CBS has been mostly tight-lipped about the central mystery that fuels Extant, the Steven Spielberg-produced sci-fi series starring Halle Berry. But with the release of the full-length trailer (above), the picture is starting to come in a bit clearer.
Suddenly, this show isn't merely about an inexplicable pregnancy following astronaut Molly Woods' year-long solo space mission or the shadowy conspiracy that she must unravel to get to the heart of what exactly happened to her in space. Now there is so much more - but that might be a problem.
Based on the previous trailer, it seemed like Molly's loving husband John Woods (former ER star Goran Visnjic) and her son Ethan (Pierce Gagnon) might be the very human parts of her life that grounded her as she tried to navigate this horrifying and confusing situation. Her family, the thing that she was fighting for, even.
But now we know that her son is the furthest thing from human. Created by John as a part of his Humanix project where he is endeavoring to "bring humanity to the machine," Ethan is an android and it seems as though Molly's warm interactions with the boy don't tell the whole story, since she appears to be resistant to him when discussing him with John.
Really, one could do a very interesting TV series about just that plot point (someone is so going to mention Small Wonder in the comment section) and there are parallels that one can draw between this story and the first act of Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence. But in Extant, Ethan seems as if he'll only be one part of a puzzle with a lot of pieces.
Is John involved? What about The Wolverine actor Hiroyuki Sanada's seemingly mysterious character? The kind-looking fellow on the space ship? The deleted surveillance footage? And phrases like "stay close, this could be everything" and "we were hoping for contact"?
That is a lot to unpack in only 13 episodes, and it does allow a worry to creep in about whether the central story may get muddled while producers try to spin too many plates or if these side-stories will be underdeveloped and ultimately ignored.
At the end of the day, though, it's great to see a show with this kind of ambition, and when ambition meets talent on the level of a Berry and a Spielberg, it's probably best to suspend cynicism and allow for the possibility of something really cool.
Extant premieres on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 @9pm on CBS.