Halle Berry's choice to embrace 'Extant' surely made everyone at CBS' happy. Her role as astronaut 'Molly Woods' combines dual elements which makes an extended drama's lead fully appealing. The ever-charasmatic actor portrays a likeable character whose personal story leaves each episode with viewers wanting more.
Old school miniseries were staples on the 'Big 3' networks in decades gone by. 'The Thorn Birds', 'Lonesome Dove', 'Jesus of Nazareth', 'Roots', 'Winds of War', 'North and South', 'Shogun', and 'V', among others, drew huge audiences for what was limited-run entertainment. Promoting big screen themes on free TV was all the rage way back when. And then, money matters changed the score.
Fast-forward into a new century. A rapidly expanding TV universe and life as everyone knew has changed dramatically. There are differences between miniseries and modern event series. But, basically a show in either form is created with a limited duration in mind from the start.
CBS used the famous names of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg to launch 'Under the Dome' last summer. Moving into this vacation season, Spielberg's Amblin Television held the purse strings to 'Extant', which surely gave this show heavy cache.
The science fiction genre is often used as an invitation to explore deeper topics inside each screen's party. This 13-episode story is set in the future, yet probes timeless themes including a basic one: What does it mean to be human?
The choice of Ethan Woods (Pierce Gagnon) was excellent, as the young actor skillfully mixes human logic and emotion with his inner robotic core. Hiroyuki Sanada, Brad Beyer, Goran Visnjic and Camryn Manheim fill a sharp cast that plays to the strengths within the layered characters that were weaved into the script.
With Season 1 in the can and most matters in Hollywoodland open-ended, it's fair to wonder if Season 2 will be set? Regardless, this event series (modern labeling for a timeless TV form) meets expectations and hopefully will be extended into future summer seasons.