Hey TV.com, Should I Watch Halle Berry's Alien Drama Extant?

By Kaitlin Thomas

Jul 08, 2014

As a famous poet once said, "Movie stars are movie stars, and TV stars are TV stars, and never the twain shall meet." But poetry is stupid and also wrong, because I count at least three Academy Award winners who've migrated to TV this season, officially blurring the line between good and evil. First came Matthew McConaughey confusing audiences with his True Detective mumbo-jumbo about time and flat circles. Then came Billy Bob Thornton, whose Fargo bangs beat McConaughey's True Detective ponytail for Ugliest Hair 2014. And now leading lady Halle Berry is taking a stab at the small screen in CBS's Extant. Is the alien drama worth watching or should we stick it on a rocket ship and shoot it into outer space? That's what we're here to explore in the latest edition of Hey You, Tell Me About This Thing!

Extant? What does that even mean?

Well the definition of "extant" is "still in existence; surviving" and the series concerns life and different forms of life as well as outer space, so I'd say aliens are a good bet, whether we see them or not. Look, I didn't name the show, please stop asking me such hard questions. Here are the basics: Extant is a 13-episode science-fiction thriller that follows Molly, an astronaut who comes home to her husband and android son after a 13-month solo mission in space and attempts to readapt to the life she left behind. But surprise! After being unable to conceive a child for years, she discovers that she's pregnant upon returning to Earth. As if that wasn't worrisome/disturbing enough, her robot child might be first in line to participate in a robot uprising, and Molly soon learns that what happened to her during her mission might not be the first time occurrence of interplanetary shenanigans.

Who stars in Extant? And who created the show?

As I mentioned above, Extant has a high-profile star in Halle Berry; she plays Molly Woods, the pregnant astronaut at the center of the series. ER's Goran Visnjic plays her husband, scientist John Woods, and Pierce Gagnon (One Tree Hill) plays their android son Ethan. Rounding out the cast are Camryn Manheim (Person of Interest) as Sam Barton, Grace Gummer (The Newsroom) as Julie Gelineau, Michael O’Neill (everything, but most recently Rectify) as Alan Sparks, and Hiroyuki Sanada (Helix) as Hideki Yasumoto. Extant was created by newcomer Mickey Fisher, whose pilot script for the show won a screenwriting contest (really); the project is produced by some guy named Steven Spielberg

When does Extant blast off?

Extant premieres Wednesday, July 9 at 9pm on CBS.  

Who might enjoy Extant?

Dawson Leery? Other Steven Spielberg diehards? Extant looks and feels very much like a Spielbergian production. Sci-fi fans will dig it as long as they go in knowing that the show is sci-fi at its broadest.

What's out of this world about Extant?

Forget about the alien baby until it starts bursting out of Halle's stomach or whatever, because Molly's pregnancy is basically just Extant's flashy hook (and it's not even all that exciting, given that CBS didn't try to make it a surprise and revealed it in trailers and press materials). The question of what happened to Molly in space is the real story, and the otherworldly bun in her oven is only one small piece of a much larger mystery at the heart of Extant. It's this mystery—which ties in with a twist at the end of the pilot—that makes Extant intriguing.

There's also a layer of conspiracy thriller when you add in the fact that the space program, which has apparently been outsourced to the private sector (???), is suspicious of Molly's return and knows very well that she's hiding something.

And what keeps Extant grounded?

Extant does not make a flashy entrance. In fact, it appears to be going for a slow burn, which is the opposite of what a series that's billed as an event series with a limited number of episodes should do. And most of the ideas presented in Extant aren't original or all that exciting. The series plays it safe by tackling common sci-fi themes, like the dangers of unrestrained artificial intelligence and unexplained alien phenomena. There's not necessarily anything wrong with that; hopefully, the show will eventually expand on those ideas. But at the outset, Extant is your typical broadcast network sci-fi series, which is to say that it does the bare minimum in terms of actual science-fiction because it wants to appeal to people who might not consider themselves to be sci-fi fans. It's banking on big names and flashy futuristic technology to draw people in, but the pilot doesn't make any daring leaps, and the series might not ever make them. 

So, should I watch it?

If your summer viewing schedule is rather light, go ahead and pencil in Extant, but you probably shouldn't expect too much from it.

Let's take a look at a trailer!




Extant premieres Wednesday, July 9 at 9pm on CBS.

  • Comments (67)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • Maryjane420 Jul 10, 2014

    Why is it on CBS? I never watch any shows that air on CBS, NBC or ABC. I'll watch the pilot but I'm sure I'll tune out. Don't really like Halle Berry on the big screen (ugh Storm) so I'm sure she's gona suck on the small screen.

  • adamdecker399 Jul 18, 2014

    do you watch any network TV?

  • Maryjane420 Jul 18, 2014

    Yea but not those channels. I watch shows on FX The Bridge, SOA, Tyrant etc. I also watch shows on Syfy like Defiance and Dominion and all the other shows I watch are on HBO and Showtime.

  • MandySCG Jul 09, 2014

    I'm definitely going to watch this. It's got to be a lot better than most of the summer crap I've been watching, and maybe it will be surprisingly good.

  • FatherOfGoku Jul 09, 2014

    I'm sorry, but this sounds completely ridiculous. I don't really like Halle Berry to begin with.

  • MarlboroMagpi Jul 09, 2014

    I liked Halle Berry and I like Sci-fi so definitely will be watching it. Hope it will keep me interested for the 13 episode duration. This show can replace Leftover which I am likely to give up after watching the 2nd episode.

  • SharonAlbert Jul 09, 2014

    How did we go from: "WHY WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT: This show sounds absolutely insane and Berry still looks reeeeeeal good." to this blasé review? I thought that this was on the 10 best summer shows list, and we shouldn't miss it? Is this a difference of opinion between Tim & Kaitlin, or did TV.COM receive more footage and decide that it's just mediocre television?

  • thekaitling Jul 09, 2014

    Our most anticipated list came out before we were able to watch the pilot. But differing opinions probably play a part in that as well.

  • SharonAlbert Jul 10, 2014


  • Sanity_Bleeds Jul 10, 2014

    Translation: Kaitlin finally got away from Tim and is in a safe place now where she can speak her mind without fear of ridicule, abuse, or "truffle-shuffle" demands being barked at her!

  • iathen Jul 09, 2014

    I recently discovered that I may be a sci-fi fun. I'm not sure yet because usually I didn't like this genre but lately I've watched a couple of series and they were really interesting. So they were either good series or I do like this genre.

    That been said, just reading the description of this show made me laugh quite hard. I doubt I will like it but I will give it a shot just to find out whether it's the sci-fi part that attracts me or something else.

  • Svanehjerte Jul 09, 2014

    Sci-fi and Spielberg makes it a must-watch for me, but unfortunately I think Halle Berry suck as an actress, the kid is ew and the first episode looks to be a bit boring. I hope it will build.

  • zsandmann Jul 09, 2014

    Odyssey 5 meets Gothika anyone?

  • tarababes Jul 09, 2014

    sci-fy, hale berry is a perfect combination and as far as i saw it it looks to be a great tv series. im gonna by some popcorn.


  • missjudgment Jul 09, 2014

    I'd be so much more into it with a different lead.

  • See More Comments (21)