show with a cool meta plot and some sweet characters (ladies and POC’s getting front line roles!) trying to solve a mystery. Check it out and let me know what you think.