Extant is what happened when Gravity met Gothika. The vehicle bringing you Halle Berry for the next 13 weeks is the not-too-distant future gone…right. For now.
Extant, Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS.
So Halle Berry (fine, Molly Brooks, but I’ll probably still just call her Halle Berry) spends 13 months on a space ship, presumably alone, and comes back pregnant. That’s the important part, but there’s also the fact that she and her husband can’t biologically have kids and already have an artificially intelligent son whose father built him to develop thoughts and feelings just like a human. Halle Berry’s keeping the pregnancy a secret, but it seems the private company she explores the universe for is already watching her. The show gives us the whats, and leaves us with the why’s – Why is Halle pregnant? Why are her bosses monitoring her? Why is the company now trying to monitor her husband? Why is that little robot boy so creepy?
“From executive producer Steven Spielberg and starring Halle Berry” pretty much sums up everything CBS wants you to know about this show, and that’s why I’ll watch again next week.
Who is Extant For?
Extant is for fans of Spielberg’s film AI, or Gravity or anyone else with a yearning to sit through the ins and outs of “what else is out there?” It’s also for the people who live with those people and appreciate Halle Berry and high production value.
So far I’m just wondering why Halle Berry isn’t just in every single scene Extant airs. She has such a good “shock and awe” face. You know the one. “Your mother is in the hospital” – SHOCK AND AWE. “Denzel was alive the whole time!” SHOCK AND AWE. None of these things have happened so far, or have they? Either way, Halle Berry would nail them. That’s what works, Halle Berry, and for now that’s enough.
What Doesn’t Work
What doesn’t work just yet is everything else. Yes, there’s a mystery to be solved, but the set-up is just too cliche and the chemistry between Halle and her loving husband played by Goran Visjnic of ER fame isn’t quite there yet.
Here’s the thing, while Extant is billed as television series it feels more like a movie, you learn enough in the first episode to want to know more, but you’re not quite sure you’re ready to sit through 13 episodes for answers. As much as I hate to admit it, I might already be hooked, it looks cool, it feels cool and even if some of the writing makes me cringe, “because he’s my son,” I still want to know why that robot boy is so creepy!