halle-berry-extant-premiere-re-entry-CBS.jpgWednesday (July 9) CBS debuted a new sci-fi drama with an impressive pedigree. “Extant” is being helmed by executive producer Steven Spielberg, the man behind such beloved sci-fi classics like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and “A.I.” Starring in the series as astronaut Molly Woods is Academy Award winner Halle Berry, supported by “ER’s” Goran Visnjic and wonderful character actors Camryn Manheim, Michael O’Neill and Brad Beyer.

It was definitely enough to drum up interest in the premiere episode, but did the premiere hook you in to come back for more?

I actually found “Extant” more interesting than I was expecting. The futuristic sci-fi world is well thought-out, with everything down to the small details giving it a feel of being set in a world we are moving toward, without being so far out there that it looks and feels unrecognizable. There were some genuinely creepy moments, like when Molly sees the footage of herself on the space ship and Marcus is nowhere to be seen, or Beyer’s Harmon Kryger approaching Molly under the cover of darkness because he knows what happened to her on her space mission.

In fact, the only thing I didn’t really care for is the chemistry between Berry and Visnjic. However, the show clearly sets up that they have a lot of baggage in their marriage — Molly’s first love dying, their inability to get pregnant, their “son,” whom John regards as real and Molly sees more as a robot, the fact that Molly has been gone for a year. So the distance and lack of warmth is probably by design and more of an acting choice rather than a lack of actual chemistry on screen.

The show definitely set up some intriguing mysteries for the viewers to watch play out and the nice thing about “Extant” is that it got a direct-to-series order from CBS, and it’s almost done filming, as Berry just revealed on “The Tonight Show” that they’re shooting the finale.

What’s nice about this is that the showrunners got to plan out the entire first season and then just get started on filming it. It’s great for viewers because they know ahead of time that they won’t invest in a show only to have it cut off after three episodes and that the creators know where the show is going (at least for a while), rather than making it up as they go along.

We think we’ll be tuning back into “Extant” next week. Will you?

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."