There’s more than enough quality television programs to choose from on the air right now, with more lined up to begin their newest seasons in the months ahead (Hannibal, Game of Thrones, etc.). But what does the summer have to offer, besides a months-long break for everyone to catch up on their favorite shows – before a whole slew of new series premiere in the fall, that is?
Well, in 2014, one viable option that might be worth investigating is Extant, the CBS series that is being produced by Steven Spielberg and will air during the same weeks as season 2 of the Stephen King series Under the Dome (also backed by Spielberg). The pilot is written and executive produced by Mickey Fisher (Summer Nuts, The Kings of Iron Town) and features Oscar-winner Halle Berry as an astronaut, who readjusts to life on Earth with her family after spending a year living in outer space.
While that premise sounds like the setup for a pretty straight-forward character drama, the newly-released Extant teaser hints at something far more intriguing – with vague mentions of scientific concepts and images that alludes to ideas about the evolution and survival of the human race, including the “Life Always Finds a Way” line that’s right out of Spielberg’s Jurassic Park playbook.
The Extant synopsis asserts that Berry’s experiences in space (and later on Earth) give rise to developments that will “change the course of human history,” with rumor pointing to Berry’s protagonist becoming pregnant with a child that isn’t altogether human, as a result of mysterious events that transpired beyond the reaches of our planet. That would make sense, given the teaser trailer’s emphasis on the creation of life process.
However, before you go thinking that Extant will be horror disguised as sci-fi in the vein of The Astronaut’s Wife, it’s possible that Berry’s show will go in a different direction. The obvious comparison would be to 2001: A Space Odyssey and the “Star Child” that signals a new beginning for the human race (see: the forming infant in the Extant teaser), but it could be that the show will bear a closer resemblance to the 1999 novel Darwin’s Radio.
In Greg Bear’s Nebula-winning book, a “plague” affecting the female reproductive system causes a global panic, even as a group of scientists unearth evidence that suggests the “virus” may be something else altogether – the key to the next step in human evolution. Similarly, it could be that in Extant, Berry discovers she’s having a child that causes something of a panic over its curious nature, but is ultimately essential to humanity’s future.
Extant premires on CBS on July 2nd, 2014.