TV

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Halle Berry as an astronaut and strangely expectant mom on CBS' sci-fi thriller 'Extant'

  • Print

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Don't hate Halle Berry because she's beautiful.

She's certainly a welcome TV presence this summer as the star of "Extant," a 13-episode thriller on CBS where she plays Molly Woods, an unexpectedly expectant astronaut. It premieres Wednesday (9 p.m. EDT).

The premise of the show — that Molly was somehow impregnated while on a solo yearlong outer-space mission — seems on its face outrageous funny business. As in, unintentionally funny.

But "Extant" turns out to be smart and engrossing, with a meditative, gently futuristic touch (check that high-tech garbage can) that draws the viewer in.

And, of course, it boasts Berry, who is not only a delight for the eye but also a marvelous actress, with an Oscar for her 2001 film "Monster's Ball" as solid evidence.

At the start we find Molly adjusting to life back on Earth with her scientist husband, John (Goran Visnjic), and Ethan, their adorable young son (Pierce Gagnon). Ethan, as we soon find out, isn't biologically theirs, or biological at all, but, instead, a robot. Or rather, a "humanic," designed by John to satisfy their childless state (Molly had been told she couldn't conceive).

John not only loves Ethan as if he is their own flesh and blood, but also sees him as the prototype of a new class of robot that can be raised from "childhood" and instilled with human values, "programmed by a day-to-day human experience," as John tells a group of potential funders for his Humanics Project. "The humanics brain learns right from wrong, good from bad, the same way we did."

Of course, the success of this venture could lead to disaster. Were millions of humanics loosed on the planet, they just might rise up against their human masters. But that's a possibility John indignantly rejects.

Maybe he shouldn't. Molly soon finds that dear little Ethan is displaying flashes of psychopathic attitude.

But she has other worries. She is hard-pressed to explain her pregnancy, and what to expect now that she is expecting.

She is haunted by not one but two dead (or are they?) astronaut colleagues.

And she is being investigated by her bosses at the private-sector International Space Exploration Agency for a suspicious 13-hour gap in her in-flight record-keeping. She had secretly pulled a Rose Mary Woods and erased the onboard video to hide a very strange event.

"Extant" makes effective use of familiar storytelling tropes: the evilness of big business and science gone awry in an atmosphere of growing danger.

"Don't trust them," Molly is admonished by a shadowy figure at the end of the hour.

"Who?" she asks.

"Anybody."

The series was created, and the premiere written by, TV newcomer Mickey Fisher. He brings a fresh take on high-tech paranoia, while addressing a timeless theme: the blessings and pitfalls of God-given free will, exercised here by an adorable machine.

All that, plus terrific Halle Berry, mysteriously carrying who-knows-whose child.

___

EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore

___

Online:

http://www.cbs.com

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

O'Shea says the team is going to stick to the plan after first loss

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS STANDUP - pretty sunflower in field off HWY 206 near Bird's Hill Park Thursday August 09/2007
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you miss Grandma Elm?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google