Now this is an exciting new sci-fi mystery series

Featuring

Halle Berry as Molly Woods
Goran Visnjic as Dr John Woods
Pierce Gagnon as Ethan Woods
Hiroyuki Sanada as Hideki Yasumoto
Michael O’Neill as Director Alan Sparks
with Grace Gummer as Julie Gelineau
and Camryn Manheim as Dr Sam Barton

I know that I’ve complained in the past about a lack of good science fiction on television. However, it seems like 2014 is seeing a resurgence of the genre. Extant is the most interesting of the new series, which sets ups an interesting and immersive possible near future, coupled with a tantalising conspiracy.

The series begins when astronaut and scientist, Molly Woods, who returns to Earth and her family after a thirteen month solo mission on board the Seraphim space research station. When she was on the space station, she interacts with a hallucination of her long dead ex-boyfriend on the station during a solar flare. Miraculously, Molly is also pregnant, but she finds that hard to explain given she was supposedly alone on the Seraphim.

Meanwhile, on Earth, her husband, John has been raising their artificially intelligent robot “son”, Ethan alone and teaching him how to be a normal human being. He’s also seeking funding to advance his android project, called the Humanichs, from the Yasumoto Corporation. Despite the beta version of the Humanichs, Ethan, being so far advanced, his funding is denied by the Yasumoto board, but the owner of the company, Hideki Yasumoto, gives John funding directly from his personal fortune.

Meanwhile, it’s revealed that the International Space Exploration Agency is owned by Yasumoto, and that its director, Alan Sparks is in cahoots with Yasumoto and know roughly what happened to Molly on Seraphim. Together, they plan on keeping Molly in the dark, as well as conspiring to subject her to more tests and study. Suddenly, this television series gets really interesting. I’m calling it for now, that Molly has a half human, half alien baby growing inside her. Because, really how else do you explain this?

I really like the style of Extant, since most of the technologies are within our grasp. The series uses Tesla’s vehicles and the soon to be released BMW i3 hybrid cars prolificly, to offer the sense that this isn’t really all that far away. The CGI is used lightly, but is also done well when required, such as the Seraphim station. Even better, the show tries, as much as possible to ensure it is scientifically accurate, where Molly floats around with correct inertia in a zero gravity environment on Seraphim. Very nice! In addition, the casting is brilliant, with Halle Berry and Goran Visjnic taking the lead roles. Their acting talents really do give you that feeling of realism and immersion in any successful storytelling exercise.

The three intertwining storylines are likely alluding to just what humanity will become in the future, and how we will interact with technology and each other. We have an android in Ethan, who is very lifelike and learns just like everyone else, but with no natural instincts, just purely some core programming. Everything he sees and does is an input into his life and helps him to grow. We also have Molly, who may have been visited by some alien entity, and in the process, become pregnant with its kid. We also know that Yasumoto is searching for something, since it’s implied that he is dying of some disease.

So, gather your spacesuits and android parts, and have a watch of Extant. It’s a great mystery sci-fi series, in which an intriguing story is set up from the very beginning. Though there’s not much action, there’s good character development and exploration of what the future holds for humanity. It uses a healthy does of modern day technology, scientific realism and futuristic hope. I just hope that the story writers continue on their hot streak!

Check out the trailer

Rating

Nice and refreshing television show that leaves it audience in suspense as to the truth.

Should I watch it?

It’s not exactly a hardcore sci-fi series, and does have a first rate cast. Definitely something to try, even if you’re not especially into future-space-techy stuff.

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