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Salvation - Pilot - Advance Preview



I love summer TV. That's when some of the networks understand that viewers don't want re-runs and instead reward us with limited run series. It's a formula that's worked very well for British Television and is being adapted by streaming channels like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. CBS ventures into this territory with Salvation, a 13-episode series based on the premise that an asteroid is going to collide with earth, bringing all life to an end in 186 days and there's only a handful of people that can save the planet. Salvation premieres tonight, 9/8c on CBS.

I don't usually invest time in a limited run series unless there is something about they begin telling a compelling story in the first episode and there also has to be that intangible something that grabs me and makes me want to keep watching. Salvation scores, on both counts. It's a high-concept series, with some very impressive computer effects, and is surprisingly effective, considering it airs on CBS, a network not known for successful sci-fi series. It is an interesting premise, borrowing from the plot of the successful film, Deep Impact. While true, it's high-concept, I don't see how this premise would have been successful for a full series run but seems perfect for suspenseful summer-fare. The pilot is well written, well-acted, and does an excellent job setting up the ticking clock for the end of the world, and it's smart.

As I said, the whole first episode is the set-up, introducing and positioning players on an intriguing chess board with just the right amount of conspiracy thrown in. We see them coming to grips with the discovery of the asteroid and then making a series of moves as they learn to trust each other enough to work together to save the world. The cast is very appealing and has a very nice chemistry together. I bought into the premise as if this is exactly what might happen should such an event happen in the real world. I'm thrilled that it has been announced that in future episodes the president is going to be played by the amazing Tovah Feldshuh who has always been one of my favorites.

In the first episode, we meet Liam Cole (Charlie Rowe), an MIT grad student with a penchant for being late and forgetting his shoes, who makes the initial discovery that an asteroid is set to collide with Earth in 186 days. When the professor he eagerly tells about his discovery goes missing, he turns to the one person he believes capable of saving the world, billionaire tech genius Darius Tanz (Santiago Cabrera). Initially, Tanz comes off as a bit arrogant and self-serving, but you still somehow like the man. I think it's because you learn very quickly that he has humanity's best interests at heart even if some of his methods appear somewhat unorthodox. Tanz immediately turns to the Pentagon and isn't surprised to learn that they were already aware of the problem and were working on a solution. This is a task he deems hopeless because they hadn't asked him for his help, other than buying rockets from his multi-billion-dollar company.

His contact at the Pentagon is high-level official Harris Edwards (Ian Anthony Dale) who you find yourself really wanting to believe is one of the good guys, but his job puts him in a position of having to lie to people close to him. There is just enough uncertainty about him, that you're not really sure if you can trust him or not. Once Tanz comes to him, Harris knows that the information about the asteroid is close to going public he turns the Pentagon press person, Grace Barrows (Jennifer Finnigan), a single mom, who is quickly shown to be very good at her job, to help contain the story. Hers is the character I related to most, perhaps because she does in the show, what I do in my day job. I could understand and appreciate her thinking and the actions she takes. She's sharp, intelligent, not too trusting and isn't beyond thinking out of the box.

By the end of the episode, these characters form some sort of rag-tag team, working together for a common goal of saving Earth. And I want to see how they do it.

Salvation premieres on CBS, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 9/8c. It is well worth watching.

Until it airs here are some of the more interesting dialogue teases:


"Are you bringing a DATE to our daughter's graduation?"

"And what do you do when not committing felonious trespass?"

"It's a little toy I've been working on, hope to have it in stores by Christmas 2020 if the world still exists."

"I'm telling you, Mr. Tanz, the sky is falling and you may be the only person that can do anything about it."

"I like the way you handle yourself, you're extraordinary in an ordinary way."

Hit the comments with your thoughts about limited summer series. Do you think Salvation will be a hit or a miss? If an asteroid were going to hit the Earth in 186 days would you want to know?




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